Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Merremia aegyptia
(hairy woodrose)

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Datasheet

Merremia aegyptia (hairy woodrose)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 02 October 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Merremia aegyptia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • hairy woodrose
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Merremia aegyptia is an annual climbing herb that acts as a pioneer species in disturbed sites in tropical regions. It is considered a weed in most countries where it occurs and it has been included in the Glob...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing small plant with flowers on beach. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing small plant with flowers on beach. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing small plant with flowers on beach. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
HabitMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing small plant with flowers on beach. Honokanaia, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Hulopoe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Hulopoe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Hulopoe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2007.
HabitMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Hulopoe, Lanai, Hawaii, USA. April 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit on waste-ground. Puerto Rico. October 2013.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit on waste-ground. Puerto Rico. October 2013.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit on waste-ground. Puerto Rico. October 2013.
HabitMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit on waste-ground. Puerto Rico. October 2013.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing leaves. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing leaves. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing leaves. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
HabitMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, showing leaves. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, with plant growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, with plant growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2016
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, with plant growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.
HabitMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit, with plant growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2016
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
HabitMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); habit. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of 5-digitate leaf and hairy petiole. February 2008.
TitleLeaf and hairy petiole
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of 5-digitate leaf and hairy petiole. February 2008.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of 5-digitate leaf and hairy petiole. February 2008.
Leaf and hairy petioleMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of 5-digitate leaf and hairy petiole. February 2008.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); small plants. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
TitleSmall plants
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); small plants. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); small plants. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.
Small plantsMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); small plants. Ukumehame, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2004.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); aging leaves. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
TitleAging leaves
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); aging leaves. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); aging leaves. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
Aging leavesMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); aging leaves. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); hairy calyx and pedicels. January 2008.
TitleCalyx and pedicels
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); hairy calyx and pedicels. January 2008.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); hairy calyx and pedicels. January 2008.
Calyx and pedicelsMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); hairy calyx and pedicels. January 2008.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); flower. February 2008.
TitleFlower
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); flower. February 2008.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); flower. February 2008.
FlowerMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); flower. February 2008.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of flower. February 2008.
TitleFlower
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of flower. February 2008.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of flower. February 2008.
FlowerMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); close-up of flower. February 2008.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain-2008
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fruits. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
TitleFruits
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fruits. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fruits. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.
FruitsMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fruits. Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, USA. January 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fallen seeds. Kaukaukapapa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2012.
TitleSeeds
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fallen seeds. Kaukaukapapa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2012.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fallen seeds. Kaukaukapapa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2012.
SeedsMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); fallen seeds. Kaukaukapapa, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2012.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); seedlings in dried ground. Kealaikahiki, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2010.
TitleSeedlings
CaptionMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); seedlings in dried ground. Kealaikahiki, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2010.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Merremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); seedlings in dried ground. Kealaikahiki, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2010.
SeedlingsMerremia aegyptia (hairy wood rose); seedlings in dried ground. Kealaikahiki, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. December 2010.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Merremia aegyptia (L.) Urb.

Preferred Common Name

  • hairy woodrose

Other Scientific Names

  • Batatas pentaphylla (Jacq.) Choisy
  • Convolvulus munitus Wall.
  • Convolvulus nemorosus Willd. ex Roem. ex Schult.
  • Convolvulus pentaphyllus L.
  • Ipomoea aegyptia L.
  • Ipomoea pentaphylla Jacq.
  • Ipomoea pilosa Cav.
  • Ipomoea sinaloensis Brandegee
  • Merremia pentaphylla (Jacq.) Hallier f.
  • Operculina aegyptia (L.) House
  • Spiranthera pentaphylla (Jacq.) Bojer

International Common Names

  • English: hairy merremia; hairy morning glory; hairy wood rose
  • Portuguese: jetirana; jitirana

