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Portulaca pilosa
(kiss-me-quick)

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Datasheet

Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Portulaca pilosa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • kiss-me-quick
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Portulaca pilosa is a fleshy-leaved annual or short-lived perennial with low, sprawling growth habit. It is a weed throughout its range. It is thought to have originated in South America but its native range is...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.
TitleFlowers and leaves
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.
Flowers and leavesPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.
TitleFlowers and leaves
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.
Flowers and leavesPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); flowers and leaves. September, 2015.©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006
TitleFlowering plant
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006
Flowering plantPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); flower and leaves. Molokini, Maui. November 08, 2002
TitleFlower and leaves
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); flower and leaves. Molokini, Maui. November 08, 2002
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); flower and leaves. Molokini, Maui. November 08, 2002
Flower and leavesPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); flower and leaves. Molokini, Maui. November 08, 2002©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); extreme close-up of flower. September, 2015.
TitleFlower
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); extreme close-up of flower. September, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); extreme close-up of flower. September, 2015.
FlowerPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); extreme close-up of flower. September, 2015.©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit, amongst rocks. Waihee Pt, Maui. November 27, 2003
TitleHabit
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit, amongst rocks. Waihee Pt, Maui. November 27, 2003
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit, amongst rocks. Waihee Pt, Maui. November 27, 2003
HabitPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit, amongst rocks. Waihee Pt, Maui. November 27, 2003©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit and ant bait stick. Kanaio, Maui. March 20, 2007
TitleHabit
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit and ant bait stick. Kanaio, Maui. March 20, 2007
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit and ant bait stick. Kanaio, Maui. March 20, 2007
HabitPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit and ant bait stick. Kanaio, Maui. March 20, 2007©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant, showing habit and spent seed capsules. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006
TitleHabit
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant, showing habit and spent seed capsules. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant, showing habit and spent seed capsules. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006
HabitPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); flowering plant, showing habit and spent seed capsules. Molokini, Maui. April 05, 2006©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit. Kaohikaipu, Oahu. February 24, 2005
TitleHabit
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit. Kaohikaipu, Oahu. February 24, 2005
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit. Kaohikaipu, Oahu. February 24, 2005
HabitPortulaca pilosa (pigweed); habit. Kaohikaipu, Oahu. February 24, 2005©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); spent flowers. September, 2015.
TitleSpent flowers
CaptionPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); spent flowers. September, 2015.
Copyright©Keith A Bradley-2013
Portulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); spent flowers. September, 2015.
Spent flowersPortulaca pilosa (kiss-me-quick); spent flowers. September, 2015.©Keith A Bradley-2013

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Portulaca pilosa L.

Preferred Common Name

  • kiss-me-quick

Other Scientific Names

  • Portulaca ehrenbergii Poelln.
  • Portulaca gagatosperma Millsp.
  • Portulaca karwinskii Fisch. & E. Mey.
  • Portulaca lanata Rich.
  • Portulaca mundula I.M. Johnst.
  • Portulaca poliosperma Urb.

International Common Names

  • English: crimson-flowered purslane; hairy pigweed; pink purslane; shaggy portulaca
  • Spanish: chisme
  • Chinese: mao ma chi xian

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: amor-crescido
  • Cuba: diez del día; salta perico; verdolaga de las diez; verdolaga de playa; verdolaga de sabana
  • Dominican Republic: verdolaga afuere; verdolaguilla; yerba de agua
  • Lesser Antilles: chouvalyé; petite quinine; pourpier amer; quinine-pays
  • Mexico: escúptama
  • Puerto Rico: Don Diego
  • USA/Hawaii: akulikuli

Summary of Invasiveness

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Portulaca pilosa is a fleshy-leaved annual or short-lived perennial with low, sprawling growth habit. It is a weed throughout its range. It is thought to have originated in South America but its native range is uncertain. It occurs from South America north to the Caribbean and the southern USA, and is also found growing on some Pacific islands, Australia and parts of Asia, and perhaps Africa. This self-compatible species has a short life cycle with the ability to produce mature seed in less than two months. A single plant can produce nearly 300,000 seeds annually. The species has a high drought tolerance, and throughout its range it is predominantly a weed of disturbed dry soils. It is often found in coastal ecosystems such as dunes and rocky shores. It competes with native herbs in these habitats, including some endangered species and narrow endemics.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Caryophyllales
  •                         Family: Portulacaceae
  •                             Genus: Portulaca
  •                                 Species: Portulaca pilosa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Portulaca pilosa was described by Linnaeus in 1753 from South America. It has always been retained in the genus Portulaca which contains 100-125 species. Portulaca is in the family Portulacaceae, which has traditionally been treated to contain several genera, but very recently circumscribed to contain only the type genus (Nyffeler and Eggli, 2010).

