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Datasheet

Flacourtia indica (governor's plum)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 23 June 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Flacourtia indica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • governor's plum
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • F. indica is a species of small tree or shrub native to Africa and Asia. It has been introduced fairly widely and is regarded as a major invasive plant. It invades disturbed areas, forest edges or clearings and...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum), foliage and fruits. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
TitleFoliage and fruits
CaptionFlacourtia indica (governor's plum), foliage and fruits. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
Copyright©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum), foliage and fruits. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
Foliage and fruitsFlacourtia indica (governor's plum), foliage and fruits. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); trunk and bark features. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.
TitleTrunk and bark
CaptionFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); trunk and bark features. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.
Copyright©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); trunk and bark features. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.
Trunk and barkFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); trunk and bark features. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); opening flowers. Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
TitleFlowers
CaptionFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); opening flowers. Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
Copyright©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); opening flowers. Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
FlowersFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); opening flowers. Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); open and unopened flowers. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.
TitleFlowers
CaptionFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); open and unopened flowers. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.
Copyright©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); open and unopened flowers. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.
FlowersFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); open and unopened flowers. Hyderabad, India. February, 2009.©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); foliage and fruit. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
TitleFoliage and fruit
CaptionFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); foliage and fruit. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
Copyright©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0
Flacourtia indica (governor's plum); foliage and fruit. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.
Foliage and fruitFlacourtia indica (governor's plum); foliage and fruit. Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, Hyderabad, India. April, 2009.©J.M.Garg-2009/via wikipedia - CC BY 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Flacourtia indica (Burm. f.) Merr.

Preferred Common Name

  • governor's plum

Other Scientific Names

  • Flacourtia afra Pic. Serm.
  • Flacourtia balansae Gagnep.
  • Flacourtia elliptica (Tul.) Warb.
  • Flacourtia frondosa Clos
  • Flacourtia gambecola Clos
  • Flacourtia heterophylla Turcz.
  • Flacourtia hilsenbergii C. Presl
  • Flacourtia hirtiuscula Oliv.
  • Flacourtia indica var. innocua (Haines) H.O.Saxena & Brahmam
  • Flacourtia kirkiana H. M. Gardner
  • Flacourtia lenis Craib
  • Flacourtia obcordata Roxb.
  • Flacourtia parvifolia Merr.
  • Flacourtia perrottetiana Clos
  • Flacourtia ramontchi L’Hér
  • Flacourtia ramontchi var. renvoizei Fosberg
  • Flacourtia rotundifolia Clos
  • Flacourtia sapida Roxb.
  • Flacourtia sepiaria Roxb.
  • Flacourtia sepiaria var. innocua Haines
  • Flacourtia thorelii Gagnep.
  • Gmelina indica Burm.f.
  • Gmelina javanica Christm.

International Common Names

  • English: batoko plum; Indian plum; Madagascar plum; Mauritius plum; ramontchi; Rhodesia plum
  • Spanish: ciruela de gobernador; ciruela de Madagascar
  • French: grosse prune-café; jujube Malgache; marromse; prune pays; prunier de Madagascar; prunier d'Inde

Local Common Names

  • China: ci li mu; nuo nuo guo
  • Germany: Batokopflaume; Echte Flacourtie; Madagaskar-Pflaumenbaum; Ramontchi
  • Hungary: batokószilva; kormányzószilva; maronszilva; ramoncsi
  • India: bilangra; cottaikkalaa; kandai; katai; kondai; kondari; kukai; kurumuli; sottaikala
  • Indonesia: duri rukem; rukam sepat; rukem mincid
  • Japan: indo rukamu; ramonchii
  • Kenya: mgo; michongoma; mkingii; mkingili; mugovigovi; ngovigovi
  • Laos: mak ken; mak keng
  • Myanmar: nayuwai
  • Philippines: bitongol; bolong; palutan
  • Portugal: ameixa da Mauricia; ameixa de Madagascar; cerezo del gobernador
  • Sri Lanka: uguressa
  • Thailand: ma kwen pa; ta khop pa
  • Zimbabwe: munhunguru; mutombototo; mutudza; mutunguru

