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Datasheet

Helminthotheca echioides
(bristly oxtongue)

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Datasheet

Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Helminthotheca echioides
  • Preferred Common Name
  • bristly oxtongue
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Helminthotheca echioides, commonly known as bristly oxtongue, is an annual or perennial, herbaceous herb found in dry and disturbed areas. Native to the western Mediterranean region and possibly elsewhere in Eu...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. Great Ashby District Park, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK. September 2010.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. Great Ashby District Park, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK. September 2010.
Copyright©AnemoneProjectors/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. Great Ashby District Park, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK. September 2010.
Flowering habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. Great Ashby District Park, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK. September 2010.©AnemoneProjectors/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 2.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit.
Copyright©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit.
Flowering habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit.©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. On the side of Highway 1 north of Jenner, Sonoma County, California, USA. November 2013.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. On the side of Highway 1 north of Jenner, Sonoma County, California, USA. November 2013.
Copyright©Judith Elaine Bush-2013/CalPhotos - CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. On the side of Highway 1 north of Jenner, Sonoma County, California, USA. November 2013.
Flowering habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit. On the side of Highway 1 north of Jenner, Sonoma County, California, USA. November 2013.©Judith Elaine Bush-2013/CalPhotos - CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, on roadside verge. July 2007.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, on roadside verge. July 2007.
Copyright©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, on roadside verge. July 2007.
Flowering habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, on roadside verge. July 2007.©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); leaf.
TitleLeaf
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); leaf.
Copyright©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); leaf.
LeafHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); leaf.©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); stem.
TitleStem
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); stem.
Copyright©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); stem.
StemHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); stem.©Thomas Meyer/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); fruiting habit. September 2008.
TitleFruiting habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); fruiting habit. September 2008.
Copyright©Stemonitis/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); fruiting habit. September 2008.
Fruiting habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); fruiting habit. September 2008.©Stemonitis/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); close view of seedhead. Pacifica, California, USA. September 2010.
TitleFruiting habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); close view of seedhead. Pacifica, California, USA. September 2010.
Copyright©Brocken Inaglory/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); close view of seedhead. Pacifica, California, USA. September 2010.
Fruiting habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); close view of seedhead. Pacifica, California, USA. September 2010.©Brocken Inaglory/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, with Harford's sulphur butterfly (Colias harfordii) nectaring. Ralph B. Clark Park, Buena Park, California, USA. May 2009.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, with Harford's sulphur butterfly (Colias harfordii) nectaring. Ralph B. Clark Park, Buena Park, California, USA. May 2009.
Copyright©Davefoc/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Helminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, with Harford's sulphur butterfly (Colias harfordii) nectaring. Ralph B. Clark Park, Buena Park, California, USA. May 2009.
Flowering habitHelminthotheca echioides (bristly oxtongue); flowering habit, with Harford's sulphur butterfly (Colias harfordii) nectaring. Ralph B. Clark Park, Buena Park, California, USA. May 2009.©Davefoc/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Helminthotheca echioides (L.) Holub

Preferred Common Name

  • bristly oxtongue

Other Scientific Names

  • Crepis echioides (L.) All.
  • Helminthia echioides (L.) Gaertn.
  • Helminthia humifusa (Willd.) Trevir.
  • Helminthia pratensis Chevall.
  • Helminthia rigida Schult. ex Steud.
  • Helminthia spinosa DC.
  • Helminthia tuberculata Moench
  • Picris echioides L.
  • Picris humifusa Willd.
  • Picris ruderalis Salisb.
  • Picris spinosa (DC.) Poir.

