Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Senna occidentalis
(coffee senna)

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Datasheet

Senna occidentalis (coffee senna)

Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Senna occidentalis (coffee senna); leaves, flowers and fruits.
TitleLeaves, flowers and fruits
CaptionSenna occidentalis (coffee senna); leaves, flowers and fruits.
Copyright©Kurt G. Kissmann
Senna occidentalis (coffee senna); leaves, flowers and fruits.
Leaves, flowers and fruitsSenna occidentalis (coffee senna); leaves, flowers and fruits.©Kurt G. Kissmann

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Senna occidentalis (L.) Link

Preferred Common Name

  • coffee senna

Other Scientific Names

  • Cassia caroliniana Walter
  • Cassia ciliata Raf.
  • Cassia falcata L.
  • Cassia foetida Pers.
  • Cassia laevigata sensu auct..
  • Cassia macradenia Colladon
  • Cassia obliquifolia Schrank
  • Cassia occidentalis L.
  • Cassia planisiliqua L.
  • Cassia plumieri DC.
  • Ditremexa occidentalis (L.) Britton & Wilson

International Common Names

  • English: Negro coffee; septicweed; wild French guava
  • Spanish: bricho; caffecillo; frijolillo; guanina; mezquitillo; rematilla; taperiba
  • French: bentamaré; café bâtard; café des noirs; café nège; casse-café; cassie puante; herbe puante
  • Chinese: jue ming zi; wang jiang nan
  • Portuguese: cana fista; cana fistula

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: cafeíllo; cafetón
  • Australia: ant bush; arsenic bean
  • Bolivia: mamuri
  • Brazil: fedegosa; fedegoso; mata pasta; mata patinho; paramarioba
  • Cambodia: phak ngot; sânndaèk khmaôch
  • Colombia: aya-poroto; café de bonpland; hedionda
  • Cuba: sen; yerba hedionda
  • East Africa: mnuka uvundo; mwingajini
  • Ethiopia: assenmeka; hawacho; karrarate
  • Germany: Stink- Kassie
  • Guam: amot-tumaga
  • India: arimarda; bari kasondi; gajarság; hant-thenga; kasamarda; kasivda; kasondi; mattantakara; nattam takarai; payaverai; rankasvinda; ran-takda; vimarda
  • Indonesia: kasingsat; kopi andelan; menting
  • Jamaica: piss-a-bed; stinking weed; wild coffee
  • Japan: habuso
  • Korea, Republic of: soggjolmjong
  • Mauritius: casse puante
  • Mexico: bataban; candelilla chica; cornezuelo; frijol cimarrón; frijol del monte; frijolillo; habilla bicho; vainillo
  • Peru: achuporoto; retamilla
  • Philippines: andadasi; balatong aso; duda; kabal-kabalan; katangan-aso; tambalisa
  • Puerto Rico: casia; casia glauca; hedionda
  • Seychelles: casse puante; stinking weed
  • South Africa: Ikhoshokhosho; isinyembane; stinking weed; umnwanda-nyoka; wild coffee
  • Tanzania: komanguku; kundekunde; mwitanzoka; omwetanjoka; segusse
  • Trinidad and Tobago: negro coffee; wild coffee
  • Uganda: etiatia; kasagaly ansasi; kwiniini omuganda; mutanjoka; mwitanzoka; namaseze; omuhanga

EPPO code

  • CASOC (Cassia occidentalis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. occidentalis is an annual to short lived perennial herb to small shrub with a pantropical distribution (PROTA, 2016). It is reported as invasive throughout Oceania, and various countries in Asia and Africa, where is reported as introduced (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016; PIER, 2016). Within its native range S. occidentalis is listed as invasive for Cuba by Oviedo Prieto et al. (2012).

