Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Breynia disticha
(snowbush)

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Datasheet

Breynia disticha (snowbush)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Breynia disticha
  • Preferred Common Name
  • snowbush
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • B. disticha is considered as an invasive shrub to small tree in USA (Florida and Hawaii), Guinea, The British Indian Ocean Territory, Niue and Cuba (

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Breynia disticha J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.

Preferred Common Name

  • snowbush

Other Scientific Names

  • Breynia axillaris Spreng.
  • Breynia nivosa (W.Bull) Small
  • Melanthesa neocaledonica Baill.
  • Phyllanthus nivosus W.Bull
  • Phyllanthus nivosus W.G.Sm.

International Common Names

  • English: calico plant; dwarf snowbush; dwarf snowflake bonsai; foliage-flower; Hawaiian-leaf flower; ice plant; leaf flower; leaf-flower of the Pacific Islands; old man’s beard; snowbush breynia; snow-on-the-mountain; summer snow; sweet pea bush
  • Spanish: breynia; arbol de nieve; breina
  • French: la neige
  • Portuguese: filanto
  • German: Schneebush

Local Common Names

  • Bahamas: snowbush
  • Bolivia: arbolito de navidad
  • British Indian Ocean Territory: snow bush
  • Cook Islands: kāpaiē; kāvaiē; maemae
  • Cuba: copo de nieve; escarchada; nevada; nieve
  • Dominica: snow-bush
  • Dominican Republic: carnaval; nevado
  • Ecuador: arbolito de navidada
  • Finland: hiutalepensas
  • Haiti: neige
  • Japan: takasago-koban-no-li
  • Micronesia/Pohnpei: katuk
  • Nauru: eomonon
  • New Caledonia: drem
  • Puerto Rico: carnaval
  • Sweden: snöflingebuske
  • Tonga: pepe
  • USA: Hawaiian snow bush; rosy snow bush; snow bush
  • Zimbabwe: snow bush

Summary of Invasiveness

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B. disticha is considered as an invasive shrub to small tree in USA (Florida and Hawaii), Guinea, The British Indian Ocean Territory, Niue and Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012Swearingen and Bargeron, 2016; PIER, 2017). The species invades areas close to where cultivated by root suckers (PIER, 2017). In Cuba it is considered as a transformer species, without further details (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012). It is regarded as an invasive species in Florida-USA by Swearingen and Bargeron (2016), although it is not in the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s list of invasive plant species (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2017). At Dave’s Garden (2017) it is considered by the community as an invasive species in southern Florida, having the ability to spread quickly from roots in damp soils. It is not considered as an invasive species for Florida by Gilman (2014). In Hawaii-USA it has escaped from cultivation and is spreading vegetatively around abandoned homesites in Hawaii (PIER, 2017).

In Guinea, the green-form of B. disticha is considered as an invasive species along the roadsides, in secondary thickets over many hectares, at the edge of a mangrove and in woodlands (Cheek et al., 2013). As its been found in areas with no evidence of former cultivation, apparently spreading through seeds. It has been collected in fruit at one of the sites.

No details about its invasiveness are given for the British Ocean Territory and Niue.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Euphorbiales
  •                         Family: Euphorbiaceae
  •                             Genus: Breynia
  •                                 Species: Breynia disticha

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Breynia, named after Jacob Breyne (Quattrocchi, 1999), includes about 35 species from the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands (Kawakita and Kato, 2004). The genus is conserved against the one published by Linnaeus, which is recognised as a synonym of Capparis (St. John, 1957).

Breynia and other related genera were formerly included in the Euphorbiaceae, but molecular, embryological and morphological data justified the split of the family into Euphorbiaceae s.s., Phyllanthaceae and Picrodendraceae (The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, 2003). Molecular studies concluded that Breynia is nested within the genus Phyllanthus, along with Glochidion, Reverchonia and Sauropus (Wagner and Lorence, 2011; Welzen et al., 2014). Wagner and Laurence (2011) recommended the change of the embedded genera into Phyllanthus, proposing new combinations for the Glochidion of New Zealand. Welzen et al. (2014) advocated against these changes reasoning that an enlarged ‘giant’ Phyllanthus of about 1,300 species would be difficult to work with and needed a considerable amount of new combinations. This report follows The Plant List (2017), which at present recognises Breynia as a distinct genus from Phyllanthus.

