Invasive Species Compendium

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Tibouchina herbacea
(cane tibouchina)

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Datasheet

Tibouchina herbacea (cane tibouchina)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tibouchina herbacea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • cane tibouchina
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Tibouchina herbacea is a perennial herb or subshrub which is native to South America and has been introduced to Hawaii (probably as an ornamental), where it is known as a high risk (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Kopiliula, Maui. July 13, 2004
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Kopiliula, Maui. July 13, 2004
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Kopiliula, Maui. July 13, 2004
HabitTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Kopiliula, Maui. July 13, 2004©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011
HabitTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit and close view of foliage. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit and close view of foliage. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit and close view of foliage. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011
HabitTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); habit and close view of foliage. Waihee Ridge Trail, Maui. July 22, 2011©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
TitleFlowers
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
FlowersTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina; flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
TitleClose-up of flowers
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina; flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina; flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
Close-up of flowersTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina; flowers at Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); developing seed-heads and leaves. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009
TitleDeveloping seed-heads and leaves
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); developing seed-heads and leaves. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); developing seed-heads and leaves. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009
Developing seed-heads and leavesTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); developing seed-heads and leaves. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); close-up of developing seed-heads. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009
TitleDeveloping seed-heads
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); close-up of developing seed-heads. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); close-up of developing seed-heads. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009
Developing seed-headsTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree, cane Tibouchina); close-up of developing seed-heads. Kapunakea Preserve, West Maui, Maui. February 26, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree); seedlings. Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
TitleSeedlings
CaptionTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree); seedlings. Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree); seedlings. Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011
SeedlingsTibouchina herbacea (herbaceous glorytree); seedlings. Makamakaole, Maui. September 24, 2011©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tibouchina herbacea (DC.) Cogn.

Preferred Common Name

  • cane tibouchina

Other Scientific Names

  • Arthrostemma herbaceum DC.
  • Arthrostemma hirsutissimum DC.
  • Pterolepis herbacea (DC.) Triana

International Common Names

  • English: cane ti; glorybush; herbaceous glorybush; herbaceous glorytree; tibouchina; tibouchinati

Summary of Invasiveness

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Tibouchina herbacea is a perennial herb or subshrub which is native to South America and has been introduced to Hawaii (probably as an ornamental), where it is known as a high risk (HPWRA, 2006) invasive species, impacting forests since the 1990s (PIER, 2013), after first being recorded around 1977. It can clog waterways and infest wet, upland pastures and rainforest; its main impact is in forests where it has become locally dominant and threatens at least 12 endangered species. It thrives in disturbed or open wet and mesic sites, but germinates easily in shade, establishing significant populations in forests with an intact canopy and other shady sites. It is dispersed by foot and vehicle traffic along roads, and more widely by rodents and birds, while within established sites it spreads clonally, and plant fragments can resprout after cutting. Plants are self-compatible, fruits are numerous, seeds are small, and it forms a seed bank of unknown persistence. New populations have recently been detected on islands where it was unknown previously, probably as a hitchhiker on plant materials moved to Oahu and Molokai from the Big Island (Hawaii island). All members of the genus Tibouchina are regulated as noxious weeds for importation purposes by the State of Hawaii (HDOA, 1992).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Melastomataceae
  •                             Genus: Tibouchina
  •                                 Species: Tibouchina herbacea

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Tibouchina herbacea (cane tibouchina) is a member of a genus made up of 240 taxa. Congeners occur from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, and except for introductions elsewhere the genus is restricted to the New World; many similar species occur in Brazil (Drummond et al., 2008; GBIF, 2013; Pedrosa-Macedo et al., 2000; Renner, 1993). Closely related genera include Heteropyxis, Pternandra (Stone, 2006), Marcetia, Desmoscelis, Nepsera, Rhynchanthera and Arthrostemma (Penneys et al., 2010). Arthrostemma was the genus name given on the original type specimen. Tibouchina herbacea was not included in any of the phylogenetic studies examined by the author of this report, and no nucleotide data was available from the National Center for Biotechnology Information database (as of May 2013).