This species is recognised as an invasive herb or a problematic weed that affects crops and plantations all over its range (PIER, 2016). For example, in the Northern Territory, Australia, it is a class B declared weed, i.e. spread to be controlled in all of the Territory (Flanagan, 1998). This weed is a problem in seven states of the USA and is increasing in eight others (Teem et al., 1980). Its ability to colonize a wide range of climatic and edaphic conditions is epitomized by its occurrence in East Africa where it is found at altitudes of 0-1740 metres above sea level (Brenan, 1967). Though probably less important than the related weeds, S. obtusifolia and S. tora, S. occidentalis has the potential to become a weed of more widespread significance. In the USA it is on the regulated invasive list for Florida (Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States, 2016).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
  •                                 Genus: Senna
  •                                     Species: Senna occidentalis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The original genus name Cassia applied by Linnaeus is from the Greek 'kasia', derived by Dioscorides (first century AD) from the Hebrew 'quetsi'oth', denoting 'fragrant shrubs'; occidentalis is Latin, meaning 'of the west', indicating that the plant is a native of the western hemisphere, principally the Americas (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

There were over 600 species of the genus Cassia before its division into three separate genera, Cassia, Chamaecrista and Senna (Robertson, 1989). Cassia occidentalis L.was transferred to the genus Senna and is now accepted as Senna occidentalis. According to numerical cluster analysis of seed proteins, Cassia occidentalis was placed within the subgenus Senna by Ghareeb et al. (1999). Likewise, the common weeds Cassia obtusifolia  and C.tora are also now known as Senna obtusifolia and S. tora, respectively. The taxonomic significance of foliar epidermal features (stomata, epidermal cells and trichomes) of S. occidentalis and related species are described by Barukial et al. (1993) and Kotresha and Seetharam (2000). However, references to many Senna spp. as Cassia spp. are still found in the literature to the present day.

Description

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The morphology of S. occidentalis as described by Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992) for Australia and Henderson (2001) for South Africa, closely matches that given for the plant in other parts of the world. It is a low growing, sparsely branching annual or short-lived perennial plant up to 0.5-2 m high and having a characteristic foetid odour. The stems are reddish purple, erect, 4-angled when young, becoming rounded with age. The plant has a robust primary root with several laterals. The leaves are pale green on reddish stalks; alternate, pinnate, with 3-5 (sometimes 6) pairs of opposite ovate to lanceolate-elliptic leaflets, 25-100 mm long, 20-30 mm wide, rounded at the base. A conspicuous, dark-coloured gland occurs at the base of the petiole (leaf stalk) but not on the stalks of the leaflets. The flowers are pale to bright yellow, 20-30 mm in diameter, in 2-6 flowered axils of the upper leaves; sepals are red veined; 5 petals per flower, the 2 anterior ones are smaller than the others; fertile stamens 6, the two basal ones longer than the rest, 4 infertile stamens are reduced to tiny petal-like staminodes. Further descriptions of the floral anatomy of S. occidentalis and nine other species of Cassia are given by Chhavi-Thakur and Thakur (1988). The fruit is a dark brown, flattened, sickle-shaped pod with paler stripes along the edges when mature. Pods are 75-130 mm long, 8-10 mm wide, containing a single row of 25-35 seeds. The seeds are dark brown, flattened, hard, 5 mm long and 3 mm wide.

Plant Type

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Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Woody

Distribution

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S. occidentalis has a pantropical distribution and probably originated in tropical America (Encyclopedia of Life, 2016). The species is now found in Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, the Caribbean, South America and Oceania (See Distribution Table for details; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; PROSEA, 2016; PROTA, 2016; PIER, 2016; Royal Museum for Central Africa, 2016).