Description

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The following description is from PIER (2017):

Monoecious shrubs or small trees, glabrous throughout, the stipules small; leaves along main branches spirally arranged and reduced, distichous along ultimate branchlets, short-petiolate, simple, the blades entire; inflorescences axillary, the lower axils bearing fascicles of 3-many male flowers, the higher axils bearing solitary female flowers, the flowers lacking petals and disk; male flowers with the calyx fleshy, obovoid-turbinate, shortly 6-lobed, the stamens 3, the filaments connate into a column bearing 2-locular anthers apically, these not apiculate; female flowers with the calyx campanulate to cupuliform, 6-lobed or "toothed, persistent and sometimes accrescent, the ovary 3-locular, the walls thickened distally, each locule with 2 ovules, the stigmas small, subulate-dentiform, incurved; fruit a capsule dehiscing into 2-seeded cocci, the seeds with a somewhat fleshy testa, ventrally invaginated.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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B. disticha is widely cultivated as an ornamental in gardens and for hedges in tropical and subtropical areas (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2017; PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017). It is also occasionally used as a potted plant in temperate areas (Dave’s Garden, 2017). The species is reported for Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Oceania (See Distribution Table for details; (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; DAISIE, 2017; Dave’s Garden, 2017; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017; NMNH, 2017; NYBG, 2017; PIER, 2017; Plants of the Eastern Caribbean, 2017; PROTA, 2017; ZipcodeZoo, 2017). Its native range is wrongly reported to include the Lesser Antilles (Plants of the Eastern Caribbean, 2017), or ‘China and the southeast of Asia, through Malesia to Australia, New Caledonia and the New Hebrides’ (PIER, 2017). All other references cite it as only native to New Caledonia and Vanuatu and as cultivated and/or naturalised elsewhere.

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.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

CameroonPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2017)Also cultivated
Congo, Republic of thePresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2017)
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedNeuba et al. (2014)Limited to Abidjan
EgyptPresentIntroducedShaltout et al. (2016)
GhanaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2017)
GuineaPresentIntroducedInvasiveCheek et al. (2013)Forecariah Prefecture
LiberiaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2017)
MozambiquePresentIntroducedPROTA (2017)
NigeriaPresentIntroducedOkokon et al. (2017)
São Tomé and PríncipePresentIntroducedEncyclopedia of Life (2017)
SeychellesPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
South AfricaPresentIntroduced1999Foxcroft et al. (2008)
ZimbabwePresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPROTA (2017)Garden ornamental

Asia

British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)Also cultivated on Diego Garcia Island
ChinaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
Hong KongPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated
JapanPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
-Bonin IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)
MaldivesPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER (2017)
PakistanPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Missouri Botanical Garden (2017)
SingaporePresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated

Europe

BelgiumPresentIntroducedPROTA (2017)
FrancePresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2017)
PortugalPresentIntroducedDAISIE (2017)
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedNaturalizedDAISIE (2017)Naturalized

North America

BahamasPresentIntroducedNYBG (2017)Cat and Crooked Islands
BarbadosPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Plants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)
BelizePresentIntroducedNYBG (2017)
BermudaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1912NYBG (2017)
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Not common. Tortola; Original citation: D’Arcy (1967)
Cayman IslandsPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedNYBG (2017)
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasiveOviedo Prieto et al. (2012); NMNH (2017); NYBG (2017)
DominicaPresentIntroduced1989NaturalizedWhitefoord (1989); Plants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)Naturalized. Edge of scrub woodland near the beach at Douglas Bay
Dominican RepublicPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedNYBG (2017)Distrito Nacional, La Romana, La Vega, Monte Cristi, Peravia, Samaná
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)La Libertad
GuadeloupePresentNativePlants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)
HaitiPresentIntroduced1917NMNH (2017)Port-au-Prince
HondurasPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)
JamaicaPresentIntroduced1915NMNH (2017)
MartiniquePresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Plants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)
MexicoPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedSteinmann (2002)
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Plants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)Saba
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)León, Managua
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced1914NMNH (2017)San Juan, Río Piedras
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Plants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Plants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativePlants of the Eastern Caribbean (2017)
United StatesPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Dave’s Garden (2017)
-CaliforniaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Dave’s Garden (2017)
-FloridaPresentIntroducedInvasiveSwearingen and Bargeron (2016); Small (1910)
-HawaiiPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedInvasiveNYBG (2017); Parker and Parsons (2012); PIER (2017)Oahu
-TexasPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Dave’s Garden (2017)