Infrageneric classifications of Portulaca have been proposed by several authors, including Engelmann (as reported by Gray, 1850) and Mueller (1859). The most recent infrageneric classifications place P. pilosa in subgenus Portulaca, section Portulaca, subsection Stellulato-tuberculatae (Geesink, 1969, 1972), but this classification has not been supported by phylogenetic analyses (Ocampo and Columbus, 2012).

The delineation of species limits for P. pilosa and similar taxa has been problematic. It has become a widespread weed throughout much of the world and many new species have been described that may only represent morphological variants of P. pilosa. Additionally, many native species with similar morphology have probably been erroneously referred to as P. pilosa; Geesink (1969) believed that there were up to 150 such species as described by Legrand (1962) and von Poellnitz (1934). Portulaca mundula, a species described in 1948 from a plant in the southwestern USA, is now considered to be conspecific with P. pilosa (Matthews and Levin, 1985a, 1985b; Matthews et al., 1992). This treatment has been retained by recent authors, e.g. Allred and Ivey (2012) and Weakley (2015). Two species of Portulaca in Japan have recently been shown to be distinct, namely P. okinawensis (Kokubugata et al., 2013) and P. psammotropha (Kokubugata et al., 2015).

In the phylogenetic study by Ocampo and Columbus (2012), the authors found that P. pilosa formed a clade with P. matthewsii from central Mexico, and that this clade was sister to four other species of the Americas, namely P. californica, P. mexicana, P. rzedowskiana and P. suffrutescens. They also found that some species considered by earlier authors to be closely related to P. pilosa were more distantly related, including P. decipiens and P. tuberosa.

Description

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P. pilosa is an annual or rarely short-lived perennial, succulent, prostrate to erect herb to 30 cm tall; roots fibrous to slightly fleshy; leaves fleshy, opposite or alternate, to 20 mm long, 3 mm wide, terete to hemispheric, linear to oblong-lanceolate, with conspicuous axillary hairs 1-18 mm long; flowers subtended by involucre of dense wool and 6-9 bracts, flowers mostly 5-12 mm wide, petals 5, dark pink-purple, stamens 5-12 or more, red, stigmas 3-6 lobed; capsules ovoid, to 4.3 mm, seeds black to gray, sometimes purplish, orbiculate, 0.5-0.7 mm in diameter.

There is considerable morphological variability in relation to habitat differences over the large geographic range of this species. Plants growing in dry habitats have the greatest density of hairs, while plants growing in moist habitats are less pilose. Plants with very dense hairs on old growth will, under more moist conditions, produce new growth with fewer hairs. Growth habit is also affected by habitat. Plants growing in warm, moist environments tend to branch quickly into a spreading habit, with erect growth following secondarily. Plants in cool, dry habitats grow erect first, then branch more slowly, resulting in a compact habit (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015).

Plant Type

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Herbaceous
Seed propagated
Succulent
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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The extent of the natural range of P. pilosa is unknown, and has been a matter of debate. Most authors consider the species to be native to at least South America, but beyond this the original distributional limits are unknown. A molecular phylogenetic study by Ocampo and Columbus (2012) estimated that the P. pilosa clade originated in South America, and some authors consider its native range to also include populations in the southern USA and the Caribbean (e.g., USDA-ARS, 2015). Linnaeus’s description of the species is based on plants from South America. Von Spix and von Martius (1824) observed it in Brazil along the coast of Rio de Janeiro, and mention its presence in Asia Minor (although it is not currently known from that region). Dumont de Courset in 1811 lists its range as the West Indies and indicates that it was being cultivated in Europe at that time. De Candolle (1828) recorded it from Brazil as well as the Caribbean (in Curacao and Martinique). Caribbean authors generally treat the species as native, e.g. Alain and León (1951) and Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong (2015).

