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Datasheet

Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 July 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Chromolaena odorata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Siam weed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • C. odorata is a very widely distributed tropical shrub that is still expanding its range, and is considered one of the world’s worst weeds. It continues to spread due to its effective short- and long-distance d...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Leaves
TitleLeaves
Caption
Copyright©Colin Wilson
Leaves
Leaves©Colin Wilson
Flowers
TitleFlowers
Caption
Copyright©Colin Wilson
Flowers
Flowers©Colin Wilson
Seed heads
TitleSeed heads
Caption
Copyright©Colin Wilson
Seed heads
Seed heads©Colin Wilson
Fruit
TitleFruit
Caption
Copyright©Laurent Gautier
Fruit
Fruit©Laurent Gautier
a, Flower head; b, achene with pappus.
TitleWhole plant - line drawing
Captiona, Flower head; b, achene with pappus.
CopyrightSEAMEO-BIOTROP
a, Flower head; b, achene with pappus.
Whole plant - line drawinga, Flower head; b, achene with pappus.SEAMEO-BIOTROP
Burning of a C. odorata thicket during the dry season.
TitleBurning during dry season
CaptionBurning of a C. odorata thicket during the dry season.
CopyrightLaurent Gautier
Burning of a C. odorata thicket during the dry season.
Burning during dry seasonBurning of a C. odorata thicket during the dry season.Laurent Gautier

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Chromolaena odorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob.

Preferred Common Name

  • Siam weed

Other Scientific Names

  • Eupatorium conyzoides Vahl (1794)
  • Eupatorium odoratum L. (1759)
  • Osmia odorata (L.) Schultz-Bip.

International Common Names

  • English: archangel; bitterbush; Christmas bush; chromolaena; chromolaena; siamweed
  • Spanish: chimuyo; crucito; Eupatorio oloroso; hierba de chiva; paleca; rey del todo
  • French: Eupatoire odorante; fleurit-Noël; herbe du Laos

Local Common Names

  • Australia: butterfly-weed; devilweed; hagonoy; jack-in-the-bush
  • Bangladesh: Assam lata
  • Cambodia: kântrèang'khaêt; tönöör
  • Caribbean: bushy thoroughwort; Christmas rose; guérit-tout; guérit-trop-vite; hemp agrimony; jack-in-the-bush; tonka bean
  • Central African Republic: apollo; bokassa; jabiinde
  • China: feijicao
  • Colombia: varejón de caballo
  • Congo: comilog; diabantou; kalamana; kalamilebe; lantana of Ngouabi; matapa mbala; Rwandais; yhombi
  • Côte d'Ivoire: indépendance; sékou touré
  • Cuba: rompezaragüey
  • Dominican Republic: niquibey; rompesaraguey
  • El Salvador: chimuyo
  • Germany: Siam-Kraut
  • Guam: kesengesil; masigsig
  • Honduras: crucito; rey del todo
  • India: ashoke lata; Eupatorium; Sam-solokh
  • Indonesia: fausse ramie; Siamweed
  • Laos: nha flang; nroj pawm thsis
  • Malaysia: fausse ramie; maleanum; pokok german
  • Mexico: chiguapatzle; cihuapatli; crucito; xtokabal
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: floss flower; mahsruhsrihk; otuot; wisolmat en rehwei (Pohnpei)
  • Myanmar: bizat; taw-bizat
  • Nepal: barnmara
  • Nicaragua: crucito olorosa; garrapata
  • Panama: hierba de Chiva; paleca
  • Peru: chisca
  • Philippines: agonoi; daladay; devil weed; gonoi; hulohagonoy; huluhagonoi; lahuneri; malasili; talpuspalad
  • Puerto Rico: cariaquillo Santa Maria; Santa Maria
  • Saint Lucia: jack in the bush
  • South Africa: Amstrong's weed; Armstrong weed; eupatorium; isandanezwa; kingsweed; paraffienbos; paraffin weed; parrafinbush; triffid weed; turpentine weed
  • Sri Lanka: mile-a-minute
  • United States Virgin Islands: geritoo
  • Vietnam: co hoi; yên-bach

EPPO code

  • EUPOD (Eupatorium odoratum)

Summary of Invasiveness

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C. odorata is a very widely distributed tropical shrub that is still expanding its range, and is considered one of the world’s worst weeds. It continues to spread due to its effective short- and long-distance dispersal. It can form pure stands where established, often in disturbed areas, grasslands, fallow areas and forestry plantations, and is highly competitive. It is viewed as a major environmental weed, but is appreciated by some agriculturalists as it shortens fallow time in shifting cultivation.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Chromolaena
  •                                 Species: Chromolaena odorata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Chromolaena odorata has long been referred to as Eupatorium odoratum. It was transferred to the genus Chromolaena by King and Robinson (1970), and although this conception of the tribe Eupatorieae has met some disagreement among botanists, the new binomial of Chromolaenaodorata (L.) R.M. King & H. Rob. is now widely accepted. Nonetheless, references to E. odoratum and even E. odorata are still used today and are common in current literature. A number of additional synonyms in ISSG (2007) cannot be confirmed and are not included here.

