Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Rivina humilis
(bloodberry)

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Datasheet

Rivina humilis (bloodberry)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Rivina humilis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • bloodberry
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Native to the tropical and sub-tropical Americas, R. humilis is a perennial herb, which has been widely introduced to the Old World. Introductions have largely been deliberate for ornament, pigment or medicin...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Waihee Coastal Preserve, Maui. June 14, 2012
TitleHabit
CaptionRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Waihee Coastal Preserve, Maui. June 14, 2012
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Waihee Coastal Preserve, Maui. June 14, 2012
HabitRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Waihee Coastal Preserve, Maui. June 14, 2012©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Ualapue, Molokai. May 17, 2005
TitleHabit
CaptionRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Ualapue, Molokai. May 17, 2005
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Ualapue, Molokai. May 17, 2005
HabitRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); habit. Ualapue, Molokai. May 17, 2005©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers and leaves at Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
TitleFlowers and leaves
CaptionRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers and leaves at Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers and leaves at Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
Flowers and leavesRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers and leaves at Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); close-up of flowers.  Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
TitleFlowers
CaptionRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); close-up of flowers. Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); close-up of flowers.  Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
FlowersRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); close-up of flowers. Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flower, fruit and leaves. Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, Florida. September 24, 2009
TitleFlower, fruit and leaves
CaptionRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flower, fruit and leaves. Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, Florida. September 24, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flower, fruit and leaves. Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, Florida. September 24, 2009
Flower, fruit and leavesRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flower, fruit and leaves. Ocean Ridge Hammock Park, Florida. September 24, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers, leaves and fruit. Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
TitleFlowers, leaves and fruit
CaptionRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers, leaves and fruit. Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Rivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers, leaves and fruit. Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009
Flowers, leaves and fruitRivina humilis (coral berry, rouge plant); flowers, leaves and fruit. Kihei, Maui. August 14, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Rivina humilis L.

Preferred Common Name

  • bloodberry

Other Scientific Names

  • Piercea acuminata Raf.
  • Piercea glabra Mill.
  • Piercea obliquata Raf.
  • Piercea tomentosa Mill.
  • Rivina acuminata Raf.
  • Rivina aurantiaca Warsc. Ex Schenk
  • Rivina brasiliensis Nocca
  • Rivina canescens G. Don ex Steud
  • Rivina gracilis Salisb.
  • Rivina laevis L.
  • Rivina lanceolata Willd.
  • Rivina obliquata Raf.
  • Rivina orientalis Moq.
  • Rivina pallida Salisb.
  • Rivina paraguayensis S.Parodi
  • Rivina portulaccoides Nutt.
  • Rivina procumbens Ruiz ex Moq.
  • Rivina puberula Kunth.
  • Rivina purpurascens Schrad.
  • Rivina tetrandra Desf.
  • Rivina viridiflora Bel.
  • Rivina viridis Schmidt in Meyer
  • Solanoides laevis (L.) Moench
  • Solanoides pubescens Moench
  • Solanoides undulata Moench

International Common Names

  • English: rouge plant

Local Common Names

  • : baby pepper
  • : coralito
  • : groseille; petite groseille
  • Australia: coralberry; turkeyberry
  • China: shu zhu shan hu
  • South Africa: bloedbessie; bloodberry
  • Sweden: sminkbär
  • Tonga: polo
  • USA: pigeonberry; turkeyberry

Summary of Invasiveness

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Native to the tropical and sub-tropical Americas, R. humilis is a perennial herb, which has been widely introduced to the Old World. Introductions have largely been deliberate for ornament, pigment or medicinal use and the plant has become invasive in many areas, especially in the Pacific. PIER (2013) records at least 10 territories in which it is classed as invasive and indicates a high risk score of 11. Holm et al. (1979) give it the highest ranking of ‘serious’ as a weed of Melanesia. It is a plant of concern because it is fast-growing, shade-tolerant and competes with indigenous vegetation. Amongst other exotic plants, it also poses a threat to the endangered shrub Corchorus cunninghamii in Australia and the endangered plants Nototrichium humile and Phyllostegia parviflora in Hawaii. Some parts of the plant are also poisonous.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Caryophyllales
  •                         Family: Phytolaccaceae
  •                             Genus: Rivina
  •                                 Species: Rivina humilis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Rivina was previously separated into three species but most authorities now consider only the single variable species R. humilis (Flora Zambesiaca, 2013; Mabberley, 1987). Eight accepted varieties exist including, Rivina humilis var. canescens, Rivina humilis var. glabra, Rivina humilis var. humilis, Rivina humilis var. laevis, Rivina humilis var. orientalis, Rivina humilis var. plumbaginifolia, Rivina humilis var. puberula, Rivina humilis var. scandens (GBIF, 2013; The Plant List, 2013; Tropicos, 2013).