In the USA the earliest records are from the southwest. Torrey and Gray (1840) included it for Texas and Arkansas “on dry rocks”, citing collections by Nuttall, Dr James and Dr Leavenworth. These collectors were active in the southwest prior to 1850, and the earliest collections from the southwestern USA are probably from around 1820, as Nuttall collected from 1818 to1820. Torrey and Gray (1840) seemed to indicate that it was native to the region, writing that it was a “native also of Mexico and South America.”

In the southeastern USA, P. pilosa was reported by Torrey (1828), citing a specimen from North Carolina collected by Schweinitz. However, he later cited this specimen as “N. Carolina?” (Torrey and Gray, 1840). It was not included in Darby’s early flora of southern states (Darby, 1855). The first certain record from the southeast is from Chapman and Eaton (1860), who record it from Key West, Florida, an island at the southern tip of the state in close proximity to the Caribbean. Chapman later indicated that it was introduced (Chapman, 1897). Small (1903) records it from Florida and North Carolina (and Arizona).

In the New World, the species is currently known from all countries in South America except for Uruguay and Suriname. In Venezuela, for example, it is one of the five most dominant urban weeds in Maracaibo in Zulia state (Villarreal et al., 2010). It has been found in every country of Central America, and most of the Caribbean, including the Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles and Bahamas. In the USA it is considered native in up to 15 states, from Arizona in the west, inland to Oklahoma and Tennessee, and to North Carolina and Florida in the east. It is naturalized in Hawaii.

The introduced range of the species in the Old World is wide, but certainly consists of some false reports due to taxonomic confusion with other similar taxa. In Asia it is known from seven coastal provinces of China (Corlett, 1992), and in Japan, where it is classed as an alien invasive (Mito and Uesugi, 2004), from the Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands (Kokubugata et al., 2015; PIER, 2015) and the Ryukyu Islands (Kokubugata et al., 2013). It also occurs in Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (PIER, 2015). There are several reports of the species from India (Murthy et al., 2006; Gnanasekaran et al., 2012; Joshi et al., 2013). It is also known from Pakistan (Flora of Pakistan, 2015), where it is considered rare.

The species is recorded sporadically in Africa, though some of these reports may represent other species. It has been reported from South Africa (CJB, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015), as well as Botswana (CJB, 2015), Kenya (Löve, 1987), Tanzania (CJB, 2015) and Zimbabwe (Maroyi, 2006).

P. pilosa is widespread in Oceania. It is naturalized in Australia in New South Wales and Queensland (Geesink, 1969; Menkins, 2015; PlantNET, 2015), and also occurs in the Federated States of Micronesia (Herrera et al., 2010), American Samoa, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands (Bishop Museum, 2015), as well as New Caledonia, Palau and Papua New Guinea (PIER, 2015). P. pilosa is a documented invasive species throughout the Hawaiian Islands, the Galapagos Islands, New Caledonia and Christmas Island (LLIFLE, 2015). 

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

ChinaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-FujianPresentIntroducedTurner et al., 2001; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedTurner et al., 2001; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-HainanPresentIntroducedTurner et al., 2001; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
-Hong KongPresentIntroduced1954Corlett, 1992
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015
IndiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroducedMurthy et al., 2006
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedGnanasekaran et al., 2012
-UttarakhandPresentIntroducedJoshi et al., 2013
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
JapanPresentIntroducedMito and Uesugi, 2004; PIER, 2015Ogasawara Islands
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentIntroducedKokubugata et al., 2013; IBCAS, 2015
LaosPresentIntroducedNewman et al., 2007; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
MyanmarPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
PakistanPresentIntroducedFlora of Pakistan, 2015rare
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
SingaporePresentCorlett, 1988; Chong et al., 2009described (erroneously?) as native and critically endangered
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
TaiwanPresentIntroducedTurner et al., 2001; Li and Chiou, 2006; Xu et al., 2012; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
ThailandPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
VietnamPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015

Africa

BotswanaPresentIntroducedCJB, 2015
EthiopiaAbsent, invalid recordCufodontis, 1953Report refers to P. kermesina
KenyaPresentIntroducedLove, 1987
South AfricaPresentIntroducedCJB, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedCJB, 2015
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedMaroyi, 2006