EPPO code

  • FLCIN (Flacourtia indica)

Summary of Invasiveness

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F. indica is a species of small tree or shrub native to Africa and Asia. It has been introduced fairly widely and is regarded as a major invasive plant. It invades disturbed areas, forest edges or clearings and riparian zones. It has been most widely recorded as invasive in islands in the Western Indian Ocean to varying extents. F. indica is considered very invasive in Mauritius but less so on Reunion, Rodrigues and Mayotte where monitoring is recommended (Kueffer et al., 2004). Similarly, it has been recorded as an invasive species ‘to be watched’ in Florida (Hadden et al., 2005). While present and introduced in various Pacific and Caribbean islands, information on invasiveness in this area is scarce. It has however been reported that this species can form dense impenetrable thickets which may inhibit the growth of native plant species.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Violales
  •                         Family: Flacourtiaceae
  •                             Genus: Flacourtia
  •                                 Species: Flacourtia indica

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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F. indica is a widespread species of the Salicaceae family, native to Africa and Asia, but is also considered to be part of the Flacourtiaceae family (USDA-ARS, 2014). Flacourtia is a large genus with 96 species recorded (The Plant List, 2013).

Taxonomy of this species is complex and there is confusion and disagreement on whether one or more species are involved (PIER, 2014). The Plant List (2013) has 24 recorded synonyms for F. indica. Some have supported separation of species. For example, based on small but constant morphological, karyological, phytochemical etc., F. sepiaria could be a separate species (IPK, 2014). Researchers in India tend to also treat F. ramontchi as a separate species (Panchal et al., 2010). However, there does not appear to be consensus on this (Sargent, 1924). An explanation for the overall confusion has been the loss of significant field characteristics during preparation of herbarium material. Another explanation is that this species shows extreme variability in both morphology (indumentum, leaf shape, presence or absence of spines) and habit (shrub to tree) (Missouri Botanical Garden, 1965). The morphological variation has been reported continuous and not appearing to correlate with geography.

The most used common name in English is governer’s plum. However, several of these common names, including governer’s plum have also been used to refer to another species of the Flacourtia genus (e.g. F. jangomas).

Description

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F. indica is a shrub or small tree up to 15 m tall. It is generally spiny with rough bark. Bark is usually pale, grey, powdery, may become brown to dark grey and flaking, revealing pale orange patches. The spines are sometimes branched and up to 12 cm long.

Vegetative parts vary from glabrous to densely pubescent. The leaves vary in shape and size; blade ovate or elliptic, sometimes suborbicular or obovate, apex obtusely acuminate, obtuse or rounded, base cuneate to rounded, membranous to almost coriaceous, serrulate-crenate, or more rarely subentire, 2.5-12 (-16) cm long, 2-8 cm broad; lateral nerves 4-7 pairs, slightly prominent on both faces, as is the more or less dense reticulation; petiole up to 2 cm long.

Flowers are dioecious or occasionally bisexual (1 or several branches of a female specimen with perfect flowers, which, however, bear fewer stamens than in the male ones). Male flowers in axillary racemes 0.5-2 cm long; pedicles slender, more or less pubescent, up to 1 cm long, the basal bracts minute and caducous. Sepals broadly ovate, apex acute to rounded, pubescent on both sides, 1.5-2.5 mm long and broad. Filaments 2-2.5 mm long; anthers 0.5 mm long. Disk lobulate. Female flowers in short racemes or solitary; pedicels up to 5 mm. Disk lobulate, clasping the base of the ovoid ovary; styles 4-8, central, connate at the base, spreading, up to 1.5 mm long; stigmas truncate.

Fruit is globular, reddish to reddish black when ripe, fleshy, up to 2.5 cm across, with persistent styles, up to 10-seeded. Seeds are 8-10 mm long, 4-7 mm broad; testa rugose, pale brown (PIER, 2014).