R. humilis was named by Linnaeus in 1753 and his name is still accepted although there have been numerous other synonyms applied, none of which are in current use.

Description

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R. humilis is an herbaceous to woody perennial plant up to about 1 m high. Stems are erect, dichotomously branched, angular, glabrous or slightly pubescent at the nodes. Leaves are elliptic to ovate, up to 12 cm long, long-petioled, the base rounded or attenuate, apex acuminate, glabrous to pubescent above and below, especially along the veins. Leaves are unpleasant-smelling when crushed. Inflorescences are terminal or axillary, up to 15 cm long, erect or curved, slender. Flowers are small, bisexual on pedicels up to 5 mm long, subtended by very small bracts and bracteoles, tepals 4, 2-3 mm long, green, white or pink, persistent; stamens 4. Ovary is superior, ovoid, 1-carpelled, 1-loculed. Style is shorter than the ovary, slightly curved; stigma capitate. The berry is red or orange, 3-4 mm in diameter; seeds furry, 3 mm in diameter. Seema et al. (2011) have also provided detailed descriptions of the morphology and anatomy of the early seedling stages of R. humilis.

Distribution

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The native distribution is restricted to the Americas, extending from Argentina to southern USA. It has been widely introduced to other countries and has become naturalized in much of the Pacific and a small number of countries in Africa and Asia. It has also been introduced to other temperate countries (probably many more than are listed within the distribution table) for use as an ornamental, without escaping from cultivation.

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

Chagos ArchipelagoPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Diego Garcia
ChinaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
-FujianPresentIntroducedFlora of China, 2013
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China, 2013
-ZhejiangPresentIntroducedFlora of China, 2013
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentGBIF, 2013
Cocos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
IndiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGBIF, 2013
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedMukherjee, 2006
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedGaurav and Srivastava, 2009
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-JavaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013; SEAMEO, 2013
-SumatraLocalisedIntroducedSEAMEO, 2013
JapanPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
-Bonin IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
SingaporePresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
TaiwanPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013

Africa

Cape VerdePresentIntroducedFigueiredo, 1995
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
EritreaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedWitt and Luke, 2017
MayottePresentIntroducedGBIF, 2013
MozambiquePresentIntroducedFlora Zambesiaca, 2013
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
SeychellesPresentIntroducedPIER, 2013
South AfricaLocalisedIntroducedGBIF, 2013
TanzaniaPresentGBIF, 2013
UgandaPresentIntroduced Invasive Polhill, 1971; Witt and Luke, 2017
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedFlora Zambesiaca, 2013

North America

MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-ArizonaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ArkansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-FloridaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-NRCS, 2013Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, Kauai Islands
-LouisianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OklahomaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TexasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ArubaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
BahamasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BarbadosPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BelizePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
Cayman IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Costa RicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
CubaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GrenadaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GuadeloupePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GuatemalaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
HaitiPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
JamaicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MartiniquePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MontserratPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Netherlands AntillesPresentGBIF, 2013Curacao
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
PanamaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Puerto RicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Saint LuciaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BoliviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BrazilPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-BahiaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-CearaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-ParaibaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-ParanaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-PernambucoPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
ColombiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
EcuadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Isabela, Volcan, Alceda, Sierra Negra, Santa Cruz, Santiago Islands
French GuianaPresentNativeGBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2013
GuyanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
PeruPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
SurinamePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
UruguayPresentNativeGBIF, 2013
VenezuelaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

Europe

GermanyPresent only in captivity/cultivationGBIF, 2013Aachen
SpainPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGBIF, 2013
SwedenPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGBIF, 2013

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
-New South WalesPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Viti Levu
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Mangareva, Hiva Oa, Tahiti
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Lifou, Ouvea, La Tiga, Amere, Grande, Des Pins Islands
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentWagner et al., 2013
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Nomuka, ‘Eua, Fafa, Tongatapu, Velitoa
TuvaluPresentIntroduced Invasive Swarbrick, 1997; PIER, 2013
VanuatuPresentIntroducedPIER, 2013Aneityum, Efate, Malakula, Tanna Islands