Description

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C. odorata is a herbaceous to woody perennial with a bushy habit which forms a very dense thicket about 2 m high, in almost pure stands. This many-branched plant becomes lianescent when it has the opportunity to climb on a support. Isolated individuals start to branch when they reach a height of about 120 cm. After the first year of growth, the plant develops a strong, woody underground storage organ, which can reach a diameter of 20 cm. Stems are terete and become woody. Twigs are slightly striolate longitudinally, pubescent, opposite-decussate. Leaves are simple, opposite-decussate and without stipules. They are rhomboid-ovate to ovate with an acute apex and a cuneate base. The blades are trinerved a few millimetres after the base, roughly crenate-serrate beyond their maximum breadth, slightly pubescent above and pubescent with numerous small yellow dots below (a lens is needed to see this). The petiole is 1-3 cm long, and the blade 5-14 cm long and 2.5-8 cm broad. Leaves and twigs produce a characteristic smell when crushed (Gautier, 1992a). Capitula are grouped in one, three or five convex trichotomic corymbs 5-10 cm in diameter, at the end of the twigs. The involucre is cylindrical, 8-10 mm long by 3-4 mm broad. It is made of a series of four or five oblong bracts, the external being the shorter. These bracts are obtuse, chartaceous, pale in colour with three or five nerves. The receptacle is convex, without scales. There are 15-35 florets per capitulum. The corolla is 5 mm long and has five lobes. Its colour ranges from pale-lilac to white. Styles are of the same colour, exserted and flexuous. Cypselae are composed of a 3- to 4-mm-long fusiform blackish achene, with five beige barbelate ribs, overtopped by a pappus of about 30 barbelate beige capillary bristles which are 4-5 mm long (Gautier, 1992a).

Plant Type

Top of page Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Woody

Distribution

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C. odorata is often noted as a native of tropical Central and South America, from Mexico and the Caribbean to Brazil; however, the exact northern and southern limits of its native range remain uncertain and are likely to also include some regions outside of the tropics. USDA-ARS (2007) include as part of the native range Texas and Florida (USA), and all South American countries except Chile and Uruguay, and records from Córdoba in Argentina suggest latitudinal limits of approximately 30° North and South. Gautier (1992b) included Uruguay as part of the native range and USA populations as introduced, neither being confirmed in later studies.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
BhutanPresentIntroducedGautier, 1992b
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
CambodiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; McFadyen, 2002
ChinaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; McFadyen, 2002
-HainanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; McFadyen, 2002
-YunnanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; McFadyen, 2002
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
Cocos IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002; PIER, 2007
East TimorWidespreadIntroduced Invasive McFadyen, 2002
IndiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-AssamPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-BiharPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-DelhiPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-GoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-GujaratPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-KarnatakaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-KeralaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-MaharashtraPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-ManipurPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-MeghalayaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-MizoramPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-NagalandPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-OdishaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-RajasthanPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-SikkimPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-West BengalPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
IndonesiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-Irian JayaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Sipayung et al., 1991
-JavaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-KalimantanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-MoluccasWidespreadIntroduced Invasive McFadyen, 2002
-SulawesiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
-SumatraWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
LaosWidespreadIntroduced1960 Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Momose, 2002
MalaysiaWidespreadIntroduced1910s Invasive ,
-Peninsular MalaysiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive , ; Gautier, 1992b
-SabahWidespreadIntroduced Invasive , ; Gautier, 1992b
-SarawakWidespreadIntroduced Invasive , ; Gautier, 1992b
NepalPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
PhilippinesWidespreadIntroduced1960s Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Aterrado and Bachiller, 2002
Sri LankaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
TaiwanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Peng and Yang, 1998
ThailandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
VietnamPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b

Africa

BeninWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
CameroonWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
Central African RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
CongoWidespreadIntroduced1960s Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Bani, 2002
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
Côte d'IvoireWidespreadIntroduced1952 Invasive Gautier, 1992b
GhanaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Timbilla and Braimah, 2002
GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
LiberiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b
MauritiusPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Zachariades and Goodall, 2002
MozambiquePresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive Zachariades and Goodall, 2002
NigeriaWidespreadIntroduced1937 Invasive Gautier, 1992b
South AfricaWidespreadIntroduced1940 Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Zachariades and Goodall, 2002
SwazilandWidespreadIntroduced Invasive ,
TogoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Akpagana et al., 1993a; , ; Gautier, 1992b
ZimbabwePresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b