Description

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"Herbs or subshrubs up to 1 m tall [according to Almasi (2000), T. herbacea can grow up to 4m tall]; young branches quadrate, densely covered with spreading, simple, usually gland-tipped hairs. Leaves ovate to oblong-ovate, 3-7.5 cm long, 1.3-3.5 cm wide, 5 (-7)-nerved with lateral primary veins confluent for 2-4 mm at base of blade, both surfaces moderately strigose, the hairs on upper surface adnate part of their length to the leaf surface, margins serrulate, apex acute, base rounded, petioles 3-10 mm long. Inflorescences 10-20 cm long (incl. peduncle), bracts and bracteoles elliptic to broadly ovate, 1-3.5 mm long, 1-2 mm wide at base, tardily deciduous, ciliolate; hypanthium covered with spreading, simple, gland-tipped hairs; calyx lobes erect, deltate to ovate, 2-3 mm long, 1-2 mm wide at base, ciliolate; petals 4, pink, 6-11 mm long, 5-6 mm wide; larger anthers yellow, 2.5-4 mm long, with prolonged connective and appendage collectively ca. 0.5 mm long, smaller anthers 2-3 mm long, with shorter connective and appendage but otherwise as in larger anthers. Fruiting hypanthium 4-5 mm long, 3.5-5 mm wide. Seeds 0.25-0.5 mm long"; (Wagner et al., 1999, in PIER, 2013).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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T. herbacea is native to southern Brazil, north-eastern Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. It is known as an invader only in Hawaii.

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

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroducedprior to 1979 Invasive Frohlich and Lau, 2007Recently found on Oahu and Molokai; well established invader on Hawaii, Maui and Lanai

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014Corrientes, Entre Rios, Misiones
BoliviaWidespreadNative Not invasive GBIF, 2013
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Minas GeraisPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
-ParanaPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
-Santa CatarinaPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
-Sao PauloPresentNative Not invasive USDA-ARS, 2014
EcuadorPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
ParaguayWidespreadNative Not invasive GBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2014
UruguayWidespreadNative Not invasive GBIF, 2013; USDA-ARS, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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Originally from South America, T. herbacea has been introduced to Hawaii, possibly as an ornamental, although it is a poor ornamental compared to some congeners, being one of the least showy of the glory bushes (the name given to several ornamental shrubs in the genus). It was first collected in wet forests on the islands of Hawaii and Maui in 1977 and 1982. It was detected and recognized as established on Lanai in 1992 (Bishop Museum, 2013; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995), and on Molokai  where it was first collected in 2003 (Bishop Museum, 2013; Wysong et al., 2007). It is still controlled by The Nature Conservancy on Molokai when found. It has been regarded as a locally abundant invader of both disturbed and undisturbed mesic to wet forests and open areas with impeded drainage on Lanai, Maui and Hawaii islands since the late 1990s (Almasi, 2000; Wagner et al., 1999). It was not regarded as established on the island of Oahu in 2005 when a few plants were discovered and removed from the site at Poamoho (Bishop Museum, 2013; Frohlich and Lau, 2007); however, seedlings continue to be found there, and removed (Danielle Frohlich, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, personal communication, 2013).

Its spread within the Hawaiian archipelago is presumed to have been accidental – see ‘Movement and Dispersal’ section. On Oahu the introduction appears to have been associated with interisland movement of native tree ferns for the purposes of restoration planting (Frohlich and Lau, 2007), which raises the possibility of other undetected plants or populations at other sites where tree ferns were transplanted from Hawaii to other Hawaiian islands.