North America

GreenlandAbsent, unreliable recordMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
MexicoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
USAPresentNativeMatthews and Levins, 1985Known in southeast USA since late 1890s
-AlabamaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-ArizonaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
-ArkansasPresentNativeTorrey and Gray, 1840; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-ColoradoPresentNativeRocky Mountain Herbarium, 2015
-FloridaPresentNative Invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-GeorgiaPresentNative Invasive Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1922 Invasive Wagner et al., 1999On all the main islands except Lanai and Kahoolawe
-KansasPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-LouisianaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-MississippiPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-MissouriPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-New JerseyPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
-New MexicoPresentNativeAllred and Ivey, 2012; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-New YorkAbsent, formerly presentIntroducedBrown, 1878; Grier, 1924Waif, did not persist
-North CarolinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-OklahomaPresentNativeButler, 1878; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-TennesseePresentNativeKral, 1981; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-TexasPresentNativeTorrey and Gray, 1840; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
BahamasPresentNativeHitchcock, 1893; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
BelizePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015
Cayman IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015
Costa RicaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
CubaPresentNativeAlain and Leon, 1951; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
CuraçaoPresentNativeCandolle A de, 1828
DominicaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
El SalvadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
GrenadaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
GuadeloupePresentNativeJSTOR, 2015
GuatemalaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
HaitiPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
HondurasPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
JamaicaPresentNativeHitchcock, 1893; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
MartiniquePresentNativeCandolle A de, 1828; USDA-ARS, 2015
MontserratPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
NicaraguaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
PanamaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
Puerto RicoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
Saint LuciaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2015

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
BoliviaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
BrazilPresentNativeCoelho and Giulietti, 2010; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
-AmazonasPresentNativeCoelho and Giulietti, 2010
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeCoelho and Giulietti, 2010
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeCoelho and Giulietti, 2010
-ParaPresentNativeCoelho and Giulietti, 2010
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeSpix and Martius, 1824
ChilePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
ColombiaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
EcuadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; PIER, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
French GuianaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
GuyanaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
ParaguayPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
PeruPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015
VenezuelaPresentNativeVillarreal et al., 2010; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015

Europe

HungaryPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
ItalyPresentIntroducedDAISIE, 2015
RomaniaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Invasive Nagoda et al., 2013First record of naturalization

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroducedBishop Museum, 2015
AustraliaPresentIntroducedGeesink, 1969
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedPlantNET, 2015
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedMenkins, 2015; PlantNET, 2015
KiribatiPresentIntroducedBishop Museum, 2015
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedBishop Museum, 2015
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedHerrera et al., 2010reffered to as “Indigenous”
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2015
PalauPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2015

History of Introduction and Spread

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Since the earliest records of P. pilosa from Florida and North Carolina, the species has spread to all southeastern states of the USA, including Texas, and inland to Tennessee, where it was found in 1978 (Kral, 1981). It was also found relatively recently in northern Louisiana (Matthews and Levins, 1985a).

Matthews and Levins (1985b) discuss the spread of P. pilosa to the USA. Based on the ranges of variation in the species, including differences that prompted the untenable separation of southwestern specimens as P. mundula, they hypothesized two introductions: one from Mexico and another from the Caribbean. Whether this was a natural range extension is not discussed. Based on the available data from the southeast and pattern of historical reports, the species does seem to be a recent introduction to the southeastern states, probably introduced via ballast and other human activities, while possibly native to the southwestern States, particularly New Mexico and Arizona.

In Australia the species probably arrived with ship ballast between 1870 and 1920, possibly with multiple introductions (Menkins, 2015). In Africa, all available records are from the last several decades (Löve, 1987; Maroyi, 2006; CJB, 2015). In Asia the species was first found in Taiwan in 1929 (Xu et al., 2012; IBCAS, 2015), in China in Fujian in 1933 and Guangdong in 1974 (IBCAS, 2015), and in Singapore around 1922-1925 and Hong Kong in 1954 (Corlett, 1988). P. pilosa was found in Vietnam in 1965 (IBCAS, 2015), while in Japan a collection was made in the Ryukyu Islands in 1973 (IBCAS, 2015). Reports of the species from India and Pakistan are also recent (Murthy et al., 2006; Gnanasekaran et al., 2012; Joshi et al., 2013; Flora of Pakistan, 2015).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia 1870-1920 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes Menkins (2015)
China 1933 Yes IBCAS (2015)
Japan 1973 Yes IBCAS (2015)
Singapore 1922-1925 Yes Corlett (1988)
Taiwan 1929 Yes IBCAS (2015)
Vietnam 1965 Yes IBCAS (2015)

Risk of Introduction

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As it is widely planted in dry areas as a garden ornamental, the risk of escape from cultivation is high, especially as it is able to reproduce vegetatively as well as by seed.