North America

MexicoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
USAPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-FloridaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2007
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Englberger, 2009
-TexasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2007

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentGautier, 1992b
Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
ArubaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
BahamasPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
BarbadosPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
BelizePresentNativeGautier, 1992b
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Costa RicaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
DominicaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
El SalvadorPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
GrenadaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
GuadeloupePresentNativeGautier, 1992b
GuatemalaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
HaitiPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
HondurasPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
JamaicaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
MartiniquePresentNativeGautier, 1992b
MontserratPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
NicaraguaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
PanamaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Puerto RicoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Saint LuciaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b; Graveson, 2012
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeGautier, 1992b

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
BoliviaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
Brazil
-AcrePresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-AlagoasPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-AmapaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-AmazonasPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-BahiaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-GoiasPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-MaranhaoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-ParaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-ParanaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-PernambucoPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-PiauiPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-RondoniaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-RoraimaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-Sao PauloPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
-SergipePresentNativeGautier, 1992b
ColombiaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
EcuadorPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
French GuianaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
GuyanaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
ParaguayPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
PeruPresentNativeGautier, 1992b
SurinamePresentNativeGautier, 1992b
VenezuelaPresentNativeGautier, 1992b

Oceania

AustraliaEradicatedIntroduced Invasive Waterhouse, 1994; Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002
-QueenslandRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Waterhouse, 1994; Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002; IPPC, 2010
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; PIER, 2007
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2007
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Esguerra et al., 1991; PIER, 2007; Englberger, 2009Invasive in Pohnpei. Also present on Chuuk, Kosrae and Yap
Northern Mariana IslandsWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; PIER, 2007
PalauWidespreadIntroduced1980s Invasive Esguerra, 2002; PIER, 2007
Papua New GuineaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Gautier, 1992b; ,

History of Introduction and Spread

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C. odorata was first introduced to Asia to the Calcutta Botanical Garden in the nineteenth century as an ornamental, but had already spread to Malaysia, Sumatra and Indo-China by the 1920s. Burkill (1935) reported that on the Malay Peninsula it was "spreading in from Siam", thus giving rise to its common name in English, ‘Siam weed’. It was first reported from Laos in 1960, and reached the Philippines later in that decade. It carried on spreading through South-East Asia and was reported as growing rampantly in southern Taiwan some decades later (Peng and Yang, 1998).

Further spread of C. odorata in South-East Asia and the western Pacific was associated with the movement of military personnel and equipment during World War II. New foci of invasions have been identified as locations where key military bases were established, for instance Rabaul in New Britain and Jayapura in Irian Jaya (McFadyen, 2002). Similarly, troop movement appears to be responsible for the introduction of the weed to East Timor after 1975. It is very likely that much of the spread of the species in Indonesia resulted from the 1960s transmigration programme.

In 1994 small infestations of C. odorata were found in Queensland, Australia and it is suspected that the introduction resulted from contaminated pasture seeds from overseas (Waterhouse, 1994). After years of efforts the species can now be viewed as eradicated, but the threat of re-introduction from neighbouring islands is high (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002).

In West Africa the plant was accidentally introduced with forestry seeds in Nigeria in 1937 and was deliberately introduced to Côte d'Ivoire in 1952 to control Imperata spp. and other coarse grasses following a recommendation by the famous botanist Auguste Chevalier (1952), despite the fact that he regarded the species as a weed (Chevalier, 1949). The current distribution in West and Central Africa extends from Guinea/Sierra Leone (12°W) to central parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, and south to northern Angola (23°E). It was introduced to South Africa near Durban around 1940 and has since spread to Natal, Transvaal, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Comparing the distribution of C. odorata with a climatic map and it is clear that all the regions with a suitable environment are not yet invaded, especially in Africa and Oceania. Crutwell McFadyen and Skarrat (1996) predicted the potential distribution using a climate-matching programme, and noted that C. odorata can be expected to invade the following areas in the future:
  • in West Africa: Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, southern Senegal, southern Mali, southern Burkina Faso
  • in East and Central Africa: southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi
  • in southern Africa: Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, northeastern Botswana
  • in the Atlantic Ocean: Fernando Po, Sao Tomé, Annobon
  • in Arabia: eastern side of Asir, Masquat area
  • in the Indian Ocean: Comoros, Reunion, and all other islands in the Indian Ocean except Socotra
  • in the Pacific Ocean: all the islands included in the pentagon: Hawaii, Galapagos, Easter Islands, New Caledonia
  • in Oceania: Indonesian islands that are not yet affected.
However, Kriticos et al. (2005) revised this model with a more limited estimated potential distribution, predicting that Mediterranean, semi-arid and temperate climates are unsuitable and reducing some inland extensions. However, the revised model supports the earlier conclusions that much of tropical Africa, the northeastern coast of Australia and most Pacific islands are still at risk of invasion.