Oceania

American SamoaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER (2017)
AustraliaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedCABI (Undated)Sidney; Original citation: Dave’s Garden (2017)
-South AustraliaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedForbes et al. (2010)Adelaide Botanic Garden
Christmas IslandPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Northern and Southern Cook Islands
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Kosrae and Pohnpei Islands
-PohnpeiPresentIntroducedFosberg and Oliver (1991)
FijiPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Viti Levu Island
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Austral, Gambier, Marquesas and Society Islands. Tuamotu Archipelago
GuamPresentIntroducedNMNH (2017)
KiribatiPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated
NauruPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated
New CaledoniaPresentNativePIER (2017)Also cultivated
NiuePresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)Also cultivated
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroducedEncyclopedia of Life (2017)
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Rota and Saipan Islands
PalauPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Babeldaob and Koror Islands
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2017)
SamoaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Savaii and Upolu Islands
TongaPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Haapai, Tongatapu and Vavau groups. Tonga Islands
U.S. Minor Outlying IslandsPresentIntroducedEncyclopedia of Life (2017)
VanuatuPresentNativePIER (2017)

South America

BoliviaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)Beni, Santa Cruz. 0-500 m elevation
ColombiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedMurillo (2004)At the Andean and Caribbean regions. Antioquia, Bolivar, Magdalena, Valle del Cauca. 570-1100 m elev
EcuadorPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2017)0-500 m elev
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedPIER (2017)Also cultivated. Isabela, San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz Islands
French GuianaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGillespie (1993)
GuyanaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedNMNH (2017)Guyana Botanical Garden
SurinamePresentIntroducedPROTA (2017)

History of Introduction and Spread

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B. disticha is a shrub to small tree native from New Caledonia and Vanuatu. It has been introduced elsewhere, as an ornamental and a hedge plant, because of its attractive leaf colouration (Dave’s Garden, 2017; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2017; PROTA, 2017). There are reports of the species being present in Cuba since 1904, and at other islands if the Caribbean since the early 1900’s (NMNH, 2017; NYBG, 2017). It was collected at Florida-USA near Miami in 1904 (Small, 1910). Gilman (2014) reported that B. disticha could be planted successfully in the southern parts of California, Florida and Arizona in USA.

In some countries, it is naturalised and spreading aggressively and profusely near areas where cultivated by root suckers (PIER, 2017; Wildlife of Hawaii, 2017). Cheek et al. (2013) consider that there is a high risk that the species will spread by bird dispersion from Guinea to Sierra Leone and from there into all tropical Africa.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
South Africa 1999 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Foxcroft et al. (2008)
USA 1904 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Small (1910) Florida
Bermuda 1912 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No NYBG (2017) Herbarium record of a cultivated plant
Cuba 1904 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No NYBG (2017) Herbarium record of a cultivated plant at La Habana
Dominica 1989 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Whitefoord (1989)
Haiti 1917 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No NMNH (2017) Herbarium record
Jamaica 1915 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No NMNH (2017) Herbarium record
Puerto Rico 1914 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No NMNH (2017) Herbarium record
Pohnpei 1913-14 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Fosberg and Oliver (1991)

Risk of Introduction

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B. disticha has a high risk of introduction into tropical and subtropical humid areas, where there is a high possibility that it could spread outside its cultivation. Potential limiting factors to the distribution of the species are its intolerance to dry conditions and to temperature extremes (Dave’s Garden, 2017; Useful Tropical Plants, 2017). Although the variegated form rarely produces seeds, the green form does produce seeds that are bird dispersed, which creates a high risk of its introduction in tropical Africa (Cheek et al., 2013). As the species is not tolerant to low temperatures, the risk of introduction into temperate areas is low.

Habitat

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B. disticha is reported as growing in sclerophyllous forests, low bushy vegetation, pinelands, edges of hammocks and as uncommon in savannas (Small, 1910; Nicholson and Warner, 1953; Morat et al., 2001; PIER, 2017). It is also reported to occur in holes of calcareous rocks, wet forest, mountains degraded areas, forest edges, rocky plateaus, lowlands, river islands and hills near the sea (PIER, 2017; PROTA, 2017). In Guinea, it is found at roadsides, in secondary thickets over many hectares, at the edge of a mangrove and in woodlands (Cheek et al., 2013). It is also cultivated in urban areas (Dave’s Garden, 2017; PROTA, 2017).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural
Mangroves Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Mangroves Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for B. disticha is 2n=52 (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2017). Most of plants used as ornamentals are cultivars with variegated leaves in various colours that range from green to white, pink and red (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2017).