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: batatão-roxo; corda-de-viola; jetirana-cabeluda; jetirana-de-batata; jitirana branca; mata-me-embora
  • Cuba: aguinaldo velludo
  • Guinea-Bissau: bagui; tirde
  • India: eluka chevi aku; mochukkodi; panch-pan-ni-fudardi
  • Lesser Antilles: liane poilue; noyeaux
  • Madagascar: saritaho
  • Mexico: campanilla; ka' ak; soska; tso'ots ak'; tso'ots ikim; tso'ots k'ab; tsoots-ak'; tsots-ak'; tsots-ikim; tsots-ka; xkoon tikin; xk'uyuch; xkuyuch chunkinsis
  • Nicaragua: gloria de la mañana peluda
  • USA/Hawaii: koali kua hulu; kuahulu
  • Vietnam: bìm ai cập; mìm năm lá

Summary of Invasiveness

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Merremia aegyptia is an annual climbing herb that acts as a pioneer species in disturbed sites in tropical regions. It is considered a weed in most countries where it occurs and it has been included in the Global Compendium of Weeds as an agricultural and environmental weed (Randall, 2012). The species is native to tropical America and Africa and listed as invasive in Cuba, India, Australia and Hawaii.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Solanales
  •                         Family: Convolvulaceae
  •                             Genus: Merremia
  •                                 Species: Merremia aegyptia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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This species was first described by Linnaeus in 1753 as Ipomoea aegyptia and later transferred to the genus Merremia by Urban in 1910. The specific epithet "aegyptia" means "Egyptian", referring to the occurrence of the species in this country. The genus Merremia is named after Blasius Merrem, a German naturalist (Quattrocchi, 2000), and belongs to the morning-glory family. Merremia comprises over 100 species distributed in tropical regions all over the world (Staples, 2010; Stevens, 2016). It is a heterogeneous genus that needs to be redefined, as suggested by palynological and molecular studies (Stefanovic et al., 2003; Staples, 2010; Simoes et al., 2015). The largest number of species is found in the Asia/Malesia/Pacific region (about 44 species), followed by Africa (31 species), America (27 species) and Australia (9 species). Several species are widely distributed due to cultivation as ornamentals or accidental introductions (Bosch, 2010; Staples, 2010). Some are commonly known as "wood roses" because their fruits retain the five petal-like, brown sepals, thus resembling dry flowers.

Description

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Herbaceous, twining or creeping vine, attaining 3 m or more in length. Stems cylindrical, usually reddish, with long, erect, yellowish, non-glandular hairs. Leaves alternate, 5-palmately compound; leaflets 4-14 x 2-6 cm, oblanceolate or elliptical, the apex and base acuminate, the margins entire and ciliate, hispidulous to glabrate on both surfaces. Flowers in dichasial cymes; peduncles shorter than the petioles, hairy; bracts deciduous; sepals subequal or unequal, 1.5-2 cm long, with long, yellowish hairs; corolla funnel-shaped, white, 2.5-3 cm x 4-4.5 cm; five stamens, white; stigma bilobed, white. Fruit capsular, 4-valvate, subglobose, 1-1.5 cm in diameter, light brown, glabrous, surrounded by the persistent sepals. Four seeds per fruit, obtusely triangular, 5-6 mm long, brown, glabrous (Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005; Austin et al., 2012).

Plant Type

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Herbaceous
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated
Vine / climber

Distribution

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M. aegyptia is native to tropical America and Africa. It also occurs in the USA (Florida and Hawaii), Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia (Java), Australia, Cape Verde, Mauritius and Reunion, where it is regarded as introduced and naturalized. It was mistakenly reported in Guam by Fosberg and Sachet (1977), based on a collection of Ipomoea pes-tigridis (Staples, 2010). In São Tomé and Príncipe, it was reported as "an annual climber with purple flowers" (Figueiredo et al., 2011), which is probably a misidentification, given that this species has white flowers.