Risk of Introduction

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Propagules and whole plants are likely to be moved from infested sites to uninfested sites via the sale and movement of ornamental plants, household goods, containers, construction equipment and vehicles. These are the most likely human mediated pathways (Almasi, 2000; Frohlich and Lau, 2007; Loope and Helweg, 2004; Wysong et al., 2007). Rats and birds are also implicated as dispersers (Almasi, 2000). Deliberate introductions of the plants as an ornamental species is also possible. All members of the genus Tibouchina are regulated as noxious weeds for importation purposes by the State of Hawaii  (HDOA, 1992). The family Melastomataceae receives a lot of attention from regulators in Hawaii -- two other genera and one other species are also listed.

Habitat

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Wet to mesic forests, wetlands, wet pastures and roadsides are common habitats in the native and introduced ranges of the species (Almasi, 2000; Pedrosa-Macedo et al., 2000). It is also known to grow epiphytically on tree ferns and can establish as weed in a covered nursery setting and potentially in greenhouses (C. Buddenhagen, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA, personal observation).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Protected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Natural
Freshwater
Irrigation channels Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

No information is available on the chromosome number of T. herbacea or its phylogenetic relationship to other taxa in the genus.

Reproductive Biology

In Hawaii the plant flowers from late August to January, i.e. late summer to winter (Almasi, 2000). Pollination rates were higher in open sites, as was seed production, compared to those sites with high canopy cover (Almasi, 2000). In Hawaii the plants are prolific seeders, requiring continually moist conditions to germinate (Pedrosa-Macedo et al., 2000). Each 5mm wide capsule (fruiting hypanthium) produces 163-168 seeds and each plant has an average of 3 and 21 capsules each in forested and unforested habitats respectively (Almasi, 2000). Such high productivity is offset by germination rates below 1%, but establishment was possible in most sites with wet conditions required for establishment (regardless of canopy cover).

Like many other species of Tibouchina, T. herbacea is self-compatible (Almasi, 2000; Santos et al., 2012), although pollination rates have been found to be significantly lower in sites under a canopy; this pattern was attributed to reduced pollinator activity (Almasi, 2000), suggesting that insect pollination is more effective than self-pollination.

It can reproduce vegetatively by growing roots along its leaf nodes, or producing new shoots from rhizomes (Almasi, 2000).

Associations

This plant is associated with a large suite of species that are common in wet forests, wetlands, pastures and disturbed sites in its native and introduced range.

Environmental Requirements

High levels of moisture are required for germination. Although high light and disturbance favour establishment, the establishment of plants under a full canopy and with dense ground cover, e.g. ferns, is not uncommon; this enable the establishment of significant populations in forests with an intact canopy.

The range in of the species in Hawaii might be considered tropical to subtropical due to some of the high altitude occurrences there.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
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]))

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
21 30

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anthonomus opius Herbivore
Anthonomus partiarius Herbivore
Lius Herbivore Leaves
Passalora tibouchinae Pathogen
Pseudocercospora subsynnematosa Pathogen
Schreckensteinia Herbivore Leaves to genus
Syphrea uberabensis Herbivore

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A large number of closely related species are found in Brazil. Common garden experiments showed that the species in Hawaii behaved differently from most Brazilian material (Pedrosa-Macedo et al., 2000); Brazilian plants occur in similar habitats such as abandoned pastures and along wet roadsides, or riparian areas of rivers, but there they never form large monotypic thickets, which might indicate the impact of natural enemies. The authors of that paper do however point out that 'This study is complicated by the wide diversity of closely related herbaceous Tibouchina species in Brazil. None of these species are exactly like T. herbacea'; but they identify a small number of insect natural enemies including Schreckensteinia sp. (Lepidoptera: Schreckensteiniidae), Syphrea uberabensis (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae), Anthonomus opius and A. partiarius (Curculionidae: Sibinae), and Lius sp. (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) (the Chrysomelidae are known as 'leaf beetles'). Schreckensteinia is a leaf-skeletonizer that only attacks herbaceous Tibouchina species; however, it is very susceptible to the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria, and might not be suitable for biological control in Hawaii due to the presence of several generalist lepidopteran parasitoids. The authors also mention a large geometrid whose larvae mimic the stems, either purple or green, and which is a voracious defoliator.