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

BangladeshPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
BhutanPresentIntroducedGrierson and Long, 1987; USDA-ARS, 2016
British Indian Ocean TerritoryPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
CambodiaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; ILDIS, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2016
Chagos ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Diego García Island
ChinaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Hong KongPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; PIER, 2016
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroducedPIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
IndiaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; IRRI, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroducedRao, 1987
-GujaratPresentIntroduced Invasive Patel and Yadav, 1991
-LakshadweepPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
-SikkimPresentIntroducedGrierson and Long, 1987
IndonesiaWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; ILDIS, 2002
-Irian JayaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2016
-JavaPresentIntroducedBacker, 1936; USDA-ARS, 2016
-KalimantanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
-MoluccasPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
-Nusa TenggaraPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
-SumatraPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
IranPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2016
IraqPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; USDA-ARS, 2016
IsraelPresentIntroduced Invasive Joel and Liston, 1986
JapanPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
-Bonin IslandPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
Korea, Republic ofWidespreadIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
LaosPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
LebanonPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
MaldivesPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
NepalPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalised.
PakistanPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; Moody et al., 1984; PIER, 2016
QatarPresentIntroduced Not invasive Flora of Qatar, 2016
Saudi ArabiaRestricted distributionIntroducedChaudhary and Akram, 1987
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
TaiwanPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2002; Taiwan Invasive Species Database, 2016
ThailandPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
VietnamPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979; IRRI, 1989
YemenPresentIntroducedChaudhary and Revri, 1983; Walkey et al., 1994

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroducedPrista et al., 1959
BeninPresentIntroducedRoyal Museum for Central Africa, 2016
BotswanaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedRoyal Museum for Central Africa, 2016
BurundiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
CameroonPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
ChadPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
ComorosPresentILDIS, 2002
CongoPresentIntroducedRoyal Museum for Central Africa, 2016
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958
DjiboutiPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
EgyptPresentIntroducedHassan et al., 1974
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedWalkey et al., 1994; Bufebo et al., 2016
GabonPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
GambiaPresentIntroducedJones, 1994
GhanaPresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958; Holm et al., 1979
GuineaPresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958
Guinea-BissauPresentIntroducedPrista et al., 1959
KenyaPresentIntroducedBrenan, 1967; Holm et al., 1979; BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016
LiberiaPresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958
LibyaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
MadagascarPresentIntroducedRoyal Museum for Central Africa, 2016
MalawiPresentIntroducedBinns, 1968
MaliPresentHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedRoyal Museum for Central Africa, 2016
MauritiusPresentIntroducedRochecouste and Vaughan, 1959; Holm et al., 1979
MayottePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
MozambiquePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016
NamibiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
NigerPresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958
NigeriaPresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958; Holm et al., 1979
RéunionPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
Rodriguez IslandPresentIntroducedRoyal Museum for Central Africa, 2016
RwandaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2002
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentIntroducedPrista et al., 1959
SenegalPresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958; Berhaut, 1967; Holm et al., 1979
SeychellesPresentIntroduced Invasive Robertson, 1989; PIER, 2016Cousin Island
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedHutchinson and Dalziel, 1958
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henderson, 2001; Invasive Species South Africa, 2016Invasive in the Provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and ZwaZulu-Natal
SudanPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979
SwazilandPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedBrenan, 1967; Holm et al., 1979; BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016
-ZanzibarPresentIntroducedBrenan, 1967; Brenan, 1967
-ZanzibarPresentIntroducedBrenan, 1967; Brenan, 1967
TogoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016
UgandaPresentIntroducedBrenan, 1967; Holm et al., 1979; BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016
ZambiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1979

North America

MexicoPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; USDA-ARS, 2016Campeche, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán
USAPresentHolm et al., 1979
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced Invasive Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992; USDA-NRCS, 2002
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-FloridaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-ARS, 2016As a problem and increasing weed
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979; USDA-NRCS, 2002; PIER, 2016
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-IndianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-IowaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-KansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-NRCS, 2002As a problem and increasing weed
-MississippiPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-ARS, 2016As a problem and increasing weed
-MissouriPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-ARS, 2016As a problem and increasing weed
-OklahomaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-ARS, 2016As a problem and increasing weed
-TennesseePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-TexasPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-ARS, 2016As a problem and increasing weed
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Teem et al., 1980; USDA-ARS, 2016As a problem and increasing weed