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Succulent
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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F. indica occurs naturally in Africa and Asia, where it is widespread. However, there is some disagreement related to whether the species is exotic to Africa (IPK, 2014) and similarly, there are some contradictory reports on its native versus introduced status in Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (Orwa et al., 2009). In Africa, the species is mostly present along the east and southern coast from Somalia to South Africa and Namibia. Inland, it is present in Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is also present in several West African countries, although not contiguously. It is present in both South and Southeast Asia, including India, China and as far south as in Indonesia.

F. indica has naturalized and is invasive to a number of small islands of the Western Indian Ocean. It has been reported as an exotic to a number of Pacific and Caribbean islands. Isolated records exist in the USA (Florida), Central America (Costa Rica) and Australia (Queensland and Northern Territory). 

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

CambodiaPresent Not invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
China
-FujianWidespread Not invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
-GuangdongWidespread Not invasive Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
-GuangxiWidespread Not invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
-HainanWidespread Not invasive Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
East TimorPresent Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014
IndiaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
-ChhattisgarhPresent Not invasive Kala, 2009
-Indian PunjabPresent Not invasive PROTA, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresent Not invasive Dey and De, 2012
IndonesiaPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009; USDA-ARS, 2014Disagreement as to whether native or exotic
LaosPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
MalaysiaPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009; USDA-ARS, 2014Disagreement as to whether native or exotic
NepalPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
PakistanPresent Not invasive Flora of Pakistan, 2014
PhilippinesPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
Sri LankaPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009; USDA-ARS, 2014Disagreement as to whether native or exoitc
ThailandPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
VietnamPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014

Africa

BeninPresent Not invasive Tchibozo et al., 2012
BotswanaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
CameroonPresent Not invasive PROTA, 2014
Congo Democratic RepublicPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009
EritreaPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009
EthiopiaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
KenyaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
MadagascarPresentOrwa et al., 2009; USDA-ARS, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014Disagreement as to whether native or exotic
MalawiPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
MauritiusWidespread Invasive Kueffer and Mauremootoo, 2004
MayottePresent Invasive PIER, 2014
MozambiquePresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
NamibiaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
NigeriaPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009
RéunionWidespread Invasive PIER, 2014
RwandaPresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009
Sierra LeonePresent Not invasive Orwa et al., 2009
SomaliaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
South AfricaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014Cape Province, Transvaal
TanzaniaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
UgandaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
ZambiaPresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
ZimbabwePresent Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014

North America

BermudaPresentISSG, 2014; ISSG, 2014
USA
-FloridaPresentHadden et al., 2005; PIER, 2014
-HawaiiPresent Not invasive PIER, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
BarbadosPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
Costa RicaPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2014
Dominican RepublicPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
GrenadaPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
JamaicaPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
Puerto RicoPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
Saint Kitts and NevisPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
Saint LuciaPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresent Not invasive Kairo et al., 2003

Oceania

Australia
-Australian Northern TerritoryNo information available Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014Likely to be an incorrect recording of native
-QueenslandPresent Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014
French PolynesiaPresent Not invasive PIER, 2014Moorea, Tahiti, Makatea
New CaledoniaPresent only in captivity/cultivation Not invasive PIER, 2014Île Grande Terre

History of Introduction and Spread

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According to Kueffer et al. (2004), F. indica was introduced to the small islands of the Western Indian Ocean in 1722 and it is likely that early settlers introduced it as a fruit tree.

F. indica has been cultivated in southern Florida for a century or more and has become naturalized there (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2014). Records indicate that in 1923 seedlings were introduced into central and southern Florida from India for a trial (USDA, 1923). 

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Florida India 1923 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes USDA, 1923 For testing
Mauritius Before 1722 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes Kueffer et al., 2004 Introduced for the fruit

Risk of Introduction

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F. indica received a high risk score of 12 in a risk assessment for the Pacific region (PIER, 2014), indicating the dangers posed by further introduction. This score relates to its broad climate suitability, a history of repeated introductions and likelihood of naturalization beyond its native range.