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

IndiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Reddy, 2008
-BiharPresentIntroducedMishra, 2000
-ChhattisgarhPresentIntroduced Invasive Shukla and Sinha, 2012
-DelhiPresentIntroduced Invasive Mishra et al., 2015
-GujaratPresentIntroducedForest Department Gujarat, 2016
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedSingh, 1988
-KeralaPresentKeralaplants, 2016
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroduced Invasive Srivastava, 1985
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedVenkanna and Das Das, 2001
-RajasthanPresentIntroducedBhandari, 1978
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedMatthew, 1995
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced Invasive Singh et al., 2010
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedBased on regional distribution
-JavaPresentIntroducedVan Ooststroom, 1939
MyanmarPresentIntroducedKress et al., 2003; Plants of the World Online, 2018
PakistanPresentIntroducedAustin, 2011; Plants of the World Online, 2018
VietnamPresentIntroducedGBIF, 2016; Vietnam Plant Data Center, 2016

Africa

AngolaPresentNativeFigueiredo and Smith, 2008
BeninPresentNativeAkoègninou et al., 2006
Burkina FasoPresentNativeThiombiano et al., 2012
Cape VerdePresentIntroducedGonçalves, 1996
ChadPresentNativeBrundu and Camarda, 2013
ComorosPresentNativeDeroin, 2001
EgyptPresentNativeBoulos, 2000
EritreaPresentNativeDemissew, 2001
EthiopiaPresentNativeDemissew, 2001
GambiaPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
GhanaPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
GuineaPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
Guinea-BissauPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
MadagascarPresentNativeDeroin, 2001
MauritiusPresentIntroducedBosser and Heine, 2000
MozambiquePresentNativeGonçalves, 1987
NigerPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
NigeriaPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
RéunionPresentIntroducedBosser and Heine, 2000
Sao Tome and PrincipeAbsent, unreliable recordFigueiredo et al., 2011
SenegalPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
Sierra LeonePresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
SomaliaPresentNativePlants of the World Online, 2018
SudanPresentNativeBaumer, 1975
TogoPresentNativeHutchinson et al., 1963
ZambiaPresentNativeGonçalves, 1987
ZimbabwePresentNativeGonçalves, 1987

North America

MexicoPresentNativeMcDonald, 1993
USAPresentBased on regional distribution
-FloridaPresentIntroduced1947Austin, 1979; Wunderlin et al., 2016Miami-Dade
-HawaiiPresentNativeWester, 1992; Wagner et al., 1999; PIER, 2016First collected in Hawaii in 1779. Considered both native and introduced in the country

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativePowell, 1989
ArubaPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BahamasPresentNativeCorrell and Correll, 1982
BarbadosPresentNativePowell, 1989
BelizePresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez, 2005Tortola, Virgin Gorda
Costa RicaPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
CubaPresentNative Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentNativeNicolson et al., 1991
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeLiogier, 1994
GrenadaPresentNativePowell, 1989
GuadeloupePresentNativePowell, 1989
GuatemalaPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
HaitiPresentNativeLiogier, 1994
HondurasPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
JamaicaPresentNativeAdams, 1972
MartiniquePresentNativePowell, 1989
MontserratPresentNativePowell, 1989
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativePowell, 1989Saba
NicaraguaPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
PanamaPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
Puerto RicoPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez, 2005Including Mona Island
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativePowell, 1989
Saint LuciaPresentNativeGraveson, 2012
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativePowell, 1989
Sint EustatiusPresentNativePowell, 1989
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez, 2005St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeInstituto de Botánica Darwinion, 2016Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta
BoliviaPresentNativeWood et al., 2014
BrazilPresentNativeBased on regional distribution
-AcrePresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-AlagoasPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-AmapaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-AmazonasPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-BahiaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-CearaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Distrito FederalPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-GoiasPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-MaranhaoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-ParaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-ParaibaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-PernambucoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-PiauiPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-RondoniaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-RoraimaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Sao PauloPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-SergipePresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-TocantinsPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
ColombiaPresentNativeVargas, 2012
EcuadorPresentNativeAustin, 1982a
-Galapagos IslandsPresentNativeLawesson et al., 1987
French GuianaPresentNativeAustin, 2007
GuyanaPresentNativeAustin, 2007
ParaguayPresentNativeInstituto de Botánica Darwinion, 2016Alto Paraguay, Amambay
PeruPresentNativeBrako and Zarucchi, 1993
SurinamePresentNativeAustin, 2007
VenezuelaPresentNativeAustin, 1982b; Hoyos, 1985Including Margarita Island