Reproductive Biology

The principal means of reproduction is vegetatively by cuttings and root suckers (Pérez Montesino et al., 2009-2010; PIER, 2017; Useful Tropical Plants, 2017). Fruits are rarely seen in the variegated cultivated forms, but regularly found in the all-green form (Cheek et al., 2013). The species of Breynia, including B. disticha, are reported to have an obligate pollination mutualism by Epicephala moths (Kawakita and Kato, 2004, 2009; Zhang et al., 2012).

Physiology and Phenology

B. disticha is reported as flowering all year round (Useful Tropical Plants, 2017). It has a fast growth rate (Learn2Grow, 2017).

Environmental Requirements

B disticha grows in all soil types, including serpentine, but prefers well-drained light sandy, loamy fertile soils (Morat et al., 2001; Ingram et al., 2003; PROTA; 2017). The soil pH can be acidic, neutral or alkaline, but will grow best with a pH between 6.1 and 7.8 (PROTA, 2017). The plants will drop their leaves if the temperature drops below 4.4°C, not tolerating temperatures below -6.6°C (Dave’s Garden, 2017; Learn2Grow, 2017). It grows best in partial shade to full sun (Useful Tropical Plants, 2017). The soil needs to be moist all the time. The species does not tolerate droughts and will drop the leaves if the soil gets dry (Dave’s Garden, 2017). B. disticha is reported as not salt tolerant by Gilman (2014), but at the same time being resistant to salty sea air and as growing near mangroves (Cheek et al., 2013; Dave’s Garden, 2017).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
32 -32

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -6.6
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 4 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall460 mm2500 mmmm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Epicephala Herbivore not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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B. disticha is not susceptible to major pests and diseases; caterpillars and mites being reported as sometimes affecting the species (Gilman, 2014). Insect species reported for the species are Epicephala spp. and Melanchroia chephise (Caldwell, 2007; Zhang et al., 2012).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

B. disticha can spread quickly in damp soils, mainly from root suckers (Dave’s Garden, 2017).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

B. disticha is reported as being dispersed by birds in Guinea by Cheek et al. (2013).

Intentional Introduction

The species is being used as an ornamental worldwide (Dave’s Garden, 2017).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoos Yes Yes Forbes et al., 2010; NMNH, 2017
Breeding and propagationSeeds, cuttings and suckers are used for its propagation at various nurseries Yes Yes
Digestion and excretionReported as possibly dispersed by birds Yes Cheek et al., 2013
DisturbanceDisturbed areas near where cultivated Yes PIER, 2017; Wildlife of Hawaii, 2017
Escape from confinement or garden escapeSpreading by root suckers near areas where cultivated Yes PIER, 2017; Wildlife of Hawaii, 2017
Garden waste disposalPossibly, as it can reproduce by seeds, cuttings and root suckers Yes
Hedges and windbreaks Yes Yes Dave’s Garden, 2017
HorticultureWidely used as an ornamental Yes Yes Dave’s Garden, 2017; Useful Tropical Plants, 2017
Internet salesAvailable over the internet locally and internationally Yes
Medicinal useEthnobotanical uses are reported Yes Okokon et al., 2015
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Dave’s Garden, 2017

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesPossible from its ornamental use Yes Yes
MailAvailable for sale over the internet Yes Yes ,
Soil, sand and gravelPossible from its ornamental use Yes Yes ,

Impact Summary

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

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

B. disticha is regarded in Cuba as a transformer species, causing changes in the habitats, without further details (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012). It is growing near an intact forest in Guinea, which contains rare and endangered species (Cheek et al., 2013).

Impact on Biodiversity

B. disticha is spreading profusely near areas where cultivated at Hawaii-USA. Although no further details are given, it is highly likely the species is impacting the habitats and the native vegetation (Wildlife of Hawaii, 2017). The species’ ability to colonise and persist in secondary forests is a concern in Africa, as it could threaten native species by outcompeting and displacing them (Cheek et al., 2013). It is found only 200 m from an intact forest in Guinea, that contains rare species and the endangered Tarenna hutchinsonii.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Tarenna hutchinsoniiNo DetailsGuineaCompetition - monopolizing resourcesCheek et al., 2013 IUCN red list

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value

B. disticha, especially in its variegated form, is used extensively as an ornamental and a hedge plant (Useful Tropical Plants; 2017).

Social Benefit

B. disticha recommended uses are as an ornamental, in hedges, as potted plants for indoor areas, as a border, and cascading down walls (Gilman, 2014). It is not suitable for temperate areas, where it needs to be placed indoors during the winter (Dave’s Garden, 2017). It is also used as a bonsai (PROTA, 2017).