Habitat

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F.indica can tolerate a range of habitats from coastal, riverine to lowland dry and humid (Dunlop et al., 2005). It is found from 0-2400 m altitude (PIER, 2014). F. indica is a common in tropical dry deciduous and thorn forests, though more abundant in the former. It also occurs in seasonally dry forest, woodland, bushland, thickets, wooded grassland and often in riparian vegetation (Orwa et al., 2009). It tends to invade disturbed areas, forest edges or clearings and riparian zones. 

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Principal habitat Natural
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
semi-natural/Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Chromosome counts for F. indica are reported to be n = 11, 2n = 22 and 2n = 44 (PROTA, 2014).

Reproductive Biology

F. indica is dioecious. Variable flowering and fruiting habits exist. It takes from 5-8 months from flower fertilization to fruit ripening. Reproduction is aided by dispersal of seeds by birds. Young seedlings and saplings are drought resistant and able to maintain their proportion in existing stands (Orwa et al., 2009). It can be propagated from seed, but seeds require scarification (cracking, piercing) first (PROTA, 2014). Seeds can be stored for over a year in air-dry hermetic storage at 5 ºC (Orwa et al., 2009). Several studies in India and Malawi have reported low germination rates (less than 23%) (Prins and Maghembe, 1994; Kumar, 2003). F. indica can regenerate naturally from coppicing and has been observed to be an efficient ramet producer (Pandey and Shukla, 2001). Ramet production was seen to increase with increased disturbance levels in north-eastern India, however, repeated and high intensity disturbances had a detrimental effect (Pandey and Shukla, 2001).

Physiology and Phenology

F. indica has been reported to be slow growing in India, with mean annual girth increments of 0.5-0.8 cm (Banerjee, 1989). Asynchrony between flowering and leaf loss was observed in a tropical dry deciduous forest in India (Yadav and Yadav, 2008). In East Africa, it has been observed that flowering starts with the onset of the rainy season and continues into the dry season. Fruit ripening occurs at end of rains and into the dry season. Fruits are generally ripe 60-90 days after flowering (Barbeau, 1994).

Population Size and Structure

F. indica is often found in clumps with other species and is usually associated with dense thickets.

Associations

In East Africa, associated tree species are Acacia polyacantha, Afzelia quanzensis, Brachystegia spiciformis, Friesodielsia obovata, Oldfieldia dactylophylla, Swartzia madagascariensis [Bobgunniamadagascariensis], Vitex mombassae, V. doniana and Brachystegia and Combretum woodland (PROTA, 2014)

Environmental Requirements

F. indica is a tropical species with a broad geographical distribution covering both tropical and dry climates (Koeppen classification). It tolerates semi-arid environments with annual rainfall between 400 and 750 mm that is limited to 90 days per year but is also found in environments with at least 60 mm of rainfall falling each month. It is found in regions with a mean annual temperatures ranging from 13-19°C. The species is somewhat susceptible to frost and it has been reported to be shade intolerant (PIER, 2014).

F. indica is found at a range of altitudes from sea level to as high as 2400 m. It grows on a range of soils including limestone, clayey, sandy and rocky soils (PIER, 2014; PROTA, 2014).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
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])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
30 25

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 13 19
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 41 48
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 4 10

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration09number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall4002000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil reaction

  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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There is little information available with regards to the natural enemies of F. indica. Orwa et al. (2009) state that beetles and larvae of some insects have been known to defoliate the tree, feed on the sap or damage dead wood, but do not state what species. A number of pest species such as Anastrepha suspense, Bactrocera correcta, B. dorsalis and Ceratitis capitata have also been recorded from F. indica (CABI, 2005).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

F. indica can reproduce asexually by producing ramets which enables local dispersal (Pandey and Shukla, 2001).

Vector Transmission

Local distribution of F. indica is aided by dispersal of seeds by birds after eating the red fruits (Datta and Rawat, 2008). Birds have been reported to account for the species wide distribution.