Another model was used by Raimundo et al. (2007) to predict future spread, and they predicted that four regions are susceptible to Siam weed spread: (1) Central Africa, currently being invaded from the west; (2) southern Africa, spreading north from South Africa, having already reached Swaziland and Mozambique and may extend to East Africa and Madagascar; (3) northern New Zealand and (4) Australia, the latter two at risk from introductions from uncontrolled infestations on several western Pacific islands.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Côte d'Ivoire 1952 Crop production (pathway cause) Yes Chevalier, 1949 Possibly introduced from Nigeria, intentional, to control Imperata
Nigeria 1937 Forestry (pathway cause) Yes Chevalier, 1949 As a contaminant of forest seed, accidental

Risk of Introduction

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In the early 1990s, C. odorata was declared a prohibited species in Australia and became a primary target of weed surveys conducted in northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and eastern Indonesia. When Australian troops were deployed in East Timor in 1999, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service instigated an assessment of the quarantine risks associated with movements of troops and equipment between Australia and East Timor, and the risk of introduction of C. odorata seeds was identified as a primary threat. As a result, all equipment and personnel returning to Australia was systematically inspected and cleaned (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002). Due the importance of this weed, further intentional introduction is now considered very unlikely; however, further accidental introduction is still highly probable and countries with suitable climates should take all necessary steps to prevent its introduction. It is a declared noxious weed in Hawaii, USA, as well as Australia, and of concern to many other countries.

Habitat

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C. odorata can be considered as a major weed in all perennial crops of the humid tropics as well as in forestry. It also invades pastures. Its aggressiveness is much more serious in the Old World tropics where it is an exotic, rather than in its native Americas. C. odorata is found mainly in the humid part of the inter-tropical zone at elevations below 2000 m, in open secondary habitats such as cultivated lands, abandoned or neglected fields, forest clearings, wastelands, along forest trails, fence rows, roadsides and forest margins. Gils et al. (2006) found significant differences in four habitats invaded in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, concluding that spread along paths and lack of control in state forest mean that it is most abundant there, followed by eucalyptus plantations, and a low abundance in sugar cane fields and communal grasslands is thought to be due to fires and ground cover.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Ananas comosus (pineapple)BromeliaceaeMain
Camellia sinensis (tea)TheaceaeMain
Cocos nucifera (coconut)ArecaceaeMain
Coffea (coffee)RubiaceaeMain
Elaeis guineensis (African oil palm)ArecaceaeMain
Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)MalvaceaeMain
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Musa textilis (manila hemp)MusaceaeMain
Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)SolanaceaeMain
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeOther
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeMain
Tectona grandis (teak)LamiaceaeMain
Theobroma cacao (cocoa)SterculiaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Genetic variation in invasive populations has been noted. In Australia, two genotypes have been found (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002). Von Senger et al. (2000) found that the form of C. odorata occurring in South Africa is morphologically distinct from other investigated material and that more than one genotype exists. Kriticos et al. (2005) also found that the distribution of C. odorata in South Africa extends further south than predicted by their model, based on Asian and American distribution records, which supports the view the South African variety has different climatic requirements. Zachariades et al. (2004) confirmed that South African populations have a northern Caribbean origin, identical to material from Cuba, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Physiology and Phenology

Photosynthesis follows the classical C3 pathway (Saxena and Ramakrishnan, 1984). Due to a very efficient strategy in resource allocation, growth is very rapid and six months after germination the plant reaches a height of 2 m, with profuse branching. If the plant finds a support, the main stem can continue its growth and reach a height of 10 m in subsequent years, but generally the main stem bends and lateral branches take up the vertical growth, with further branching. In the first steps of development, the primary root will curve and grow horizontally for a few centimetres. The root system will then branch abundantly, resulting in a very dense but superficial network. After the first year of growth, the horizontal part of the root will develop massively, resulting in a lignified storage organ which can reach a diameter of 20 cm. This storage organ will ensure resprouting if the aerial parts of the plant become damaged. Seedlings can grow extremely rapidly, with growth rates of up to 20 mm per day having been recorded (Hills and Ostermeyer, 2000).

