Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheets

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file icon Clidemia hirtahot!Tooltip 10/10/2018 Hits: 536
TIBOUCHINA FAMILY
Melastomataceae
 
COMMON NAMES
English: Koster’s curse, soap bush
Indonesia: harendong bulu
Viet Nam: co saphony
 
DESCRIPTION
Evergreen shrub [0.5–3 (–5) m tall], branchlets rounded, covered with large reddish-brown hairs/bristles.
Leaves: Light green, upper surfaces with a few hairs, lower surfaces more densely hairy, simple, oval or egg-shaped (5–18 cm long and 3–8 cm wide) with pointed tips, 5–7 prominent veins from the base running almost parallel; margins finely toothed, leaves appear wrinkled or pleated, leaves held opposite each other on stem.
Flowers: White or sometimes pale pink, in clusters in the leaf forks or tips of branches, on a short flower stalk (0.5–1 mm long); base of flower is swollen into a cup-shaped structure.
Fruits: Berries (fleshy fruits that don’t open at maturity), dark blue, purplish or blackish, globular (4–9 mm across), covered in hairs/bristles; seeds are light brown (0.5–0.75 mm long).
 
ORIGIN
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and the Caribbean.
 
REASON FOR INTRODUCTION
Ornament
 
INVADES
Roadsides, disturbed land, plantations, pasture, forests, forest edges/gaps, woodlands, woodland edges/gaps and riversides.
 
IMPACTS
This invasive plant has the ability to form dense stands displacing native plant species. Smith (1985) characterized the impacts of C.hirta as ‘devastating’ in Hawaii, where it threatens the extinction of endemic species. In Tanzania, it suppresses native herbs (Pocs, 1989), while in Fiji, it renders grazing land useless and retards the development of rubber and cocoa plantations. In Southeast Asia, it invades orchards and rubber and oil palm plantations where it reduces yields and increases management costs (Waterhouse, 1993). It came to be known as ‘Koster’s curse’ after being accidentally introduced to Fiji by Koster and its subsequent impacts
(curse) on plantation crops. It is also toxic to livestock (Francis, 2004).
 
Source:
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158961 on 11 October 2018
file icon Miconia calvescenshot!Tooltip 10/22/2018 Hits: 540
TIBOUCHINA FAMILY
Melastomataceae
 
COMMON NAMES
English: bush currant, miconia, purple plague, velvet tree
Viet Nam: cây micona
 
DESCRIPTION
Evergreen shrub or small tree [4–8 (–16) m tall]; young stems are green, four-angled and covered in tiny star-shaped hairs; stems become brown and rounded with age.
Leaves: Dark green above and bright purple below, hairless, simple, oval with pointed tips [17–40 (–100) cm long and 7–25 cm wide], margins entire or finely toothed, three-veined from base to tip of leaf; leaf stalks are 2–6 cm long.
Flowers: White or pinkish, small, held in large clusters (20–50 cm long) at end of branches.
Fruits: Berries (fleshy fruits that don’t open at maturity), green turning bluish black or dark purple as they mature (about 6 mm across), containing 140–230 seeds.
 
ORIGIN
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru.
 
REASON FOR INTRODUCTION
Ornament and in contaminated soil.
 
INVADES
Roadsides, disturbed land, plantations, forest edges/gaps, woodland edges/gaps, plantations, riverbanks and coastal areas.
 
IMPACTS
Areas invaded become totally transformed due to the creation of deep shade which few native species can tolerate (Meyer, 1994). This weed now covers over two-thirds of the island of Tahiti, forming dense monotypic stands, that have overwhelmed the native forests, where between 40 and 50 of the 107 species endemic to Tahiti are thought to be on the verge of extinction (Meyer and Florence, 1996). Between 70 and 100 native plant species, including 40–50 species endemic to French Polynesia, are estimated to be directly threatened by M. calvescens with significant knock-on impacts on endemic birds and other organisms (Meyer and Florence, 1996). The lack of ground cover under infestations also contributes to higher rates of soil erosion. Impacts have let to infestations being termed the ‘green cancer’ of Tahiti and the ‘purple plague’ of Hawaii.
 
Source:
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158961 on 23 October 2018
file icon Solanum viarumhot!Tooltip 10/23/2018 Hits: 542
TOMATO FAMILY
Solanaceae
 
COMMON NAMES
English: tropical soda apple
Viet Nam: cà trái vàng
 
DESCRIPTION
Evergreen, erect herb [50–150 (–200) cm tall], with densely hairy stems and branches with recurved (2–5 mm long) and straight spines (up to 20 mm long) on the leaf stalks and the leaf veins.
Leaves: Dark green, glossy above, duller below, hairy, simple, broadly egg-shaped [6–20 cm long and 6–15 cm wide], bluntly lobed, with spines on the veins and hairs on both sides, leaf stalks are 3–7 cm long with prickles. Flowers: White (1.5 cm across), in clusters of 1–5.
Fruits: Berries (fleshy fruits that don’t open at maturity), mottled light and dark green becoming pale yellow as they mature, smooth (2–3 cm across), containing 400 brown seeds (2–3 mm in diameter).
 
ORIGIN
Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
 
REASON FOR INTRODUCTION
Medicine and accidentally as a contaminant.
 
INVADES
Grassland, forest edges/gaps and riparian vegetation.
 