History of Introduction and Spread

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There are few records for the dates of introduction but most of the earliest specimens listed by GBIF (2013) date from the 1970s onwards. The records for India are curious as one is recorded by GBIF (2013) as an isotype collected there in 1812. However, more recent records are extremely sporadic and Mukherjee et al. (2006) indicate that it has only recently been introduced to India from Florida, USA. It has been grown in cultivation in Taiwan for some decades, but has only recently become naturalized (Tseng et al., 2008).

The earliest record of introduction to South Africa was in 1944 as an ornamental (SANBI, 2013).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
South Africa 1944 No No SANBI (2013) Earliest record 1944, as an ornamental
Taiwan   Yes No Tseng et al. (2008) Established by 2008

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction is moderately high, given the various uses of R. humilis as an ornamental, as a source of dyes and of medicinal compounds.

Habitat

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R. humilis is a plant of the wet tropics, found in forests, thickets, on roadsides, and disturbed areas at elevations from sea level to 1700 m. In Hawaii, it is naturalized in dry to mesic, shaded, disturbed areas. In Fiji, it occurs along roadsides, in fields, pastures, gardens, etc., often in shady places. In Tonga, it is a weedy plant of waste areas and in Australia, it usually grows along the edges of rainforests, in clearings or other shaded places on the coastal belt (PIER, 2013). In South Africa, it can be found in forests, along riverbanks and in urban spaces (Henderson, 2001). In Java, it occurs in lightly shaded localities up to 1,450 m altitude.
 

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details
Scrub / shrublands Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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There are few records of crops being infested but it has occurred in coffee in Cuba (Caro et al., 1985) and is reported to be an important weed of oil palm in Sumatra, Indonesia (SEAMEO BIOTROP, 2013).

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Chromosome number has been given variously as 2n = 126 (Flora of China, 2013; Missouri Botanic Graden, 2013) or as 2n = 108 (Flora of North America, 2013; Tang et al., 1996).

Reproductive Biology

Very little information has been found on germination characteristics, but germination can apparently occur without any pretreatment (Vora, 1989). 

Flowering can occur throughout the year given suitable conditions. 

Mathad and Jayaraj (2011) demonstrated growth regulator regimes involving gibberlic acid, naphthalene acetic acid and 2,4-D are suitable for enhancing adventitious root growth in nutrient culture.          

Physiology and Phenology

Zheng et al. (2004) describe details of floral ontogeny and ovary development.

In a detailed study of the woody tissues of a range of Phytolaccaceae, Carlquist (2000) comment that the xeromorphic wood of R. humilis is related to its short duration as a woody herb in disturbed soil that dries readily.

Longevity          

Although it is usually described as a perennial which may be woody, in Australia it is described as a ‘short-lived herb’ (Queensland, 2012).

Environmental Requirements

R. humilis is predominantly a species of the moist tropics. Generally, it requires less than partial sun and is tolerant of full shade. It is also tolerant of a range of soil types and of salt spray and saline soils. Furthermore, the plant is frost-tolerant down to -18°C (USDA Hardiness Zone 7a) (DavesGarden, 2013).

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

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
36 30

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Cyanophrys goodsoni Predator Adults not specific N
Eudarluca caricis Pathogen not specific
Meloidogyne Predator Adults not specific N
Meloidogyne incognita Predator Adults not specific N

Notes on Natural Enemies

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R. humilis is apparently susceptible to certain rust species, as Rodriguez et al. (2001) report that Eudarluca caricis, a hyperparasitic fungus on pustules of various rust species occurs on one or more rust species attacking R. humilis.

Meloidogyne wartellei attacks R. humilis in Florida, USA (Mead, 1987). Also in Cuba, R. humilis is lightly attacked by an unspecified Meloidogyne species.

R. humilis is a host plant for the lepidopteran Cyanophrys goodsoni (Butterflies of America, 2013).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

It can be dispersed naturally in water or via mud attached to vehicles.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

R. humilis is mainly dispersed by birds feeding on the fruits. In Pisonia grandis forests on the Cocos Islands, the plant is widespread and in high densities in the understory mainly because birds also collect the tops of this plant (with fruit) for nest-building material (Claussen and Slip, 2002). A mass carpet of R. humilis quickly forms when seeds are spread through an area after being eaten by pigeons, quails and brush turkeys (Queensland, 2013).