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Antigua and BarbudaPresentFournet and Hammerton, 1991
BahamasPresentNativeILDIS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BelizePresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Anegada, Guana Island, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
Cayman IslandsPresentNativeILDIS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Costa RicaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
CubaPresentHolm et al., 1979; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
DominicaPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeILDIS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
GrenadaPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentFournet and Hammerton, 1991
GuatemalaPresentNativeCaceras et al., 1991; USDA-ARS, 2016
HaitiPresentNativeILDIS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
JamaicaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; USDA-ARS, 2016
MartiniquePresentFournet and Hammerton, 1991
MontserratPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
NicaraguaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
PanamaPresentNativeILDIS, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2016
Puerto RicoPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; USDA-NRCS, 2002; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012Desecheo, Icacos, Mona, Vieques
SabaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; USDA-ARS, 2016
Saint LuciaPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; USDA-ARS, 2016
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeFournet and Hammerton, 1991; USDA-ARS, 2016
Trinidad and TobagoPresentHolm et al., 1979; Fournet and Hammerton, 1991
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; ILDIS, 2002; USDA-ARS, 2016
BoliviaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; ILDIS, 2002
BrazilPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
-AlagoasPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-AmapaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-AmazonasPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-BahiaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-CearaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Fernando de NoronhaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-GoiasPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-MaranhaoPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-ParaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-ParaibaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-PernambucoPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-PiauiPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-RondoniaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-Sao PauloPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-SergipePresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
-TocantinsPresentNativeLorenzi, 1982
ColombiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016
EcuadorPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
-Galapagos IslandsPresentNativePIER, 2016
French GuianaPresentNativeILDIS, 2002
GuyanaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016Alto Paraguay, Amambay, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Central, Cordillera, Guaira, Neenbucu, Paraguari, Oresidente Hayes
PeruPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
SurinamePresentNativeHolm et al., 1979
UruguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2016Artigas, Montevideo, Paysandu, Río Negro, Salto, Soriano
VenezuelaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Manu’a Island
AustraliaPresent Invasive Holm et al., 1979
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresent Invasive Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992; Flanagan, 1998
-QueenslandPresent Invasive Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992; Flanagan, 1998
-South AustraliaPresentIntroducedAtlas of Living Australia, 2016
-VictoriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
-Western AustraliaPresent Invasive Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced Not invasive ILDIS, 2002; PIER, 2016Ma’uke Island
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2002; PIER, 2016Lakemba, Ovalua, Taveuni and Viti Islands
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016Invasive in the Tuanotu Archipielago, the Austral, Marquesas and Society Islands
GuamPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Also cultivated
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Invasive in Fais, Kosrae and Pohnpei Islands
NauruPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2002; PIER, 2016
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Loyalty Islands, Ile Tiga, Ile Grande Terre. Also cultivated
NiuePresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2002; PIER, 2016
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive ILDIS, 2002; PIER, 2016Agrigan, Alamagan, Pagan, Rota, Saipan, Sarigan, Tinian Islands
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016Angaur, Babeldaob, Kayangel, Koror, Malakal Islands. Also cultivated
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016Bismark Archipielago, New Guinea Island
Pitcairn IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
SamoaPresentIntroducedWhistler, 1983; Sauerborn and Sauerborn, 1984; ILDIS, 2002
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive Whistler, 1983; PIER, 2016
TuvaluPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2016
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2016

History of Introduction and Spread

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Little is published on the introduction of S. occidentalis, but its potential to spread is indicated by the fact that in 1980 it was reported as being a problem weed in seven states of the USA and an increasing problem in eight states (Teem et al., 1980). It is reported by PROSEA (2016) to have had a trade of its seeds and medicinal products between Africa and Europe, without further details. The site also reports current local trade in Asia, again, without further information. It is reported as present in Africa since the 1800’s (PROTA, 2016) and in Madagascar since the 1950’s (Kull et al., 2014). It was first detected in China in the sixteenth century, with an intentional introduction in farmlands and disturbed sites and forests; currently it is reported for ten provinces (Xu et al., 2012)

S. occidentalis has also been used in the diet of the Maldives for centuries (Encyclopedia of Life, 2016).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Angola 1853 Yes No PROTA (2016)
Mozambique 1853 Yes No PROTA (2016)
Madagascar 1950 Medicinal use (pathway cause) Yes No Kull et al. (2014) Introduced to the Alaotra area and soon became part of local pharmacopeia

Risk of Introduction

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The worldwide distribution of S. occidentalis from its tropical American origins is indicative that it is readily spread, aided by man, both intentionally and accidentally (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992; PIER, 2016). It is considered to have a high risk of introduction, with the capacity to become established in many tropical and subtropical habitats.