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroduced Invasive Based on regional distribution
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-QueenslandPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2002
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedJohnson, 2009
GuamAbsent, invalid recordFosberg and Sachet, 1977

History of Introduction and Spread

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Not much information on the history of introductions of this species is available. It is commonly indicated as having been unintentionally introduced to India, but no details are provided (Singh et al., 2010; Sekar, 2012). In Australia, M. aegyptia was presumably introduced as an ornamental creeper (Smith, 2002) and has since naturalized in the northern part of the country, where large areas have been invaded (Weeds of Australia, 2016). In the USA, M. aegyptia was first collected in 1947 in Coral Gables, Florida, probably resulting from a cultivated individual (Austin, 1979). In Hawaii, M. aegyptia was first collected by David Nelson as early as 1779, during the third voyage of Captain James Cook (St. John, 1978), indicating the possibility that the species might be indigenous to the islands, despite being generally regarded as introduced (Wester, 1992).

Risk of Introduction

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M. aegyptia is already widespread in tropical regions of the world. The main reasons for spread outside its native range are cultivation as an ornamental and accidental introductions. The species is advertised and sold on gardening websites (Dave’s Garden, 2016; Le Jardin Naturel, 2016; Sunshine Seeds, 2016) and is thus likely to continue to be spread internationally as an ornamental.

Habitat

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M. aegyptia grows in open, dry vegetation, including dry forests and thickets, xeric shrublands, open woodlands and grasslands, but prefers disturbed areas like forest edges, roadsides, wastelands and agricultural land. It occurs at low and middle elevations, from 0 to 1500 m a.s.l. (Bosch, 2010).

Hosts/Species Affected

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M. aegyptia is a relatively common weed in sugarcane (Brazil, Lesser Antilles, Reunion) and maize fields (Guatemala, Brazil, Nigeria), where it climbs up plants, bending and entangling their stems (Standley and Williams, 1970; Fournet and Hammerton, 1991; Lima e Silva et al., 2004; Valery, 2006; Chikoye et al., 2009; Correia et al., 2010Correia, 2016). It has also been reported in cotton (Cardoso et al., 2010), banana (Isaac et al., 2009), rice (Ismaila et al., 2015), green pepper (Coelho et al., 2013), muskmelon (Teófilo et al., 2012), yam (Fournet and Hammerton, 1991) and coffee plantations (Gavilanes et al., 1988).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number of M. aegyptia is 2n = 28, 30 (Jones, 1968; Vij et al., 1977). Aberrant (desynaptic) meiosis has been reported and the unequal segregation of chromosomes during anaphase has led to 25% pollen sterility (Vij et al., 1977).

Reproductive Biology

As in many Convolvulaceae, M. aegyptia exhibits the melittophilous pollination syndrome. Its flowers are visited mainly by hymenopterans, but also by butterflies, beetles and flies (Pereira et al., 2011a). In a Caatinga nature reserve in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, 13 species of bees (from the genera Ancyloscelis, Apis, Augochlora, Augochloropsis, Ceratina, Diadasina, Eulaema, Exomalopsis and Lithurgus) were recorded visiting the flowers of M. aegyptia (Pick and Schlindwein, 2011). The European honey bee, Apis mellifera, seems to be the main pollinator (Pereira et al., 2011a; Pick and Schlindwein, 2011), together with the stingless South American bee Trigona spinipes (Kiill and Ranga, 2000).