It may also be spread on the feet of grazing livestock.

Intentional Introduction

R. humilis is liable to be introduced deliberately as an ornamental.

Impact Summary

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

Economic Impact

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R. humilis is recorded as a weed of coffee in Cuba (Caro et al.,1985) and as an ‘important’ weed of oil palm in Sumatra, Indonesia (SEAMEO BIOTROP, 2013), but there are no estimates of the economic harm caused.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

R. humilis is fast growing and forms dense persistent swards, especially in shaded situations. It can, therefore, significantly modify the habitat at the detriment of native vegetation.

Impact on Biodiversity

The plant has become invasive in many areas, especially in the Pacific. PIER (2013) records at least ten territories in which it is classed as invasive and indicates a high risk score of 11. Holm et al. (1979) give it the highest ranking of ‘serious’ as a weed of Melanesia. 

In Australia, exotic weed species including R. humilis pose a threat to the endangered shrub Corchorus cunninghamii through competition and habitat alteration (Saunders, 2001). 

In Hawaii, the endangered plants Nototrichium humile and Phyllostegia parviflora are threatened by a range of introduced species including R. humilis (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008a, b). 

In South Africa, it threatens plants that grow at lower altitude in forests. Furthermore, following a disturbance to the natural vegetation, this plant interferes with the re-establishment of native forest vegetation as it forms dense monocultural stands (SANBI, 2013). 

Bird life can also be affected. A mass carpet of R. humilis quickly forms when the berries drop to the ground and germinate or seeds are spread through the area after being eaten by pigeons, quails and brush turkeys. If unchecked, this weed can displace native understory plants and prevent species, such as the rare black-breasted button-quail (Turnix melanogaster) from foraging on the forest floor (Queensland, 2013).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Corchorus cunninghamiiNational list(s) National list(s)South AfricaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringSaunders, 2001
Nototrichium humile (kaala rockwort)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008a
Phyllostegia parviflora (smallflower phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008b

Social Impact

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The entire plant is poisonous, especially the leaves. Although, birds are able to eat the berries without ill-effect and Khan et al. (2011) found extracts of the berries were not toxic to rats. However, the berries are somewhat poisonous to humans (SANBI, 2013).

Consumption of the fruit produces numbness of the mouth, within 2 hours with a feeling of warmth in the throat and stomach. This is followed by coughing, thirst, tiredness with yawning, and subsequent vomiting and diarrhoea (sometimes bloody). The roots and leaves contain larger amounts of toxin than the rest of the plant (Nellis, 1987).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Poisoning

Uses

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R. humilis is cultivated as an ornamental in warm regions throughout the world and is also valued as a shade-tolerant groundcover plant. It is also grown as a houseplant and in greenhouses. Juice made from the berries has been used as a dye for fabrics and cosmetics, and as an ink. The berries contain a pigment known as rivianin or rivinianin, very similar to betanin, the pigment found in beetroot (Beta vulgaris). The fruit and pods are used for colouring fabrics in Cape Verde (Figueiredo, 1995).

It has been used as a folk medicine to treat colds, diarrhoea, difficult urination, flatulence, gonorrhoea, jaundice and ovarian pain (Nellis, 1987).

Khan et al. (2012) identified ten betalain pigments, including betaxanthins and betacyanins and confirmed significant antioxidant activities among both, and cytotoxicity from betaxanthins. Khan et al. (2011) had previously confirmed that extracts of the berries were not toxic to rats. The juice of the berries has been tested in male rats and is reported to be safe to consume.

It has also been shown to have significant juvenile hormone analogue activity on the southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus (Neraliya and Ratna, 2004).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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R. humilis has superficial resemblance to species in the related genera in the family Phytolacaceae. However, it can be distinguished from species of Phytolacca by having only one carpel in the ovary, whereas Phytolacca has at least five. It also has only four tepals while Phytolacca usually has five, though this is not a completely reliable character. The tepals are all free in R. humilis while in Hilleria three of the tepals are fused. Hilleria also has dry fruit rather than juicy berries (Polhill, 1971).