Souder (2008) concluded that S. uberabensis might be suitable for biological control in Hawaii because, although not specific to T. herbacea, it is specific to the family Melastomataceae, which contains no species native to Hawaii, and many that are noxious weeds there.

A study by Parreira et al. (2014) found numerous fungal species associated with T. herbacea in Brazil, and identified Passalora tibouchinae and Pseudocercospora subsynnematosa as potential biological control agents because they caused severe disease.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

It is not clear to what extent seeds might be associated with the movement of water, but it is not uncommon for the species to grow in ditches and along streams or rivers in Hawaii and Brazil. There is every reason to expect that water-mediated dispersal can occur.

Within sites, T. herbacea spreads vegetatively (Almasi, 2000).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

Rats and birds are claimed to be dispersers in Hawaii despite the fact that the plant does not produce fleshy fruit (Almasi, 2000; Motooka et al., 2003). Areas disturbed by pigs are often completely taken over by this plant (Chris Buddenhagen, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA, personal communication, 2013); pigs seem likely to spread the seeds externally and could conceivably spread fragments, which are known to resprout.

Accidental Introduction

It is possible that the introduction of the species to Hawaii was accidental, associated with the nursery trade via contamination of planting materials, although it may well have been intentional. The introduction of this plant to Oahu, Molokai and Lanai in Hawaii was probably accidental (Frohlich and Lau, 2007; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995; Wysong et al., 2007). On Oahu the introduction appears to have been associated with interisland movement of native tree ferns for the purposes of restoration planting (Frohlich and Lau, 2007).

Spread of the species within islands is blamed in part on human foot and vehicular traffic – it establishes along trails and roads (Almasi, 2000). This raises the possibility of it moving between islands by the same means, and interisland movement of containers, pallets and vehicles is difficult to regulate – inspections are inadequate, and even if they were much better they could not be 100% effective (Loope and Helweg, 2004).

Mowing along roadsides is known to spread fragments of Tibouchina urvilleana which establish new plants, a similar means of spread is possible for roadsides wherever T. herbacea occurs.

Intentional Introduction

The whole Tibouchina genus is regarded as high risk and has been deemed to be noxious by regulators in the state of Hawaii (HDOA, 1992). This is means it is not legal for import. Of course this was not in place at the time that several species of ornamental Tibouchina (also called glorybush) taxa were introduced. However, it is not clear that T. herbacea was introduced intentionally for sale (Almasi, 2000) -- it is the least attractive of the Tibouchina plants known in Hawaii. On balance it seems likely that its introduction was intentional or at least associated with the nursery trade via contamination of planting materials.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escapeLikely introduced as an ornamental to Hawaii; could contaminate other plants grown with it Yes Yes Almasi, 2000
HitchhikerFound on tree tern trunks imported to Oahu from Hawaii island. A likely contaminant of potted plants Yes Yes Frohlich and Lau, 2007
Ornamental purposesMay have been introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental Yes Frohlich and Lau, 2007

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AircraftPossibly more frequent at helicopter landing sites (C. Buddenhagen, personal communication, 2013) Yes Yes
Clothing, footwear and possessionsFrequent along trails Yes Yes Almasi, 2000
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesMowing could spread plant fragments which can resprout Yes Yes Almasi, 2000
Host and vector organismsRats and birds Yes Almasi, 2000; Motooka et al., 2003
Land vehiclesFrequent along roadsides. Possibly more frequent at helicopter landing sites. Yes Yes Almasi, 2000
Plants or parts of plantsWith tree ferns transported between Hawaiian Islands Yes Frohlich and Lau, 2007

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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No information is available on economic impacts of T. herbacea, either in terms of lost productivity or in terms of costs incurred. Control costs would be related to efforts to improve pastures (cows do not eat it – Pedroso-Macedo et al., 2000) and clear waterways, or in the context of threatened plant protection. It can also establish as weed in a covered nursery setting and potentially in greenhouses (C. Buddenhagen, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA, personal communication, 2014).