Intentional Introduction

F. indica has a number of desirable properties and a multipurpose species which result in intentional introductions into new areas. Reasons for introductions include for its ornamental and medicinal properties, the production of edible fruit and its palatability to browsing animals. In Hawaii it was planted as a barrier hedge and as a fruit tree (PIER, 2014). Similarly, in the Western Indian Ocean it was likely introduced as a fruit tree (Kueffer et al., 2004).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Digestion and excretionBirds Yes Datta and Rawat, 2008
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes
Hedges and windbreaks Yes PIER, 2014
HorticultureThough not common in Hawaii today, governor's-plum has been planted as a barrier hedge and fruit tre Yes PIER, 2014
Nursery trade Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Host and vector organismsBirds eat seeds and disperse over short distances Yes Datta and Rawat, 2008

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Positive

Economic Impact

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F. indica is a highly valued multipurpose species, particularly in east Africa, south and south east Asia with positive economic and social value. The edible fruits have been reported to be sold in local markets in Kenya and Tanzania (PROTA, 2014) and it has been reported as a source of income in Benin (Tchibozo et al., 2012). In a farmer preference survey in Southern Africa, farmers in Malawi ranked it as the fourth most important species (Franzel et al., 2008). It is highly regarded for its medicinal value, especially in India. 

Environmental Impact

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There is little information available on the environmental impacts of F. indica. This species has been associated with some native species loss in Mauritius where it is known as an environmental weed (Kueffer et al., 2004). It has also been reported a dominant species in forest sites facing high disturbance in India (Pandey and Shukla, 2001). F. indica has been reported to form dense, impenetrable thickets which may inhibit the growth of native plant species (PIER, 2014).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Impact mechanisms

  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Produces spines, thorns or burrs

Impact outcomes

  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species

Invasiveness

  • Abundant in its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Has high genetic variability
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Reproduces asexually

Likelihood of entry/control

  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Social Benefit

F. indica is valued widely for its edible, acidic to sweet fruit. Ripe fruit are eaten fresh or used for preserves, jams, sauces and jellies. The fruits can also be fermented and used to make alcoholic beverages. The leaves are eaten as a vegetable in Madagascar and leaves and bark are thought to be used as flavouring in the making of rum (Burkhill, 1985).

This species also has a wide range of medicinal uses. It is an important ayurvedic drug in India (Kota et al., 2012). The leaves can be used as sedatives and are also useful for asthma and some gynaecological problems. The leaf-sap is used for diarrhoea and infantile fevers. The bark is used as a painkiller and in combination with leaves for naso-pharyngeal affections and pulmonary troubles. A root decoction in combination with the leaf-sap is taken for schistosomiasis, malaria and to relieve body pains. The bark is used for rheumatic pain and as a gargle for hoarseness (Burkhill, 1985; PROTA, 2014).

Environmental Services

In India the branches are lopped for fodder and in a number of places it is planted to form impenetrable hedges or windbreaks. Although slow growing, it responds well to coppicing and is used as a source of firewood.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Boundary, barrier or support

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Fruits

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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F. indica is similar in to the closely related F. jangomas. They can be distinguished from each other by examination of the leaves. F. jangomas has hairless leaves with long pointed tips whereas F. indica has hairly leaves with a rounded/ short-pointed tip (PIER, 2014).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

SPS Measures

In the Miami-Dade county of Florida, planting of F. indica is prohibited (Hunsberger, 2001). 

Control

Physical/Mechanical Control

F. indica is difficult to hand weed because of its tenacious roots from which it readily sprouts (Keuffer and Mauremootoo, 2004). Similarly, mechanical control can be hampered by the thorniness of the plants.

Chemical Control

Herbicides are able to provide effective control of F. indica. Successful application of two herbicides, picloram and glyphosate brushed onto cut stems have been reported in Mauritius (Keuffer and Mauremootoo, 2004). Reddy et al. (1982) reported that the wax content and cuticular transpiration of F. indica decreased after treatment with paraquat and amitrole.

References

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Barbeau G, 1994. Proceedings of the Third Regional Workshop on Tropical Fruits [ed. by Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture]., Trinidad and Tobago 131-134.

Burkhill HM, 1985. The useful plants of west tropical Africa volume 2. Richmond, UK: Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.

CABI, 2005. Forestry Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI.

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01/11/2014 Original text by:

Madeleine Florin, Consultant, The Netherlands

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