In Ceará, Brazil, M. aegyptia flowers open at 5.30 h and begin to close around 11.30 h, with the highest number of floral visitors observed around 9.00 h (Pereira et al., 2011a). Similarly, in Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte, flowers open between 4.30 h and 5.30 h and close between 11.00 h and 12.00 h (Kiill and Ranga, 2000; Pick and Schlindwein, 2011). The peak of floral visits in Rio Grande do Norte occurs between 9.00 h and 11.00 h (Pick and Schlindwein, 2011).

M. aegyptia is self-compatible (Martin, 1970; Pick and Schlindwein, 2011). Similar numbers of fruits and seeds are produced when flowers are subjected to hand self-pollination, hand cross-pollination, spontaneous self-pollination and natural pollination (Pick and Schlindwein, 2011).

The seeds germinate over a wide range of temperatures (15-35°C), with 23°C being the optimal germination temperature. Germination is improved on sandy clay substrates (vs. heavy clay soil) and when seeds are placed on or near the soil surface (Orzari et al., 2013). Most seeds (around 80%) germinate within one month (Orzari et al., 2013), but freshly harvested seeds seem to germinate faster than those fully mature and dry, which develop a hard coat (Sharma and Sen, 1975). This physical dormancy can be broken with acid and mechanical scarification (Pereira et al., 2007). Sharma and Sen (1975) reported that almost 100% of seeds treated with sulfuric acid for 45 minutes, and maintained at 28°C, germinated within 24 hours, regardless of light conditions.

Physiology and Phenology

The main flowering and fruiting period occurs from October to January, but it can extend to May and sometimes later (McDonald, 1993; Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2005; Bosch, 2010; Austin et al., 2012). In northeastern Brazil, M. aegyptia flowers from April to July, during the rainy season (Pick and Schlindwein, 2011).

Longevity

M. aegyptia is an annual plant (Hutchinson et al., 1963; McDonald, 1993; Bosch, 2010; Austin et al., 2012), although it is listed as perennial by the PLANTS database of the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

M. aegyptia is a sun species that prefers dry conditions and well-drained soils. Its optimal temperature range is 17-30°C, but the species can withstand much lower temperatures. It is a drought tolerant species.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated 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)
33 27 0 1500

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -1
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 22 34
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 12 24

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall1001900mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Bemisia tabaci Herbivore Leaves/Stems not specific
Engytatus modestus Herbivore Leaves/Stems not specific
Icerya purchasi Herbivore Leaves/Stems not specific
Megacerus cubiciformis Predator Seeds not specific
Megacerus cubiculus Predator Seeds not specific
Megacerus porosus Predator Seeds not specific
Megacerus tricolor Predator Seeds not specific
Merremia mosaic virus Pathogen Leaves not specific
Phakopsora merremiae Pathogen Leaves to species

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Seeds of M. aegyptia are susceptible to attack by several species of Megacerus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae), including M. porosus, M. tricolor, M. cubiciformis and M. cubiculus (Reyes et al., 2009). Larvae of these beetles develop within seeds, feeding on the endosperm and/or cotyledons. The tomato bug, Engytatus modestus (Hemiptera: Miridae), and the cottony cushion scale, Icerya purchasi (Hemiptera: Margarodidae), both pests of a number of crops, have also been reported on this species (Tanada and Holdaway, 1954; Lincango et al., 2010). Other pathogens include the rust Phakopsora merremiae, which was discovered on leaves of M. aegyptia from Brazil (Berndt et al., 2008), and the Merremia mosaic virus (Muniyappa, 1980), which produces yellow blotches on the leaves. The Merremia mosaic virus is transmitted by the silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and infects many species of Convolvulaceae, Solanaceae, Fabaceae and Malvaceae (Bird et al., 1975; Muniyappa, 1980).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

M. aegyptia propagates from seeds that are released around the parent plant. In agricultural lands, dispersal may be facilitated by soil working tools and machinery. Seeds exhibit physical dormancy (Sharma and Sen, 1975; Pereira et al., 2007), which potentially allows their dissemination over long distances. It also spreads vegetatively by rooting at the nodes and by stem fragments (Smith, 2002).