Environmental Impact

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Acting in concert with a suite of other introduced species T. herbacea has altered the species composition in open and slightly open wet and mesic sites in Hawaii by becoming a new dominant species there. This is particularly significant in the remaining relatively intact high altitude forests of the islands of Hawaii and Maui. It has been identified as a threat to at least 12 endangered species. Since it occurs in high density stands, it is likely to affect successional patterns of the dominant forest trees in mesic and wet habitats of Hawaii. For example Metrosideros polymorpha and Acacia koa both benefit from disturbance for their regeneration but their establishment could be adversely affected by monotypic stands of T. herbacea. No studies specifically separate this plant’s impacts on successional pathways or regeneration from those of other taxa. The situation in Hawaii is generally bleak with many dominant forest species being demonstrably unable to compete with invasive species that form large seed banks (Cordell et al., 2009).

T. herbacea can also clog waterways (Almasi, 2000).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Clermontia lindseyanaEN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010
Clermontia peleanaUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008
Cyanea duvalliorumUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingOppenheimer, 2008
Cyanea gibsoniiCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Cyanea maritaeUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingOppenheimer, 2008
Cyanea mceldowneyiUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1997
Cyrtandra munroiUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Gahnia lanaiensisUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis (ulihi phyllostegia)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Pteris lydgatei (Lidgate's brake)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009
Santalum lanaienseUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Viola lanaiensis (Hawaii violet)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingHavran et al., 2012; US Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995

Social Impact

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It is not clear to what extent Hawaiians generally value an unmodified intact native forest, but much of their ancestral language, beliefs and traditions are linked to Hawaiian forest species. In practice it seems that as along as a species is useful it is seen as acceptable, but the fact that T. herbacea has no known use might suggest that it negatively impacts a valued aspect of their culture.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Interaction with other invasive species
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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T. herbacea is likely to have been introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental plant, although it is a poor ornamental compared to some congeners, being one of the least showy of the glory bushes (the name given to several ornamental shrubs in the genus).

Diagnosis

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No laboratory techniques are available for testing and screening.

Detection and Inspection

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There are no special methods for detection of T. herbacea that might be carried out in the field or inspection at ports of entry. Few keys are available for the multiple species in the genus, except that by Drummond et al. (2008).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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In a study of natural enemies in Brazil, Pedrosa-Macedo et al. (2000) claim that there are many similar congeners (but that none have the same stature or tendency to form monotypic stands, implying a possible impact of natural enemies).

Few keys are available for the genus; one (in Portuguese) contains several species of Tibouchina including T. herbacea (Drummond et al., 2008).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

SPS measures

The genus is regulated in Hawaii (importation not allowed) and could be similarly regulated in other tropical locations.

Rapid response

On Oahu in Hawaii the site of a newly detected population is visited regularly for weeding.

Public awareness

There has been an effort to improve people’s awareness about the benefits and low risks associated with biological control efforts generally. This could help in terms of getting approval to release future biological control agents should they be found and meet safety requirements. In addition, more could be done to improve voluntary efforts to prevent the spread of weed seeds between islands in Hawaii, but such efforts are unlikely to be 100% effective. A focus on the landscape and ornamental plant industries could be relatively important; such efforts have already been implemented by the Hawaii Department of Transportation which is a major buyer of landscape plants, and also moves heavy equipment between islands (Hawaii Department of Transportation, 2012).

Eradication

An incipient population of the plant on Oahu island, Hawaii, is subject to regular weeding efforts that may prevent its spread and establishment there.

Control

Cultural control and sanitary measures

Sanitation practices are practiced by conservation workers in Hawaii and involve the use of site specific camping and hiking gear in the most pristine sites, and the cleaning of boots.

Physical/mechanical control

Seedlings can be controlled by hand pulling.