International Common Names

  • English: ox-tongue
  • French: helminthie fausse-vipérine

Local Common Names

  • Austria: wurmlattich
  • Brazil: falsa-serralha
  • Denmark: vingekurv
  • Germany: natterkopf-bitterkraut; wurmlattich
  • Lithuania: zalkspiene
  • Norway: tornbeiskeblom
  • Poland: goryczel zmijowcowy
  • South Africa: ostong; stekelrige beestong; stekepicris; wildedissel
  • Sweden: lyktfibbla; oxtungsfibbla

Summary of Invasiveness

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Helminthotheca echioides, commonly known as bristly oxtongue, is an annual or perennial, herbaceous herb found in dry and disturbed areas. Native to the western Mediterranean region and possibly elsewhere in Europe and Asia, it has been introduced to North America, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of Europe. H. echioides can be a weed of crops and can form dense stands which outcompete native species. It can potentially spread long distances via water courses and is drought and cold tolerant, sprouting from basal shoots after dry periods.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Picris
  •                                 Species: Helminthotheca echioides

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Two separate species have been combined, with Picris echioides L. now treated as a synonym of Helminthotheca echioides (L.) Holub. In Australasia, specimens of both P. echioides and H. echioides were recorded at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century before the taxonomic revision (Holzapfel, 1994).

Description

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H. echioides is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant which grows up to 1 m tall with a branching structure (Holzapfel, 1994; Vibrans, 2015). It has stiff hairs which are sometimes hooked at their apex. The plant exudes a latex (Vibrans, 2015). The basal leaves are narrowly oblanceolate to elliptic, up to 30 cm long, obtuse to acute at apex, sinuate to toothed at the margin, offset to a base that seems like the petiole, embraces the stem at the base (Vibrans, 2015). Generally, it has a simple taproot but occasionally also has a branched root system (Holzapfel, 1994). It has yellow flowers and yellow or reddish achenes, slightly compressed, wrinkled transversely, abruptly terminated by a nose hair as long as the achene (Tela Botanica, 2016).

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated

Distribution

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There is some discrepancy in placement of the original distribution of H. echioides with some sources suggesting it was originally from only the western Mediterranean region (Tremetsberger et al., 2015) and others widening its native range to countries as far east as Russia and Ukraine in Europe, and Azerbaijan and Iran in central Asia (Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016). H. echioides is considered introduced, established or naturalized in Australia, Turkmenistan, South Africa, Canada, USA, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay as well as other European countries (Holzapfel, 1994; Greuter, 2006; Stace, 2010; Sîrbu & Oprea, 2013; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 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

AzerbaijanPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
IranPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2016
IsraelPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
JordanPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
LebanonPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
SyriaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006
TurkeyPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
TurkmenistanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized

Africa

AlgeriaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
EgyptPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
LibyaPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2016
MoroccoPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
South AfricaPresent1987IntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
TunisiaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016

North America

CanadaPresent1986Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-AlbertaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-British ColumbiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-New BrunswickPresent1968IntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-Nova ScotiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-OntarioPresent1968IntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-SaskatchewanPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
USAPresent1987Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-CaliforniaPresent1986Introduced Invasive US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-DelawarePresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-District of ColumbiaPresent1986IntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-IllinoisPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-IowaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-MainePresent1950IntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-MarylandPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-MassachusettsPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-MissouriPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-MontanaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-NevadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016
-New JerseyPresent1950IntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-New YorkPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-North DakotaPresent1968IntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-OhioPresent1968IntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-OregonPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-PennsylvaniaPresent1950IntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-VermontPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-VirginiaPresentIntroducedFlora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
-WashingtonPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2016

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
ChilePresent1985IntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
UruguayPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized

Europe

AlbaniaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
AustriaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
BelarusPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015Establishment status is ‘Unknown’
BelgiumPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentNativeGreuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
BulgariaPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015Establishment status is ‘Unknown’
CroatiaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006
CyprusPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
Czech RepublicPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
DenmarkPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized
FinlandPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015Establishment status is ‘Unknown’
FrancePresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
-CorsicaPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2016
GermanyPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
GreecePresentDatamining 2011 - Invasive Species Databases; Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
HungaryPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized/established
IrelandPresentGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
ItalyPresent Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
LatviaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Greuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
LiechtensteinPresentIntroduced Not invasive Greuter, 2006
LithuaniaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
LuxembourgPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006
MaltaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006
MonacoPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006
MontenegroPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
NetherlandsPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
NorwayPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016
PolandPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized/established
PortugalPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
-AzoresPresentIntroducedGreuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized/established
-MadeiraPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
RomaniaPresentIntroduced Not invasive Greuter, 2006; Sîrbu and Oprea, 2013; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized/established
Russian FederationPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006
SerbiaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
SlovakiaPresent Not invasive Greuter, 2006Doubtfully native
SloveniaPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
SpainPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Balearic IslandsPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
SwedenPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015Not established
SwitzerlandPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
UKPresentIntroduced Not invasive Greuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized/established
-Channel IslandsPresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; DAISIE, 2015
UkrainePresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006; USDA-ARS, 2016
Yugoslavia (former)PresentNative Not invasive Greuter, 2006

Oceania

AustraliaPresent1986Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized/Established
-New South WalesWidespread1957Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994
-QueenslandPresent1986Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994
-South AustraliaWidespread1957Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994
-TasmaniaWidespread1963Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994
-VictoriaWidespread1972Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994
-Western AustraliaPresent1975Introduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994
New ZealandPresentIntroduced Not invasive Holzapfel, 1994; USDA-ARS, 2016Naturalized

Risk of Introduction

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H. echioides survives well in difficult conditions, such as drought, and is spread easily, potentially across large distances via water courses (Tosso et al., 1986; Holzapfel, 1994).

Habitat

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H. echioides is often associated with disturbed sites in urban and intensive agricultural habitats in the USA and Mexico (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; Vibrans, 2015). Specimens collected in Australia are frequently found in public places, which may be partly induced by the application of herbicides (Holzapfel, 1994).

In the USA, it is mostly classified as an obligate upland species which never occurs in wetlands and only in the Arid West region is it classified as rarely occurring in wetlands (USDA-NRCS, 2016).

In France and Corsica, it can be found on the edges of roads and fields and also in waste places (Tela Botnica, 2016). In New Zealand, it has been reported to be a common weed of waste land, pasture, urban areas and forest margins, and can be found in coastal to montane regions (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Industrial / intensive livestock production systems Principal habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Arid regions Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeMain

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

H. echioides has a sporophytic count of 10 and a gametophytic count of 5/10 (IPCN Chromosome Reports, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

H. echioides produces heterocarpic fruits with different achenes (Tremetsberger et al., 2015). Flowers are hermaphrodite and the plant is self-fertile. Seeds are often produced apomictically (Plants for a Future, 2012). H. echioides reproduces exclusively by seed (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, 2016).

It is able to survive dry climates and appears to sprout from basal shoots after dry periods (Holzapfel, 1994).

The flowers are pollinated by bees and flies (Plants for a Future, 2012).

Physiology and Phenology

H. echioides usually flowers and fruits from March to July in the Americas but can also flower and fruit at other times (Vibrans, 2015). According to Plants for a Future (2012), it flowers from June to October and seeds ripen from July to October. In France it flowers from June to September (Tela Botanica, 2016). In New Zealand, it can flower and fruit all year round in warm climates, but otherwise flowers from August to May and fruits from October to July (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, 2016).

Its ability to sprout from secondary basal shoots after the primary stem has dried out allows it to be classed as perennial (Holzapfel, 1994).

Environmental Requirements

H. echioides can grow in a wide range of soil types and prefers dry or moist soil. It does not grow well in shade but can tolerate frost (Plants for a Future, 2012).

H. echioides survives well in difficult conditions, such as drought (Tosso et al., 1986; Holzapfel, 1994).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
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)
Df - Continental climate, wet all year Preferred Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral
  • very alkaline

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Verticillium dahliae Pathogen

Notes on Natural Enemies

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In Crete, it has been noted as being slightly susceptible to disease from the fungus Verticillium dahlia showing Verticillium wilt symptoms (Ligoxigakis et al., 2002)

In experiments, an extract from H. echioides, cloform, acts as a good deterrent for four species of pest insects (Sitophilus granaries – adults, Tribolium confusum – adults and larvae, and Trogoferma granarium – larvae) (Daniewski et al., 1989).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural dispersal

H. echioides is spread easily, potentially across large distances via water courses (Tosso et al., 1986; Holzapfel, 1994).