Reproductive Biology

Sexual reproduction can occur at the end of the first growth season (Gautier, 1993). Flowering is seasonal and generally occurs in the dry season. Flowers are visited by various unspecialised insects, but reproduction is often apomictic. Seventy-five days after the first appearance of the flower buds, fruits are ready to be dispersed. Fruit production of 1 ha of C. odorata thicket can reach 1 billion. Most of the seeds enter the soil and build up a seed bank (Epp, 1987) and seeds may survive in the soil for up to 6 years (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002) but usually less than a year unless sheltered microsites exist (Witkowski, 2002). Nevertheless, many are dispersed away from the original site, seeds are generally wind-disseminated but they also stick to fur, feather and clothes. Vegetative reproduction by layering can occur, with branches developing adventitious roots if they touch the ground during the growing season. In general terms, germination behaviour is adapted to secondary habitats but depends widely on the population considered (Edwards, 1974), especially with respect to dormancy and the effect of shade. Humidity and temperatures above 20°C enhance germination. Green and far-red light reduce germination, whereas red or white light has a positive effect (Soerohaldoko, 1975; Ambica and Jayachandra, 1980a; Erasmus and Van Staden, 1986). Seed germination in South Africa was between 20 and 46% (Witkowski, 2002). Seedlings often appear in very high densities (>2000 per m²) and very severe intraspecific selection occurs in the first months of growth. Yadav and Tripathi (1981) and Kushwaha et al. (1981) described population dynamics of C. odorata.

Environmental Requirements

C. odorata can grow in areas with an annual rainfall below 1000 mm, provided the dry season is not too long. It is limited to around 2000 m altitude, which might indicate that C. odorata cannot endure frost. It grows on soils ranging from sand dunes to heavy clays (Liggit, 1983). C. odorata is heavily dependent on the availability of light. Its competitive strategy depends largely on rapid plastic responses that can only be achieved through a high productivity dependent on light. The response of C. odorata to fire is complex. It is true that it cannot establish in areas that are burned annually, such as African savannahs. However, if fire becomes erratic, or has a low intensity, C. odorata can develop and form a dense thicket that will even prevent fire in humid years. In dry years, this thicket will burn but the underground storage organ of C. odorata will then ensure rapid regrowth.

Associations

The very high competitiveness of C. odorata is due to various features. The plant develops a group strategy: its massive establishment due to prolific reproduction, together with its fast growth and branching habit, ensures rapid domination and the suppression of other species through competition for resources and mechanical pressure. Under the very dense canopy of a C. odorata thicket, light is scarce and other fast-growing species cannot survive. Slow-growing, shade-tolerant species are regularly bent to the ground by the continuous pressure of the growth of new C. odorata twigs on the upper layer of the thicket (Gautier, 1992a). It has a very efficient root system for the capture of nutrients (Bennet and Rao, 1968), and allopathic effects may also be involved (Ambika and Jayachandra, 1980b; Nakamura and Nemoto, 1993).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 0

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall10003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Acalitus adoratus Herbivore Leaves/Stems Malaysia
Actinote anteas Herbivore Leaves
Alternaria zinniae Pathogen
Anhellia niger Pathogen Leaves/Stems
Anoplocnemis curvipes Herbivore
Aphis gossypii Herbivore
Aphis spiraecola Herbivore
Apion brunneonigrum Herbivore Inflorescence Malaysia
Cercospora eupatorii Pathogen
Cionothrix praelonga Pathogen Leaves
Cremastobombycia chromolaenae Herbivore Davis et al., 2013
Fusarium pallidoroseum Pathogen
Melanagromyza eupatoriella Herbivore Stems Thailand
Mescina parvula Herbivore Stems
Ophiociliomyces bauhiniae Pathogen
Pareuchaetes aurata Herbivore Leaves
Pareuchaetes pseudoinsulata Herbivore Leaves Africa; Ghana; Guam; Malaysia; Mariana Islands; Micronesia; South Africa; Thailand
Passalora perfoliata Pathogen Leaves
Procecidochares connexa Herbivore Stems
Redbia trichomambusta Pathogen
Septoria ekmaniana Pathogen Leaves

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The aggressive nature and competitiveness of C. odorata in the Palaeotropics can be explained by the lack of host-specific natural enemies. In its native range in the Neotropics, it is attacked by a large number of arthropods (Crutwell, 1974; Gagne, 1977) and diseases (Elango et al., 1993; Barreto and Evans, 1994), reviewed by Crutwell McFadyen (1991). The most damaging and those that are promising potential biological control agents are given in the List of Natural Enemies, which includes successful introductions that have already been made. These natural enemies are either host-specific or only attack a narrow range of species related to C. odorata.