Prevention and Control

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

SPS Measures

In South Africa, R. humilis is classified as a Category 1 weed (Henderson, 2001; Invasive Species South Africa, 2013).

This species is currently listed on the Plant Threats to Pacific Ecosystems and is also listed as a weed in Queensland by the DPI (PIER, 2013).

Physical/Mechanical Control

Claussen and Slip (2002) comment that it will be ‘difficult to eradicate from Pulu Keeling’ (in the Cocos Islands) ‘due to its high density, wide distribution and its association with nesting-building birds. If eradication is attempted it will require considerable resources and an intensive effort, especially in terms of time and people.’

Chemical Control

Diuron plus paraquat were recommended for use in coffee in Cuba (Caro et al., 1985).

In Hawaii, it has proved sensitive to MCPA and triclopyr but re-treatment may be needed (Motooka et al., 2003).

Fluroxypyr is registered for use in controlling the species in Australia (Queensland, 2012).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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There is a lack of information on many aspects of this species, including its germination behaviour, its phenology in early stages of establishment, the longevity of the seeds, seed production and the longevity of the plant, and its response to herbicides.

References

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Butterflies of America, 2013. Interactive Listing of American Butterflies. Butterflies of America Foundation. http://butterfliesofamerica.com/intro.htm

Carlquist S, 2000. Wood and stem anatomy of phytolaccoid and rivinoid Phytolaccaceae (Caryophyllales): ecology, systematics, nature of successive cambia. Aliso, 19(1):13-29

Caro P, Huepp G, Ramos R, 1985. Chemical weed control in coffee plantations over two years old planted in mountain areas under shade. (Control químico de malezas en plantaciones de café con más de dos años de plantados en condiciones de montaña y bajo sombra.) Ciencia y Técnica en la Agricultura, Café y Cacao, 7(1):7-16

Claussen J, Slip D, 2002. The Status of Exotic Plants on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean. Report to Parks Australia North, Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Christmas Island, Australia: Parks Australia North. http://www.ga.gov.au/webtemp/image_cache/GA21007.pdf

Dave's Garden, 2013. Dave's Garden. California, USA: Internet Brands. http://davesgarden.com/

Figueiredo E, 1995. Cape Verde flora. Vascular plants. Phytolaccaceae. (Flora de Cabo Verde. Plantas vasculares. Phytolaccaceae.) Flora de Cabo Verde, No. 10. Lisboa, Portugal: Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical, 11 pp

Flora of China, 2013. Flora of China. http://www.efloras.org/

Flora of North America, 2013. Flora of North America. FNA. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1

Flora Zambesiaca, 2013. Flora Zambesiaca, 10(4). Kew, UK: Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. http://apps.kew.org/efloras/search.do

Gaurav Srivastava, Srivastava SN, 2009. New records for the flora of Azamgarh district, U.P. Journal of Applied Bioscience, 35(1):82-85

GBIF, 2013. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). http://data.gbif.org/species/

Henderson L, 2001. Alien weeds and invasive plants. Plant Protection Research Instuitute Handbook No. 12. Pretoria, South Africa: Agricultural Research Council, 300 pp

Holm LG, Pancho JV, Herberger JP, Plucknett DL, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 391 pp

Invasive Species South Africa, 2013. Bloodberry Rivina humilis., South Africa: Invasive Species South Africa. http://www.invasives.org.za/invasive-species/item/327-bloodberryrivina-humilis.html

Khan MI, Harsha PSCS, Giridhar P, Ravishankar GA, 2012. Pigment identification, nutritional composition, bioactivity, and in vitro cancer cell cytotoxicity of Rivina humilis L. berries, potential source of betalains. LWT - Food Science and Technology, 47(2):315-323. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00236438

Khan MI, Joseph KMD, Muralidhara, Ramesh HP, Giridhar P, Ravishankar GA, 2011. Acute, subacute and subchronic safety assessment of betalains rich Rivina humilis L. berry juice in rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49(12):3154-3157. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/02786915

Mabberley DJ, 1987. The Plant Book. A portable Dictionary of the Higher Plants. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 707 pp

Mathad GV, Jayaraj M, 2011. Effect of plant growth regulators on induction of adventitious roots from different explants of Rivina humilis L. Bioscience Discovery Journal, 2(2):275-280. http://www.biosciencediscovery.com/attachments/File/forms/Mathad.pdf