Habitat

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Throughout its range P. pilosa inhabits dry, often disturbed soils, and is commonly found in coastal areas including beach dunes and rocky shores (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

In South America, presumed to be its native range, the earliest habitat noted for the species was coastal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by von Spix and von Martius (1824). In Honduras it has been found in dry forests by Duery Saleck (2001). In the Caribbean it is found mainly in coastal habitats, such as dunes and rocky shores, as well as disturbed areas (Alain and León, 1951; Correll and Correll, 1982; Liogier and Martorell, 1982).

In the southwestern USA, including New Mexico, it occupies bare ground, weedy sites, sandy washes and other dry habitats (Matthews and Levins, 1985b; Allred and Ivey, 2012), and limestone outcrops in Arkansas (Matthews and Levins, 1985b). In much of the southeastern USA it grows in dry soil, on beaches and in disturbed areas (Small, 1933; Matthews and Levins, 1985a; Wunderlin and Hansen, 2003).

In China and nearby areas around the South China Sea it has been found in coastal provinces and grows in dry places, including disturbed areas and beaches near the ocean (Turner et al., 2001; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). Similarly, in Australia it is found on coastal dunes, beaches, road edges and other disturbed areas (Menkins, 2015). In Hawaii, Wagner et al. (1999) report it in “dry, open, strand to coastal habitats or lava fields, 0-620 m”.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Littoral
Coastal areas Principal habitat Natural
Coastal dunes Principal habitat Natural
Mangroves Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Arid regions Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Arid regions Principal habitat Natural
Natural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rocky areas / lava flows Principal habitat Natural
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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Although P. pilosa has a broad global range, it is not generally considered a problematic agricultural weed, despite its preference for disturbed soils. In the USA it is described as a common weed of one or more crops in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Puerto Rico (Invasive.org, 2015).

Growth Stages

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Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

P. pilosa has a chromosome number of 2n = 16, or in some populations 2n = 8. Reports have also been made of 2n = 18 and 2n = 36, but some counts may represent other taxa (Matthews et al., 1992).

Kim and Carr (1990a) attempted to produce interspecific hybrids using eight species of Hawaiian Portulaca but without success for crosses involving P. pilosa.

Reproductive Biology

Portulaca in general is a genus of self-pollinators (Geesink, 1969); this has been confirmed for P. pilosa by Zimmerman (1977). In a study of Hawaiian Portulaca species, including P. pilosa, Kim and Carr (1990b) found that the studied species were slightly protandrous, as well as autogamous. No evidence was found that they were apomictic, supporting findings by Zimmerman (1977). Under some conditions, such as reduced light where flowers did not open, they found P. pilosa to be cleistogamous. This was also observed by Zimmerman (1977). In 20 hours of observation of P. pilosa, Zimmerman observed no insect species visiting flowers.

Kim and Carr (1990b), based on experimentally grown plants in Hawaii, found that seed matured in approximately 14 days, with 60.7 seeds produced per capsule. They additionally showed that P. pilosa seeds are non-dormant, with a high percentage of germination occurring in 1-2 weeks. In garden experiments, Zimmerman (1976) found that in one growing season a single P. pilosa plant could produce up to 292,010 seeds. Reproductive output, however, was greatly reduced at low temperatures; experimentally grown plants maintained at 11°C produced only about 17 capsules over 40 days. In general, seeds germinate during spring and summer, requiring light and a temperature of 25°C for maximum germination (Zimmerman, 1977).

Like other Portulaca species, P. pilosa can propagate vegetatively; when stems are cut or broken, rooting takes place at breakage points through the development of adventitious roots, and new plants develop (Connard and Zimmerman, 1931).