Habitat

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S. occidentalis is a weed of the humid tropics and subtropics, principally on silts and sands, becoming a weed on roadsides, in arable lands, degraded pastures and waste places (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). It is also recorded from lakeshores in East Africa (Brenan, 1967), riverbanks and coastal sand flats in South Africa (Henderson, 2001) and gardens in the Solomon Islands. In East Africa, it occurs at altitudes of 0-1740 m above sea level (Brenan, 1967). It is also found around urban areas, open fields, plantations, sand dunes, ditches and seasonally wet depressions (PIER, 2016; PROSEA, 2016). In the USA it has a facultative, facultative upland and upland Wetland Indicator Status (USDA-NRCS, 2015).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) 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 Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Deserts Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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S. occidentalis is commonly cited as a weed of soyabean, groundnut, cotton and pastures (Teem et al., 1980). However, its distribution indicates that it is likely to occur as part of the mixed weed flora of many annual crops in the tropics and subtropics (PROSEA, 2016; PROTA, 2016)..

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeMain
Colocasia esculenta (taro)AraceaeMain
Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeMain
Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain

Growth Stages

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List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Cardiovascular Signs / Tachycardia, rapid pulse, high heart rate Sign
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sign
General Signs / Abnormal proprioceptive positioning, knuckling Sign
General Signs / Ataxia, incoordination, staggering, falling Sign
General Signs / Dysmetria, hypermetria, hypometria Sign
General Signs / Exercise intolerance, tires easily Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Sign
General Signs / Inability to stand, downer, prostration Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Sign
General Signs / Paraparesis, weakness, paralysis both hind limbs Sign
General Signs / Reluctant to move, refusal to move Sign
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Sign
General Signs / Tetraparesis, weakness, paralysis all four limbs Sign
General Signs / Trembling, shivering, fasciculations, chilling Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sign
Nervous Signs / Tremor Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Sign
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sign
Urinary Signs / Haemoglobinuria or myoglobinuria Sign
Urinary Signs / Red or brown urine, pink Sign

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for S. occidentalis is 2n=28(26) (PROSEA, 2016). Seeds are preserved at various institutions, including the USDA-ARS and the Millennium Seed Bank (Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016). DNA barcode information for the species is available at the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS, 2016).

Reproductive Biology

Abrasion of the hard seed coat for 5, 10 or 15 seconds, pricking with a needle or treating with sulphuric acid are effective in initiating germination. In pot trials, three days after sowing, 32% of the S. occidentalis seedlings emerged from a soil depth of 2.5 cm and 8% emerged from 10.2 cm. After nine days, there was emergence from 12.7 cm (Teem et al., 1978; 1980). In northern Australia, most seeds germinate at the beginning of the wet season but some may germinate at any time of the year, provided moisture is available. Optimum germination occurs at 25°C and pH 6 (Norsworthy and Olivera, 2005), decreasing with an alkaline pH.

Physiology and Phenology

Circadian rhythmic leaf movement occurs in S. occidentalis which appears to be under endogenous control (Andersen and Koukkari, 1979). Evidence for the presence of root nodulation by Rhizobium is contradictory. Banados and Fernandez (1954) state that nodulation occurs on S. occidentalis, but this is disputed by Rao et al. (1973) who claim that fresh root extracts from non-nodulating S. occidentalis can inhibit Rhizobium strains isolated from six species of nodulating herbaceous legumes. Young plants, the first true leaves of which consist only of two pairs of leaflets, develop rapidly, attaining a height of one metre in a few weeks. A few plants in warm moist situations may continue to grow for another season (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

S. occidentalis is reported to produce flowers throughout the year under favourable warm, humid conditions; and to flower in midsummer and autumn at temperate climates (PROSEA, 2016).