Movement control

The movement of contaminated footwear, clothes, equipment, vehicles, aircraft, tanks, plant materials, etc. should be prevented. Conservation workers often use new or designated clothes and camping equipment for the most pristine sites. Military personnel should clean vehicles and equipment from training areas where the plant occurs.

Movement of containers, pallets and vehicles between islands is difficult to regulate; inspections are inadequate, and even if they were much better they could not be 100% effective (Loope and Helweg, 2004).

Biological control

No biological control has been initiated against T. herbacea, although some effort has gone into a search for natural enemies in its native range (Pedrosa-Macedo et al., 2000; Pedrosa-Macedo, 2004; Wikler and Souza, 2008; Parreira et al. 2014), and some research has been done in Hawaii (Smith, 2000). The beetle Syphrea uberabensis has been tested in quarantine by the Institute of Pacific Island Forestry, and in 2002 the beetle Lius poseidon, released in 1988 to control Clidemia hirta (another invasive member of the Melastomataceae), was observed on T. herbacea (PIER, 2014). See the 'Notes on Natural enemies' section for more information about natural enemies.

Biological control appears to be the only remaining potential way to bring about significant changes to the spread and dominance of this plant in Hawaii.

Chemical control

Motooka et al (2003) reported a number of methods for herbicidal control of T. herbacea. Undiluted triclopyr ester applied to the stem base was reported to provide 100% kill. Triclopyr amine was reported to be effective in foliar sprays with a surfactant and in cut-stump treatments. Based on work with other members of the Melastomataceae, the authors suggested that the plant was probably sensitive to 2,4-D, dicamba, triclopyr, and metsulfuron. Foliar application of glyphosate at an appropriate dilution in water has also been reported to be effective.

Ecosystem restoration

Limiting animal or other disturbance, e.g. by controlling populations or fencing, or avoiding unnecessary removal of plant cover through weed control, are likely to be beneficial in forested situations because this provides fewer opportunities for establishment of T. herbacea. This will not prevent its establishment in many sites, due to its partial tolerance to shade and prolific seeding, but it could reduce its ability to dominate those sites (Almasi, 2000). Efforts to facilitate the establishment of a full closed canopy could also reduce the likelihood of high density stands forming.

References

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Almasi KN, 2000. A non-native perennial invades a native forest. Biological Invasions, 2:219-230.

Baruch Z; Pattison RR; Goldstein G, 2000. Responses to light and water availability of four invasive Melastomataceae in the Hawaiian islands. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 161(1):107-118.

Bishop Museum, 2013. Bishop Museum Natural Science Databases. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. http://nsdb.bishopmuseum.org

Cordell S; Ostertag R; Rowe B; Sweinhart L; Vasquez-Radonic L; Michaud J; Cole TC; Schulten JR, 2009. Evaluating barriers to native seedling establishment in an invaded Hawaiian lowland wet forest. Biological Conservation, 142(12):2997-3004.

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HDOA, 1992. Hawaii Administrative Rules. Chapter 68. Noxious Weed Rules. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: Hawaii Department of Agriculture, 14 pp.

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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.

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Parreira DF; Silva M da; Pereira OL; Soares DJ; Barreto RW, 2014. Cercosporoid hyphomycetes associated with Tibouchina herbacea (Melastomataceae) in Brazil. Mycological Progress, 13(3):691-702. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11557-013-0952-0

Pedrosa-Macedo JH, 2004. Progress on weed biocontrol projects in Paraná State, Brazil: targeting plants that are invasive in Brazil and elsewhere in the world. In: Proceedings of the XI International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds, Canberra, Australia, 27 April - 2 May, 2003 [ed. by Cullen, J. M.\Briese, D. T.\Kriticos, D. J.\Lonsdale, W. M.\Morin, L.\Scott, J. K.]. Canberra, Australia: CSIRO Entomology, 310-314.

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Contributors

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27/05/2013: Original text by:

Christopher Buddenhagen, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

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