Physiology and Phenology

P. pilosa plants grow in the warmer months to form dense mats or mounds. Flowering occurs mainly during warmer seasons. Rodrigues et al. (2014) found that in a garden in the eastern Amazon area of Brazil there was a flowering peak in November, with a low in May, but that plants bloomed every month. In China, flowering occurs from May to August (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Flowers are ephemeral and generally open only in the morning. Smyth (1889) observed that flowers open from 09.00 to 13.00 h. In experimentally grown plants in Hawaii, Kim and Carr (1990b) found that flowers were open from about 08.30 to 14.15 h, and only opened on bright, sunny mornings.

P. pilosa is drought tolerant and is able to utilize crassulacean acid metabolism during drought stress (Kraybill and Martin, 1996). In experimental plantings, Zimmerman (1976) found that the species had low tolerance to increasing soil moisture content.

Longevity

P. pilosa is an annual or short-lived perennial (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). Zimmerman (1976) found that cultivated plants could survive up to 30 months.

Associations

P. pilosa is one of many salt marsh species associated with mangroves throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, occupying high salinity areas inside mangroves together with Sarcocornia perennis, Blutaparon vermiculare, Cakile lanceolata, Ipomoea pes-caprae and Sesuvium portulacastrum (Lacerda et al., 2002).

In Romania, where it was reported naturalized for the first time in 2013, P. pilosa was found growing in shallow soil pockets at the bottom of a concrete dam in Bucharest where it was associated with a number of plant species, including the succulent perennial Phemeranthus confertifolius, a native of the southwestern USA and northern Mexico, itself an alien invasive and new record for Romania (Nagoda et al., 2013).

Environmental Requirements

P. pilosa prefers sunny, open locations on shallow, sandy or gravelly soils, often growing on rocky outcrops. The soil must be very well-drained. Full sun is required for flowering. The species shows considerable adaptability to a range of environments, including dry soils, beaches and disturbed habitats, as well as roadsides, railroads and limestone, granite and sandstone outcrops. It can be found at altitudes from sea level to 2000 m (Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2015; LLIFLE, 2015).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
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)
40 40

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil texture

  • light

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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P. pilosa appears to have no serious pest or disease problems (LLIFLE, 2015).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Ridley (1930) suggested dispersal of P. pilosa seed by birds, but with no supporting evidence. However, according to Zimmerman (1977), P. pilosa seed has no anatomical modification to aid dispersal and is not adapted to animal dispersal; of seeds fed to Passer domesticus, only 15.9% were viable after being eaten. In Hawaii, Staples et al. (2000) noted that P. pilosa seeds become slightly sticky when wetted, which could aid adherence to passing animals. They also mention birds as dispersal vectors for the species. In Queensland, Australia, Jones and Bunch (1999) found huge amounts of P. pilosa seed in the faeces of cattle feeding in pastures dominated by native grasses oversown with legumes, where P. pilosa plants were regarded as a minor (“apparently insignificant”) component. Although less than 20% of seeds recovered from faeces germinated, this could indicate that, potentially, consumption and excretion by animals is a means of dissemination for P. pilosa.

Accidental Introduction

Although Ridley (1930) suggested that P. pilosa was dispersed by birds, he noted that man was the main vector through accidental transport of seeds in contaminated hay, cereal grains and plant wastes. As it can establish from vegetative cuttings, P. pilosa can also be spread accidentally through the disposal of garden waste.

Intentional Introduction

P. pilosa is grown as an ornamental and as such is available for planting in gardens and parks. Many weedy populations have originated as garden escapes.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productiona seed contaminant of hay and grain Yes Yes Ridley, 1930
Digestion and excretion Yes
Disturbance Yes
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes
Garden waste disposal Yes
Horticulture Yes Yes
Nursery trade Yes Yes
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesin garden waste Yes
Land vehicles Yes Yes
Livestock Yes
Ship ballast water and sediment Yes
Soil, sand and gravel Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

Habitats with frequent disturbances are the most likely to be invaded by P. pilosa. This is particularly true of coastal habitats that undergo frequent disturbance due to coastal storms. In such situations P. pilosa may compete with native herbaceous species. If it colonizes bare soils following storms and prevents establishment of native perennials it may have long-term effects on soil stability.