Longevity

S. occidentalis grows as an annual in temperate climates where it dies at the beginning of the cold season. It grows for 2-3 years in warm and humid conditions (PROSEA, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

In laboratory tests, S. occidentalis germinated over a wide range of temperatures from 15°C to 36°C with the optimum being 24-36°C (Teem et al., 1978; 1980). Germination was substantially reduced at 30°C by fungal attack (Rhizopus sp.). This weed is highly tolerant of acid soils in the range of pH 4.7 to 6.3 (Buchanan et al., 1975), but can grow in soils with a pH of up to 8.4 (PROTA, 2016). It is also tolerant of low soil phosphorus (Hoveland et al., 1976).

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
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred 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)
34 46 0 1740

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 23 32
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 33
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10 19

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration5number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall9001800mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Summer

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Caryedon pallidus Herbivore Seeds
Caryedon patialensis Herbivore Fruits/pods
Catopsilia pyranthe Herbivore Leaves
Pseudocercospora sieberiana Pathogen Leaves
Ramularia cassiae Pathogen
Uredo cassiae Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Many organisms occur as natural enemies of S. occidentalis, some examples of which are given below. Viruses include Bean Common Mosaic Virus (Spence and Walkey, 1995), Cassia Severe Mosaic Virus (Walkey, 1992; Walkey et al., 1994), Soybean Mosaic Virus (Singh and Gupta, 1996) and White Clover Mosaic Virus (Joshi et al., 1981). Fungi include Colletotrichum dematium f. truncata [Colletotrichum truncatum] (Gudauskas et al., 1977) and four new species found on S. occidentalis requiring confirmation, Pseudocercospora sieberiana (Ram and Mallaiah, 1992), Ramularia cassiae (Zhang et al., 2002), Uredo cassiae (Rao, 1987) and a ringspot mosaic disease (Mathur and Singh, 1972). Arthropods include Caryedon pallidus (Lienard et al., 1992), Caryedon patialensis (Tarlok Singh and Saini, 1978) and Catopsilia pyranthe (Khatri and Amardeep, 1990; Patel and Yadav, 1991; Ooi, 2000), and the nematode Meloidogyne javanica has been reported (Haseeb and Khan, 1983). Ants and pentatomid insects have also been reported feeding on flower parts (Shaukat and Siddiqui, 2007).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

The seeds of S. occidentalis have no specific dispersal mechanism and are spread mainly in water flow over the soil surface, especially flood waters (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Although the plant is reported as poisonous to animals, seeds are reported as dispersed in livestock dung (PIER, 2016).

Accidental Introduction

Seeds of S. occidentalis can be spread in mud sticking to animal hooves, footwear, farm machinery and other vehicles (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). A small number of seeds of S. occidentalis may be spread as contaminants in agricultural produce such as hay and grain (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Digestion and excretionReported as dispersed in livestock dung Yes PIER, 2016
Garden waste disposalReported as a garden weed so possibly dispersed with garden waste Yes PIER, 2016
HitchhikerAs contaminants in agricultural produce such as hay and grain Yes Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
Medicinal useTraded for the seeds and medicinal purposes between Africa and Europe Yes Yes PROSEA, 2016
Off-site preservation Seeds preserved at various sites, including the USDA-ARS and the Millennium Seed Bank Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2016
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes PROTA, 2016
Seed tradeSeeds were traded between Africa and Europe Yes PROSEA, 2016

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Land vehiclesTractors and farm vehicles Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
Plants or parts of plantsFodder Yes Yes
Soil, sand and gravel Yes Yes
Clothing, footwear and possessionsIn mud sticking to footwear Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
Machinery and equipmentIn mud sticking to machinery Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
WaterIn water flow over the soil surface Yes Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Leaves seeds Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
True seeds (inc. grain) seeds

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production Negative
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Forestry production None
Human health Positive and negative
Livestock production Negative
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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The seeds of S. occidentalis contain compounds that damage the liver, vascular system, heart and lungs of domestic livestock. Symptoms of poisoning include myopathy, muscle tremors, uncoordinated gait, tachycardia, dyspnoea, diarrhoea and pulmonary emphysema which lead to the death of cattle (Schmitz and Denton, 1977; Rogers et al., 1979; Barros et al., 1999), horses (Martin et al., 1981; Irigoyen et al., 1991; Riet-Correa et al., 1998), goats (Suliman et al., 1982; Suliman and Shommein, 1986), pigs (Colvin et al., 1986; Martins et al., 1986), poultry (Torres et al., 1971; Haraguchi et al., 1998) and rabbits (O'Hara and Pierce, 1974).