It is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of malaria, headaches, toothaches and tooth infections (Okokon et al., 2015, 2017). Extracts of the species have shown blood glucose lowering activities (Ezekwesili and Ogbunugafor, 2015). The species also have reported antioxidant, antimicrobial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities (Okokon et al., 2015; Sulayman and Tougeer, 2015).

Environmental Services

Species of Breynia, including B. disticha, have pollination mutualistic relationships with Epicephala species. The female moths have evolved specialised proboscides to collect and transport pollen between flowers. They lay eggs in the flowers and the larvae feed on some of the developing seeds (Kawakita and Kato, 2009). B. disticha is also reported as a caterpillar food plant, but no further details are provided (Flora and Fauna Web, 2017).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Physical/Mechanical Control

B. disticha is not easy to control, the plants need to be dug out with the roots intact and then burned (Cheek et al., 2013).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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According to Cheek et al. (2013) further work is needed to map and study the range, biology and persistence of the species in Africa. Also needed is information on the reproduction and pollination mechanisms outside the native range.

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Caldwell, D. L., 2007. Caterpillar outbreaks: defoliation by the royal poinciana caterpillar (Melipotis acontioides) and the snowbush caterpillar (Melanchroia chephise) in Naples, Florida. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 120, 360-362. http://journals.fcla.edu/fshs/article/view/86254

Cheek, M., Challen, G., Merklinger, F., Molmou, D., 2013. Breynia disticha, a new invasive alien for tropical Africa. Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin, (No.33), 32-34. http://www.issg.org/pdf/aliens_newsletters/A33.pdf

DAISIE, 2017. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. In: Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe . http://www.europe-aliens.org/

D'Arcy, W. G., 1967. Annotated checklist of the dicotyledons of Tortola, Virgin Islands. Rhodora, 69(780), 385-450.

Dave's Garden, 2017. Dave's Garden. In: Dave's Garden El Segundo, California, USA: Internet Brands.http://davesgarden.com

Encyclopedia of Life, 2017. Encyclopedia of Life. In: Encyclopedia of Life . http://www.eol.org

Ezekwesili, C. N., Ogbunugafor, H. A., 2015. Blood glucose lowering activity of five Nigerian medicinal plants in alloxan-induced diabetic Wistar albino rats. Animal Research International, 12(2), 2150-2158. http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ari/article/view/130559

Flora and Fauna Web, 2017. Flora and Fauna Web. https://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg/

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Fosberg, F. R., Oliver, R. L., 1991. C.L. Ledermann’s collection of flowering plants from the Caroline Islands. Willdenowia, 20(1/2), 257-314.

Foxcroft, C. L., Richardson, D. M., Wilson, J. R. U., 2008. Ornamental plants as Invasive Aliens: Problems and Solutions in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Environmental Management, 41, 32-51.

Gillespie, L. J., 1993. Euphorbiaceae of the Guianas: annotated species checklist and key to the genera. Brittonia, 45(1), 56-94. doi: 10.2307/2806862

Gilman, E. F., 2014. Breynia disticha Fact Sheet FPS-73. Florida, USA: University of Florida, Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS.http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

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Kawakita, A., Kato, M., 2004. Obligate pollination mutualism in Breynia (Phyllanthaceae): further documentation of pollination mutualism involving Epicephala moths (Gracillariidae). American Journal of Botany, 91, 1319-1325 .

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Learn2Grow, 2017. Breynia disticha. http://www.learn2grow.com/plants/breynia-disticha-f-nivosa-roseo-picta/

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NYBG, 2017. New York Botanical Garden database. http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/vh/

Okokon, J. E., Davis, K., Azare, B. A., 2015. Antimalarial activities of Breynia nivosa. Journal of Herbal Drugs, 5(4), 168-172.

Okokon, J. E., Okokon, P. J. , Sahal, D., 2017. In vitro antiplasmodial activity of some medicinal plants from Nigeria. International Journal of Herbal Medicine, 5(5), 102-109.

Oviedo Prieto, R., Herrera Oliver, P., Caluff, M. G., et al., 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

Parker, J. I., Parsons, B., 2012. New plant records from the Big Island for 2010-2011. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers, 113, 65-74.

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Small, J. K., 1910. Additions to the flora of Peninsular Florida. II. Naturalized species. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 37(10), 513-518.

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Steinmann, V. W., 2002. Diversity and endemism in the family Euphorbiaceae in Mexico. (Diversidad y endemismo de la familia Euphorbiaceae en México). Acta Botanica Mexicana, (No.61), 61-93.