An investigation, in 1982/83, into weed seeds transported by irrigation water identified H. echioides seeds as present in the largest numbers than any of the other weeds per litre of water and it found that 47% germinated successfully (Tosso et al., 1986).

Seeds are wind dispersed and can attach to clothing, wool and other fibres (New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, 2016).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionSeeds spread via irrigation Yes Yes Tosso et al., 1986

Pathway Vectors

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Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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H. echioides is found in fields of alfalfa cultivars as a weed species and is found to have the highest number of seeds of the 11 annual weeds present (Štrbanovic et al., 2014).

It has been recorded in maize fields and in California, USA, it is reported as a problem in orchards (Vibrans, 2015).

Environmental Impact

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H. echioides grows by forming a dense stand which can outcompete other species when management of land changes reducing pressures holding its growth, such as cessation of grazing in fields in the US (DiTomaso et al., 2013; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014). More specifically, it has been identified as an invasive species which is a threat to Santa Cruz tarplant (Holocarpha macradenia) (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014), a threatened plant (listed by US ESA) in California, USA.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Holocarpha macradenia (Santa Cruz tarplant)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened species USA ESA listing as threatened speciesCaliforniaAntagonistic (micro-organisms); Competition; Competition - shading; Competition - smothering; Interaction with other invasive speciesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Social Benefit

In the Mediterranean region, the leaves and stems are cooked and eaten (Boari et al., 2013).

Uses List

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Human food and beverage

  • Vegetable

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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The following is provided by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (2016):

“The stem and leaf indumentum of oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides (L.) Holub) has 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-hooked anchor hairs and the hairs of the leaves arise from a conspicuous swollen base. The involucral bracts of the flowers are in two rows, with the five outer involucral bracts ovate to cordate, and the apex of the inner bracts feather-like. Unlike our indigenous oxtongus (Picris spp.) the achenes of the introduced oxtongue (H. echioides) are dimorphic: the outer achenes, are larger, white, and pilose hairy; the inner shorter, dark-brown and glabrous. In our indigenous oxtongues (Picris spp.) the achenes are never heteromorphic.”

Prevention and Control

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Physical/mechanical control

Mowing and grazing regimes could be used to ameliorate the threat to Holocarpha macradenia in California, USA (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014). The addition of solarisation could improve management outcome success as well. An experiment comparing mowing, disking and solarisation on controlling invasive weeds in cool coastal California region showed that only solarisaiton methodology achieved a reduction in the existing invasive weed species and stopped a new invasion of H. echioides because the seed bank of the weed is destroyed as well as the plants (Lambrecht and D’Amore, 2010).

References

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Boari F; Cefola M; Gioia Fdi; Pace B; Serio F; Cantore V, 2013. Effect of cooking methods on antioxidant activity and nitrate content of selected wild Mediterranean plants. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 64(7):870-876. http://informahealthcare.com/loi/ijf

DAISIE, 2015. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. European Invasive Alien Species Gateway. www.europe-aliens.org/default.do

Daniewski WM; Gumuka M; Drozdz B; Grabarczyk H; Boszyk E, 1989. Sesquiterpene lactones. XXXVIII. Constituents of Picris echioides L. and their antifeedant activity. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, 58(3):351-354.

Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of North America North of Mexico. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1

Greuter W, 2006. Compositae (pro parte majore). Compositae [ed. by Greuter, W. \Raab-Straube, E. von]. Euro+Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity.

Holzapfel S, 1994. A revision of the genus Picris (Asteraceae, Lactuceae) s.l. in Australia. Willdenowia, 24(1-2):97-218.

IPCN Chromosome Reports, 2015. Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers (IPCN), Tropicos website. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/IPCN

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Links to Websites

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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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30/06/2016 Original text by:

Alex Hudson, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK

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