S. occidentalis harms crops by being an alternative host to diseases such as Potato Virus Y (Suteri et al., 1979). It can also harm crops directly by competing for nutrients, water and light; for example, field experiments in cotton have shown that with season-long competition, each increase of S. occidentalis plants in a 7.5 m row can reduce seed cotton yield by 9-117 kg/ha. Each additional week of competition from a dense infestation of S. occidentalis (40 plants/m of row) can reduce seed cotton yield by 118 kg/ha and cotton main stem height by 1.25 cm (Higgins et al., 1986).

Social Impact

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S. occidentalis is recognised by some Brazilian indigenous groups as being contraindicated for pregnancy, with abortive properties (Rodrigues, 2007).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally

Uses

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S. occidentalis is used as a coffee substitute in Egypt and elsewhere despite reports that the seeds are toxic to cattle (Rogers et al., 1979). Heating of the seeds apparently removes toxicity (PROSEA, 2016). Seeds also used to prepare teas (PROTA, 2016). The seeds contain no caffeine or tannin. A mixture of equal parts of these seeds and coffee beans was acceptable in organoleptic tests (Hassan et al., 1974). The leaves, fruits and flowers are consumed as a vegetable, to accompany rice or added to soups (PROTA, 2016).

It is used as an ornamental and for green manure (PROTA, 2016).  It is also associated with ritual/religious uses in some African cultures (PROTA, 2016).

Almost all the parts of the plant of S. occidentalis are used for traditional medicinal purposes, especially in Africa (PROSEA, 2016; Royal Museum for Central Africa, 2016). Most recorded uses of S. occidentalis are as traditional remedies for ailments such as typhoid (Evans et al., 2002), malaria (Gasquet et al., 1993; Tona et al., 1999, 2001), liver complaints (Saraf, 1994), snake bites (PROTA, 2016) and dog bites (Singh and Anand, 1994). It is also used to treat diabetes, pains, rheumatism, venereal diseases, fevers, haematuria and convulsion (Flowers of India, 2016; PROSEA, 2016). It is reported to have antimutagenic (Bin Hafeez et al., 2001), antifungal (Hussain and Deeni, 1991), insect antifeedant (Facknath and Kawol, 1993) and diuretic (PROSEA, 2016) activities. It is used in Ayurvedic traditional medicine in India, being the source of the drug Kasamarda (Reeta and Ravindra, 2013). The name Kasamarda comes from Sanskrit words meaning to destroy coughs, deriving from the reported action against coughs, asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Cymbidium Mosaic Virus and Odontoglossum Ringspot Virus, widespread in commercially grown orchids in Malaysia, can be detected in bioassays using S. occidentalis (Samad and Noraini, 1985).

Environmental Services

Insecticidal properties are also reported (PROTA, 2016). It is used in ethnoveterinary medicine because of its anthelmintics properties against gastrointestinal nematodes in small ruminants (Eguale et al., 2011).

Emigrant butterflies are reported as visiting the flowers, also as used by caterpillars (National Parks Board, 2016; India Biodiversity Portal, 2016).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Boundary, barrier or support

General

  • Ritual uses

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Fruits
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Green manure
  • Pesticide

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore
  • Veterinary

Ornamental

  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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S. occidentalis resembles the weeds S. obtusifolia and S. tora in morphology, distribution, ecology and biology. The most obvious difference is in leaf shape; in S. occidentalis, the leaves of mature plants have 4 (occasionally 3) to 6 pairs of leaflets (compared to only 3 in S. obtusifolia and S. tora) and the leaflets are ovate or lanceolate-elliptic, with a pointed tip (unlike the blunt or rounded tips of S. tora and S. obtusifolia). BioNET-EAFRINET (2016) lists characteristics by which S. occidentalis can be distinguished from S. obtusifolia, S. hirsuta and S. septemtrionalis.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control