The defoliating habit of Pareuchaetes spp. larvae made them the first choice as a biological control agent and they have been studied in most detail. Cock and Holloway (1982) clarified Pareuchaetes taxonomy and showed that there are a series of species present throughout the native range of C. odorata, each with different ecological requirements. Consequently, they recommended matching the climates of areas where biological control of C. odorata was desired with those of Pareuchaetes spp. in order to select the most appropriate species for introduction. Other biological control agents have also been released in Malaysia and Thailand.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

The principal means of local spread is via wind dispersal of the abundant small seeds, aided by the fact that each is attached to a ring of hairs thus increasing potential movement in even the lightest of winds.

Vector Transmission

The achenes can readily attach themselves to animal fur and feathers, and thus animal dispersal is probably sometimes responsible for new foci of invasion.

Agricultural Practices

Achenes can be spread by agricultural machinery. Dispersal as a seed contaminant is possible.

Accidental Introduction

There is a high risk of accidental dispersal via movement of machinery, vehicles and people. Seeds can also easily become attached to clothes and thus people can spread seeds unintentionally. There are reports of the impacts military movements have in spreading C.odorata, especially around the Pacific and adjacent countries.

Intentional Introduction

This species is not now considered as an ornamental, though early introductions were made for this reason, such as the first introduction to India in the 1800s.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionCommon as a fallow species and probably spread during clearance, also to control Imperata Yes Yes Chevalier, 1949
ForestryAs a contaminant of forestry Yes Chevalier, 1949
Military movementsImportant historically for introductions around the Pacific and neighbouring countries Yes McFadyen, 2002
Ornamental purposesOriginal introductions as an ornamental, now very unlikely to be repeated Yes
Seed tradeAs a seed contaminant Yes Yes Chevalier, 1949

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsShoes, in pockets and bags Yes
Land vehiclesMilitary vehicles and equipment Yes Yes McFadyen, 2002
Livestock Yes
Plants or parts of plantsAs a seed contaminant Yes Yes Chevalier, 1949
Soil, sand and gravelAssumed as possible means Yes Yes
WindMain means of dispersal Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production None
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production Negative
Native fauna Negative
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Impact

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C. odorata can be considered as a very serious weed in all types of perennial crops in the humid areas of the Palaeotropics. In low-growing plantations such as coffee and cocoa, C. odorata can completely smother the crop, whereas in taller plantations such as rubber or teak, as soon as the canopy is closed the weed is no longer a problem.

In shifting cultivation, C. odorata replaces the natural secondary succession and becomes the dominant fallow species (De Foresta and Schwartz, 1991; De Rouw, 1991; Gautier, 1992a; Roder et al., 1995; Slaats, 1995). It is often considered as beneficial by local farmers (Baxter, 1995) because it is easier to clear than the secondary vegetation, helps to suppress Imperata cylindrica, and is believed to accelerate the recovery of soil fertility. This last aspect is still a matter of debate among scientists, but there is an increasing requirement for further studies on the influence of the C. odorata fallow system before any biological control programme is launched (Herren-Gemmil, 1991; De Foresta, 1996).

C. odorata causes severe problems in pastures in the Central African Republic (Audru et al., 1988), Java (Indonesia) and the Philippines because it invades overgrazed areas. Due to the high nitrate content of the leaves, C. odorata is poisonous to cattle and generally not grazed (Sajise et al., 1974).

C. odorata can also transmit pathogenic fungi (Vayssière, 1957; Esuruoso, 1971; Oritsejafor, 1986), and act as a host for insect pests including Zonocerus variegatus (Modder, 1984; Chapman et al., 1986), whose nymphs feed on leaves, flowers and fruits in Africa; Aphis citricola and Rhopalosiphum maidis in India; as well as various other polyphagous insects.

In regions where there are dry seasons C. odorata can be a fire hazard (Englberger, 2009).

Economic Impact

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C. odorata can be considered as a very serious weed in all types of perennial crops in the humid areas of the Palaeotropics. In low-growing plantations such as coffee and cocoa, C. odorata can completely smother the crop, whereas in taller plantations such as rubber or teak, as soon as the canopy is closed the weed is no longer a problem.

In shifting cultivation, C. odorata replaces the natural secondary succession and becomes the dominant fallow species (De Foresta and Schwartz, 1991; De Rouw, 1991; Gautier, 1992a; Roder et al., 1995; Slaats, 1995). It is often considered as beneficial by local farmers (Baxter, 1995) because it is easier to clear than the secondary vegetation, helps to suppress Imperata cylindrica, and is believed to accelerate the recovery of soil fertility. This last aspect is still a matter of debate among scientists, but there is an increasing requirement for further studies on the influence of the C. odorata fallow system before any biological control programme is launched (Herren-Gemmil, 1991; De Foresta, 1996).