Sulayman, A., Touqeer, S., 2015. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of Breynia disticha and Vernonia elaeagnifolia. Journal of Applied Pharmacy, 7(3), 178-182.

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Whitefoord, C. , 1989. Recent plant collections from Dominica. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 70(1), 143-152.

Wildlife of Hawaii, 2017. Wildlife of Hawaii. Breynia disticha - snowbush. https://wildlifeofhawaii.com/flowers/1283/breynia-disticha-snowbush/

Zhang Jing, Wang ShuXia, Li HouHun, Hu BingBing, Yang XiaoFei, Wang ZhiBo, 2012. Diffuse coevolution between two Epicephala species (Gracillariidae) and two Breynia species (Phyllanthaceae). PLoS ONE, 7(7), e41657. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0041657 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041657

ZipcodeZoo, 2017. Breynia disticha. http://zipcodezoo.com/index.php/Breynia_disticha

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Cheek M, Challen G, Merklinger F, Molmou D, 2013. Breynia disticha, a new invasive alien for tropical Africa. Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin. 32-34. http://www.issg.org/pdf/aliens_newsletters/A33.pdf

DAISIE, 2017. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. In: Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. http://www.europe-aliens.org/

Encyclopedia of Life, 2017. Encyclopedia of Life. In: Encyclopedia of Life. http://www.eol.org

Forbes S, Sandham J, Meredith S, Barker W R B, Lowe A, Ainsley P, Jusaitis M, Pitman S, Christensen T, Andrews T, Fidler N, Winter P, Hatcher R, Sawtell C, 2010. Catalogue of Plants 2010: Adelaide, Mount Lofty and Wittunga Botanic Gardens. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. 2 (Supplement), 1-297.

Fosberg F R, Oliver R L, 1991. C.L. Ledermann’s collection of flowering plants from the Caroline Islands. Willdenowia. 20 (1/2), 257-314.

Foxcroft C L, Richardson D M, Wilson J R U, 2008. Ornamental plants as Invasive Aliens: Problems and Solutions in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Environmental Management. 32-51.

Gillespie L J, 1993. Euphorbiaceae of the Guianas: annotated species checklist and key to the genera. Brittonia. 45 (1), 56-94. DOI:10.2307/2806862

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2017. Tropicos database., St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Murillo A J, 2004. (Las Euphorbiaceae de Colombia). Biota Colombiana. 5 (2), 183-200.

Neuba D F R, Malan D F, Koné M, Kouadio Y L, 2014. Preliminary inventory of invasive plants in Côte d'Ivoire. (Inventaire préliminaire des plantes envahissantes de la Côte d'Ivoire.). Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences (JAPS). 22 (2), 3439-3445. http://www.m.elewa.org/JAPS/2014/22.2/3.pdf

NMNH, 2017. National Museum of Natural History. http://naturalhistory.si.edu/

NYBG, 2017. New York Botanical Garden database. http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/vh/

Okokon J E, Okokon P J, Sahal D, 2017. In vitro antiplasmodial activity of some medicinal plants from Nigeria. International Journal of Herbal Medicine. 5 (5), 102-109.

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

Parker J I, Parsons B, 2012. New plant records from the Big Island for 2010-2011. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 65-74.

PIER, 2017. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Plants of the Eastern Caribbean, 2017. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/

PROTA, 2017. PROTA4U web database. In: PROTA4U web database. Wageningen and Nairobi, Netherlands\Kenya: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. https://www.prota4u.org/database/

Shaltout K H, Ali H I, Mobarak A A, Baraka D M, Aly H A, 2016. Variations in floristic composition of wild and cultivated species associated with Moringa oleifera Lam. in Egypt. Taeckholmia. 136-157.

Small J K, 1910. Additions to the flora of Peninsular Florida. II. Naturalized species. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 37 (10), 513-518.

Steinmann V W, 2002. Diversity and endemism in the family Euphorbiaceae in Mexico. (Diversidad y endemismo de la familia Euphorbiaceae en México.). Acta Botanica Mexicana. 61-93.

Swearingen J, Bargeron C, 2016. Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. In: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. Tifton, Georgia, USA: University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health. http://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/

Whitefoord C, 1989. Recent plant collections from Dominica. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. 70 (1), 143-152.

ZipcodeZoo, 2017. Breynia disticha. http://zipcodezoo.com/index.php/Breynia_disticha

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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07/01/2018 Original text by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

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