In pastures, where S. occidentalis quickly invades bare and trampled areas, it is essential to maintain a vigorous pasture cover by reduced grazing pressure and top dressing with fertilizer where appropriate, while at the same time, controlling the actively growing weed with herbicides (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Physical/Mechanical Control

S. occidentalis is easily controlled by cultivation when in the seedling stage (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992; Flanagan, 1998).

Biological Control

Alternaria cassiae  is commercially available as a mycoherbicide. It is effective when applied as conidia at 1,000,000 spores/ml to control S. occidentalis in the greenhouse (Boyette, 1988). In field plots of the soyabean cultivar Forrest, a single foliar application of 100,000 conidia/ml in 935 litres/ha controlled 82% of S. occidentalis (Boyette and Walker, 1985). Mutants have been developed which carry greater virulence (Babalola, 2009).

A strain of Fusarium oxysporum was isolated from infected S. obtusifolia stems at Stoneville, USA in 1989. When the fungus was formulated as granules, either in a fungus-infested rice preparation or encapsulated in a wheat-gluten matrix called 'Pesta', control of S. occidentalis was achieved with pre-emergence or pre-plant incorporated treatments. Liquid conidial applications were less effective. Plants were killed by pre-emergence damping-off. Post-emergence applications were significantly less effective. It is suggested that this fungus has potential as a mycoherbicide for controlling S. occidentalis (Boyette et al., 1993). Colletotrichum gloeosporioides has also been found to have potential as a mycoherbicide against the weed (Boyette et al., 2012).

The oil from Artemisia scoparia has been tested as a potential bioherbicide against weeds including Senna occidentalis (Shalinder Kaur et al., 2010). Artemisia oil caused severe electrolyte leakage from S. occidentalis and Echinocloa crus-galli. A beetle, Caryedon crineus, which infests seeds and pods of S. occidentalis, has been investigated as a potential biocontrol agent (Thakur, 2012).

Chemical Control

S. occidentalis is easily controlled by herbicides when in the seedling stage (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). Herbicides that have been used to give control in a range of crops, either alone or in combinations with other herbicides, include: AC263,222 (imazapic) in groundnut (Webster et al., 1997), bentazone in soybean (Murray et al., 1978), bromoxynil in bromoxynil-resistant cotton (Paulsgrove and Wilcut, 1999), cyanazine in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996), diuron in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996), fluometuron in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996; Paulsgrove and Wilcut, 1999), imazaquin in soyabean (Etheridge et al., 1995), imazethapyr in groundnut (Richburg et al., 1995a, b; Webster et al., 1997), methazole in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996), metolachlor in groundnut (Richburg et al., 1995a), metribuzin in soyabean (Etheridge et al., 1995), MSMA in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996), prometryn in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996), pyrithiobac in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996), norflurazon in cotton (Keeton et al., 1996) and sulfentrazone in soyabean (Dayan et al., 1996a, b).

In pastures, S. occidentalis can be controlled by spot spraying with dichlorprop, picloram + 2,4-D or, if large colonies are present, by applying glyphosate with a rope-wick applicator or carpet roller (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992; Flanagan, 1998).

S. occidentalis is reputed to be tolerant to many herbicides but none is named (Flanagan, 1998).

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Flora and Fauna Webhttp://florafaunaweb.nparks.gov.sg
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.
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United Stateshttp://www.invasiveplant atlas.org
Invasive Species South Africahttp:/www.invasives.org.za
Mansfeld’s World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Cropshttp://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/
Royal Museum for Central Africa. Prelude medicinal plants databasehttp://www.africamuseum.be/collections/external/prelude/view_plant?pi=02640
Taiwan Invasive Species Databasehttp://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=102

Contributors

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07/09/2016 Updated by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

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