C. odorata causes severe problems in pastures in the Central African Republic (Audru et al., 1988), Java (Indonesia) and the Philippines because it invades overgrazed areas. Due to the high nitrate content of the leaves, C. odorata is poisonous to cattle and generally not grazed (Sajise et al., 1974).

C. odorata can also transmit pathogenic fungi (Vayssière, 1957; Esuruoso, 1971; Oritsejafor, 1986), and act as a host for insect pests including Zonocerus variegatus (Modder, 1984; Chapman et al., 1986), whose nymphs feed on leaves, flowers and fruits in Africa; Aphis citricola and Rhopalosiphum maidis in India; as well as various other polyphagous insects.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

Depending on the length and the intensity of the dry season, C. odorata represents a serious fire hazard because of the presence of volatile oils in stems and leaves. Uncontrolled fires can destroy plantations, villages and infested natural vegetation. This problem is particularly acute in Natal, South Africa, where C. odorata is reported to burn even when green in the growing season (Macdonald, 1983).

Impact on Biodiversity

C. odorata invades natural vegetation such as forest margins and savannahs in Africa (Macdonald, 1983, Macdonald and Frame, 1988; Gautier, 1992a, 1996). In South Africa it is posing a very serious threat to the continued survival of the Nile crocodile (Leslie and Spotila, 2001).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Crocodylus niloticusNo DetailsSouth AfricaLeslie and Spotila, 2001

Social Impact

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In some regions, such as southwestern China, the appearance of C. odorata has allowed a shortening of fallow periods in shifting cultivation and thus the species is welcomed by these traditional agriculturalists (Momose, 2002).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting

Impact outcomes

  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species

Invasiveness

  • Abundant in its native range
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally

Uses

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A very important though facultative use of C. odorata is as a green manure or fallow component. Being invasive, it has replaced native secondary successional species in much of the tropical Old World, and farmers have learnt to live with as a component of the farming system, especially in shifting cultivation and rotational practices. It is often preferred over native species as it easier to cut and clear, and is observed to suppress another invasive species, Imperata cylindrica, which has much worse impacts on agriculture. Reports that C. odorata improves soil fertility require confirmation, though clearly the fallow period will have a positive effect. C. odorata can also be cut and cleared prior to seed set, composted and used as a valuable organic soil amendment.

It is generally regarded as poisonous to animals and thus not recommended as a livestock feed. However, some studies show its benefits in low concentrations, such as up to 5% for egg-laying chickens which also improved yolk colour (Fasuyi et al., 2005).

In Malaysia, where C. odorata is an invasive exotic, plant parts are used by traditional practitioners for treatment of burns, wound healing, skin infections, post-natal wounds, and as an anti-malarial (Nurul Huda et al., 2004). Several medical studies have confirmed that leaf extracts have certain anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects, and are identified as a potential source of human medicines.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Environmental

  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Materials

  • Fertilizer

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Retief (2002) has found that in southern Africa the genus Mikania shows strong similarity to C. odorata in its distribution, habit, leaf blade outline, floret colour (both have white corollas), capitulum outline and structure of the achene. It is thought that in Australia some plants showing great morphological similarity actually belong to another species found (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002).

Prevention and Control

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Control

Cultural control

Slashing C. odorata stems manually or mechanically is not a solution, because the plants coppice profusely from the roots. The root itself must be dug out, which can sometimes be done by hand if the soil is moist, or by mechanized equipment. This type of control must be conducted at least twice during the growing season (Liggit, 1983; Audru et al., 1988; Muniappan and Marutani, 1991).

Cultural practices involving other competitive species have been proposed: using Leucaena leucocephala in pastures in the Philippines (Castillo et al., 1977); Tephrosia purpurea in cocoa plantations in Sri Lanka (Salgado, 1972); and signalgrass (Brachiaria decumbens) in Yunnan, China (Wu and Xu, 1991). For perennial plantations, a ground-cover crop such as Pueraria phaseoloides, Calopogonium mucunoides, Centrosema pubescens or Vigna unguiculata can control C. odorata in the first years, before the crop canopy is closed (Liggit, 1983; Audru et al., 1988; Muniappan and Marutani, 1991).

In South Africa, an annual burning regime can effectively control the plant in grassland situations by killing mature plants and preventing new seedlings from establishing (Goodall and Zachariades, 2002).

Mechanical control

Seedlings and young plants can be removed by hand-pulling, but follow-up clearance every 2-3 months is necessary because of rapid regrowth (Zachariades and Goodall, 2002).