Impact on Biodiversity

Where it is regarded as invasive, P. pilosa competes with native and endangered species in sensitive habitats. For example, in the Puhimau Hotspot in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, it is one of two invasive species threatening the largest remaining population of the federally endangered Portulaca sclerocarpa (Loh et al., 2014). It has also been reported as a threat through invasion and competition to three other endangered Hawaiian species: Scaevola coriacea (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a), Sesbania tomentosa (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b) and Vigna o-wahuensis (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Portulaca sclerocarpaEN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesLoh et al., 2014
Scaevola coriacea (dwarf naupaka)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010
Sesbania tomentosaNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010
Vigna o-wahuensis (Oahu cowpea)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011

Social Impact

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P. pilosa can become invasive when grown as an ornamental and is known as a troublesome weed of lawns (Georgia Lawn, 2015).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Economic Value

In some situations, P. pilosa has proved to be a valuable fodder plant for cattle. In New Mexico, USA, P. pilosa and some other annual forbs have been known to make up to 32% of the summer and autumn diet of cattle in rangeland pastures (Allison et al., 1977). In Australia in native grass pastures oversown with legumes in southern subcoastal Queensland, the apparently insignificant and low-growing plants of P. pilosa were estimated to contribute over 400 g dry matter to the daily diet of individual cattle in late autumn-early winter (Jones and Bunch, 1999).

Social Benefit

P. pilosa has been used in traditional medicine in many regions. In Brazil, Ferreira et al. (2015) report its use to treat malaria. It is also used there for treating gastrointestinal disorders and as a diuretic, analgesic, emmenagogue and abortifacient (Amaral da Silva et al., 2001), but in clinical tests the authors found that it was ineffective as an abortive or infertilizing agent. In Cuba, Alain and León (1951) reported that the juice is used to treat skin infections, hepatitis and indigestion, and as a diuretic and vermifuge. In Peru it has been used medicinally and to make hair sleek (von Poellnitz, 1934). In Trinidad it has been used to treat intestinal worms and carbuncles (Wong, 1976). Plant extracts of P. pilosa have been shown to have promising antimicrobial activity (Saraiva et al., 2012).

There are occasional reports of P. pilosa being consumed. Geesink (1972) reports that it is used as a leafy vegetable in Melanesia, while Kumar et al. (2013) report the same for south India. The safety of its use as a vegetable is unknown, and some do not recommend its consumption; the closely related P. oleracea is known to accumulate oxalates and nitrates (Dowling and McKenzie, 1993) but there are no published records of problems with poisoning with P. pilosa either in humans or livestock (Jones and Bunch, 1999).

The species is cultivated as an ornamental. Zayas (2008) and Fiallo et al. (2001) report that it is frequently grown in Cuban gardens. It has also been recommended as a green roof plant (Dvorak and Volder, 2011).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Human food and beverage

  • Vegetable

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • garden plant

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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P. pilosa has many similar congeners, and the group is in need of further study on a global basis. In the USA it can be confused with other purple-flowered species, including P. grandiflora, which has flowers wider than 25 mm, P. amilis, which has flattened leaves instead of terete, and the rare endemic P. smallii, with lighter coloured petals and larger seeds. P. okinawensis, a sympatric species that is endemic to the Japanese Ryukyu Islands, differs from P. pilosa in having much smaller stems (to only 10 cm), shorter leaves (to only 8 mm) and no axillary hairs (Kokubugata et al., 2013). 

Prevention and Control

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Chemical Control

P. pilosa can be controlled to some extent with herbicides such as glyphosate. The ability of the species to germinate and produce seed quickly <2 months) makes it very difficult to control effectively. However, Yelverton et al. (2008) report effective control with several post-emergence herbicides including atrazine, metsulfuron-methyl, triclopyr, 2,4-D, clopyralid and fluroxypyr, as well as the mixtures 2,4-D + clopyralid + dicamba and fluroxypyr + dicamba + 2,4-D. In studies of P. oleracea, a congener with a similar life history, Proctor (2013) found that the pre-emergence herbicide isoxaben was effective, and that of 25 post-emergence herbicides the most effective were fluroxypyr, triclopyr, dicamba and metsulfuron-methyl.

Data from surveys carried out throughout the USA indicated that P. pilosa has developed some resistance to herbicides under horticultural situations (Scott et al., 2009).

References

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15/09/2015   Original text by:

Keith Bradley, Consultant, South Carolina, USA

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