Mead FW, 1987. Bureau of Nematology. Tri-ology Technical Report, 26(7):8-9

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013. Tropicos database. St Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Motooka P, Castro L, Nelson D, Nagai G, Ching L, 2003. Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas; an identification and management guide. Manoa, Hawaii, USA: College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii

Mukherjee S, 2006. An unknown dye-yielding herb from open-cast mine of Umrer (Maharashtra). In: Natural dyes: scope and challenges [ed. by Daniel, M.\Bhattacharya, S. D.\Arya, A.\Raole, V. M.]. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers (India), 219-221

Nellis DW, 1987. Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Florida, USA: Pineapple Press, 315 pp

Neraliya S, Ratna Gaur, 2004. Juvenoid activity in plant extracts against filarial mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus. Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Sciences, 26(1):34-38

PIER, 2013. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Polhill RM, 1971. Phytolaccaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa. London, UK: Crown Agents, 8 pp

Queensland Goverment, 2012. Non-declared Pest Plant. Baby pepper, coral berry, Rivina humilis, Fact Sheet PP74. Queensland, Australia: The State of Queensland. http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/documents/Biosecurity_EnvironmentalPests/IPA-Baby-Pepper-Coral-Berry-PP74.pdf

Queensland Government, 2013. Coominglah State Forest - Nature, culture and history. Queensland, Australia: Queensland Government, Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. http://nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/coominglah/culture.html

Rodríguez Hernández M, Minter DW, Castañeda Ruíz RF, 2001. Eudarluca caricis. [Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria]. IMI Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria, No. 149. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, Sheet 1484

Rogers GK, 1985. The genera of Phytolaccaceae in the Southeastern United States. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 66(1):1-37

SANBI, 2013. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Biodiversity for life. Pretoria, South Africa: South African National Biodiversity Institute

Saunders M, 2001. National recovery plan for the Endangered Native Jute Species, Corchorus cunninghamii F. Muell. in Queensland (2001-2006). Queensland, Australia: Rainforest Ecotone Recovery Team (RERT) Environment Australia. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/c-cunninghamii/background.html

SEAMEO BIOTROP, 2013. Invasive Alien Species. Rivina humiolis. Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Tropical Biology. http://biotrop.org/database.php?act=dbias&page=5

Seema Anand, Vijai Malik, Pranita, 2011. Seedling morphology of Rivina humilis L. (Phytolaccaceae). Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany, 35(1):3-5. http://www.indianperiodical.in

Swarbrick JT, 1997. Weeds of the Pacific Islands. Technical paper No. 209. Noumea, New Caledonia: South Pacific Commission

Tang CL, Ke P, Lu DQ, Zhou LH, Wu CG, 1996. Phytolaccaceae. Flora of China, 26 [ed. by Tang, C. L.]. Beijing, China: Science Press, 15-20

The Plant List, 2013. The Plant List: a working list of all plant species. Version 1.1. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.theplantlist.org

Tropicos, 2012. Tropicos. Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org

Tseng YenHsueh, Wang ChihChiang, Chen YunTsao, 2008. Rivina humilis L. (Phytolaccaceae), a newly naturalized plant in Taiwan. Taiwania, 53(4):417-419. http://tai2.ntu.edu.tw/taiwania

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008. Kulu`i (Nototrichium humile) 5-Year Review Summary and Evaluation. Hawaii, USA: US Fish and Wildlife Service, 11 pp. http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc1857.pdf

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008. Phyllostegia parviflora (No common name) 5-Year Review Summary and Evaluation., USA: US Fish and Wildlife Service, 12 pp

USDA-ARS, 2013. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

USDA-NRCS, 2013. Plants Database. USA: United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Office. http://plants.usda.gov/java/

Vora RS, 1989. Seed germination characteristics of selected native plants of the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Journal of Range Management, 42(1):36-40

Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Weitzman A, Lorence DH, 2013. Flora of Micronesia. Washington, DC, USA: National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/pacificislandbiodiversity/micronesia/index.htm

Witt, A., Luke, Q., 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa, [ed. by Witt, A., Luke, Q.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI.vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 doi:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Zheng HongChun, Lu AnMin, Hu ZhengHai, 2004. Floral ontogeny of Rivina humilis (Phytolaccaceae). Acta Botanica Boreali-Occidentalia Sinica, 24(3):476-483

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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30/03/2013 Original text by:

Chris Parker, Bristol, UK

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