Chemical control

C. odorata is most susceptible to chemical control when it is growing vigorously, such as at the beginning of the rainy season. Best control is usually obtained when herbicides are applied to young shoots after slashing. For control of germinating C. odorata, pre-emergence herbicides may be used, such as diuron or metribuzin in yams and cassava, oxyfluoren in cassava, cyanazine+atrazube or atrazine+terbutryn in maize, and dipropetrin in groundnuts and cotton, The following may be used as post-emergence treatments: 2,4-D; glyphosate; asulam; paraquat; triclopyr; imazapyr; metsulfuron; tebuthiuron; atrazine (which also inhibits germination); picloram and classical combinations such as picloram+2,4-D; dicamba+2,4-D. Some of these, such as 2,4-D, atrazine and paraquat, are only likely to be effective on seedlings or young plants. For mature plants, glyphosate or combinations including picloram, dicamba or triclopyr will be needed, and even then, repeat treatments are likely to be necessary. More detailed suggestions for the use of herbicides are provided by Ikuenobe and Ayeni (1998). Ferrar et al. (1998) provide a valuable update on many aspects of controlling this weed. Vermeulen et al. (1996) give the latest South African recommendations including use of granular formulations of tebuthiuron and cut stump treatments with imazapyr and triclopyr. In Australia the herbicides used are picloram + triclopyr or fluoxypyr, in combination with a wetting agent. Picloram + triclopyr were used where a residual action is desired (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002).

Biological control

As C. odorata is found in forests, pastures and on wasteland as well as in arable areas, biological control is an attractive approach, especially where use of herbicides is uneconomic. Biological control in the Neotropics was pioneered by the Commonwealth Institute for Biological Control [IIBC] in the mid-1970s and work has been continued by other agencies, notably research teams from South Africa and Australia. Pareuchaetes pseudoinsulata was selected as the first agent for trial in West Africa and has been widely released there, in South and South-East Asia and the Pacific. Initial results were disappointing because establishment was hampered by poor climatic matching and predation of the larvae feeding exposed on the leaves. Although establishment took place readily in Sri Lanka and Sabah (Malaysia), P. pseudoinsulata did not build up in sufficient numbers to have any beneficial impact, but when it was released in Guam, C. odorata was suppressed (Muniappan et al., 1988; Seibert, 1989). This difference in performance on small islands and larger land masses is attributed to the lower level of predation on small islands.

Attempted introductions of the inflorescence-feeding weevil, Apion brunneonigrum, in West Africa and in Asia were impeded by the need to send field-collected adults because no successful mass-breeding technique had been developed. None was successful. Incidentally, the weevils released in Sabah were contaminated by the gall mite Acalitus adoratus, which became established and has spread widely in the region (Crutwell McFadyen, 1995). This mite is known to be completely host specific and presents no threat although the damage it does is too slight to have a major impact on C. odorata.

A regional co-operative programme in South-East Asia started in 1993 made the first introductions of the stem gall fly, Cecidochares connexa [Procecidochares connexa], which is now established in most Indonesian islands and gives good control of the plant 4-5 years after release (Chiu et al., 2005). McFadyen (2002) reported that the fly was cleared for release in Papua New Guinea, while the release permit is awaited in the Philippines and Guam. The moth Pareuchaetes pseudoinsulata is now widely established in northern Sumatra (Indonesia), and in some sites in northern Papua New Guinea. A butterfly, Actinote anteas, which also attacks a closely related invader Mikaniamicrantha, has been released in Indonesia but its successful establishment has yet to be confirmed.
In West Africa, Paraeuchaetes pseudoinsulata has been successfully established and there is an ongoing programme in South Africa. However, the strain of C. odorata found there is different to that in Asia and elsewhere in Africa, and it is proving difficult to find agents that will attack it. Nonetheless, recent studies confirm the potential of Lixus aemulus, a stem-boring weevil imported from Brazil, in reducing biomass and seed production (Kluge and Zachariades, 2006).

McFadyen (1996) reviewed the situation to the early 1990s and more recent progress in biological programmes and future plans throughout the tropics have been reviewed in Zachariades et al. (2002), and more recent reviews include Strathie and Zachariades (2004) and LiHua and YuLong (2007).

Integrated control

In view of the limited success achieved with released biological control agents and the difficulty in preventing the spread of C. odorata, integrated control strategies are being explored. These include either excluding fire (coastal forest sites), or using fire prior to seed release to kill plants and soil-stored seeds immediately prior to seed production, together with chemical and/or physical clearing (Witkowski, 2002). The quest for effective control agents is also being pursued and a sustained effort to maintain people's awareness is also seen as a key factor in any management programme (Zachariades and Goodall, 2002). In Australia, herbicide application, hand-pulling or fire are often used in combination depending on local site conditions (Waterhouse and Zeimer, 2002).

References

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