IMPACTS
Dense stands displace other plant species by crowding or shading them out. The prickles on the plants reduce wildlife forage and prevent movement of animals through invaded areas (USDA-FS, 2005). The foliage and stems are unpalatable to cattle, considerably reducing livestock-carrying capacities (Medal et al., 2012). Control costs of S. viarum to ranchers in Florida were estimated at US$ 6.5–16 million per year (Thomas, 2007). It has also caused poisoning of goats in Florida (Porter et al., 2003). It is an alternative host for many plant diseases including the cucumber mosaic virus, gemini virus, potato leafroll virus, potato virus Y, tobacco etch virus, tomato mosaic virus, tomato mottle virus and the fungal pathogen, Alternaria solani (Cooke, 1997). It is also a host for a number of insect pests (Sudbrink et al., 2000; Medal et al., 2012).
 
Source:
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158961 on 24 October 2018
file icon Jatropha gossypiifoliahot!Tooltip 10/12/2018 Hits: 545
SPURGE FAMILY
Euphorbiaceae
 
COMMON NAMES
English: American purging nut, bellyache bush, red fig-nut flower, red physic nut, wild cassava.
 
DESCRIPTION
Evergreen, erect shrub [1–3 (4) m tall]; older stems are thick and succulent-like; young branches are purplish and hairy; young shoots exude a brownish latex when damaged.
Leaves: Reddish-brown to dark bronze or purplish turning bright green with age, hairless, simple (4.5–10 cm long and 5–13 cm wide), usually with 3 or 5 deep lobes, 3–5 veins from the base, margins glandular and minutely toothed; leaf stalks are 6–9 cm long and covered in sticky hairs.
Flowers: Five dark red or deep purple petals with yellow centre, borne in branched clusters (8–15 cm long) at the tips of branches.
Fruits: Capsules (dry fruits that open at maturity), glossy green turning brown as they mature, three-lobed, slightly hairy, somewhat elongated with almost parallel sides to almost round (about 12 mm long and 10 mm wide), containing three large light brown seeds.
 
ORIGIN
Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Venezuela.
 
REASON FOR INTRODUCTION
Medicine, natural oils, hedge/barrier and ornament.
 
INVADES
Roadsides, disturbed areas, urban open space, drainage ditches, savannah, lowlands, gullies and dry riverbeds.
 
IMPACTS
This weed forms dense thickets, especially in riparian areas where it readily displaces native plant species and prevents their regeneration. It also significantly reduces livestock carrying capacities outcompeting valuable forage species. Although the plant is not consumed by livestock, accidental ingestion does occur. In 1995, in northern Queensland, Australia, 312 head of livestock died (290 cattle, 7 horses and 15 goats) after accidentally consuming the plant during a drought (Csurhes, 1999).
 
Source:
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158961 on 12 October 2018
file icon Opuntia strictahot!Tooltip 10/22/2018 Hits: 546
CACTUS FAMILY
Cactaceae
 
COMMON NAMES
English: Australian pest pear, common pest pear, erect prickly pear, sour prickly pear.
 
DESCRIPTION
Succulent erect, spreading shrub [0.5–1.3 (–2) m high]; thicketforming; modified stems called cladodes are blue-green, longer than broad (10–20 cm long and 7.5–14 cm wide); 3–5 areoles (raised structures or bumps on the stems of cacti, out of which grow clusters of spines) per diagonal row on each cladode; 1–2 straight and flattened yellow spines (1.5–4 cm long) usually restricted to marginal areoles as opposed to O. stricta (Ahw.) Haw. var. dillenii (Ker Gawl.) Benson where there are 4–7 (–11) banded spines (1.5–4 cm long) on most areoles.
Leaves: Cylindrical, minute and shed early.
Flowers: Yellow and large (5–6 cm long and 5–6 cm wide).
Fruits: Berries (fleshy fruits that don’t open at maturity), green turning red-purple as they mature, egg-shaped (4–6 cm long and 2.5–3 cm wide), outer surface smooth with clusters of glochids (barbed hairs or bristles), narrowed at the base, purple sour pulp, white seeds.
 
ORIGIN
Ecuador, Mexico, Southern USA, Venezuela, and the Caribbean.
 
REASON FOR INTRODUCTION
Hedge/barrier and ornament.
 
INVADES
Roadsides, wastelands, disturbed areas, rocky outcrops, savannah, grassland and riverbanks in arid to semi-arid regions.
 
IMPACTS
Can form dense stands, preventing access to homes, water resources and pasture. On Madagascar, O. stricta has invaded land used for crop and pasture production, and has encroached on villages and roads, impeding human mobility (Larsson, 2004). Here, the cactus has had a negative impact on native grasses and herbs, and it is even affecting trees by inhibiting their growth and regeneration (Larsson, 2004). The small spines (known as glochids) on the fruit, when consumed by livestock, lodge in their gums, on their tongues, or in their gastrointestinal tracts, causing bacterial infections, while the hard seeds may cause rumen impaction, which can be fatal, and which often leads to excessive, enforced culling of affected animals (Ueckert et al., 1990). People who consume the fruits develop diarrhoea and may suffer from serious infections caused by the spines (Larsson, 2004). In Kenya, O. stricta infestations have resulted in the abandonment of farmlands.
 
Source:
Witt, Arne. 2017. Guide to the Naturalized and Invasive Plants of Southeast Asia. CAB International. Retrieved from http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158961 on 23 October 2018
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