 

Intentional Introduction

M. aegyptia is cultivated as an ornamental species around the world, which has largely contributed to introductions outside its native range.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Intentional releasemain spread through intentional release as an ornamental Yes Yes Smith, 2002
Internet salesseeds sold online Yes Yes Le Jardin Naturel, 2016
Ornamental purposesmain spread through intentional release as an ornamental creeper Yes Yes Smith, 2002
Seed tradeseeds sold online Yes Yes Le Jardin Naturel, 2016

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Machinery and equipmentdispersal facilitated by soil working tools and machinery Yes
Mailseeds sold online Yes Yes Le Jardin Naturel, 2016

Economic Impact

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In Brazil, the largest producer of sugarcane in the world, M. aegyptia is considered a serious weed in sugarcane fields. It not only competes with sugarcane plants for water and nutrients, but it can also hinder mechanical harvesting operations (Correia et al., 2010; Correia, 2016).

The species is also one of the main hosts of the Merremia mosaic virus, which affects a number of important crops including tomato, tobacco and many legumes (Bird et al., 1975).

In Sudan, it has been reported that, when consumed in large quantities, M. aegyptia can cause diarrhoea in small ruminants (Baumer, 1975).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

M. aegyptia is a fast-growing vine that crawls over the ground or climbs up herbs, shrubs and small trees, sometimes forming a dense cover that can potentially smother or prevent the growth of other plants.

It has invaded large areas of disturbed land in northern Australia, where it has been reported from several sites of conservation concern (Weeds of Australia, 2016).

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
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition - strangling
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value

M. aegyptia is cultivated as an ornamental and its seeds are sold for this purpose (Le Jardin Naturel, 2016; Sunshine Seeds, 2016). Extracts from leaves have showed significant activity against mosquito (Aedes aegypti) larvae (100% mortality), so the species is considered a promising natural source of larvicide for mosquito control (Oliveira et al., 2010). Extracts from stems, leaves and seeds, and from calluses obtained in vitro, showed antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas putida, Bacillus thuringiensis, B. subtilis, Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger (Joshi et al., 2015). The oil extracted from the seeds has great potential for use as biodiesel (Azam et al., 2010). The whole plant is used as fodder/forage in Brazil (Nunes et al., 2015), Mexico (Rico-Gray et al., 1991; Arellano Rodríguez et al. 2003) and some African countries (Baumer, 1975; Yusuf et al., 2013), and it also has potential to be used as green manure in different crops (Góes et al., 2011; Silva et al., 2011; Oliveira et al., 2012). According to Góes et al. (2014), the use of this species as organic fertilizer improves the chemical properties of the soil, by increasing the content of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. M. aegyptia is also a melliferous plant (Pereira et al., 2011b).

Social Benefit

M. aegyptia is used as a medicinal plant in Nigeria (Soladoye and Oyesiku, 2008; Omotayo and Borokini, 2012) and India (Ratna Manjula et al., 2011; Ratna Manjula and Seetharami Reddi, 2015). In Nigeria, the leaves are used to treat diabetes, infections, tumours and burns. In India, the leaves are used to treat common skin diseases and jaundice (icterus).

In Ghana, the stems are used to bind frames in house building (Bosch, 2010).

Environmental Services

The flowers of M. aegyptia attract a wide range of floral visitors and pollinators including bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles, flies and birds. Most of this fauna has been recorded collecting pollen and nectar, or feeding on floral parts of the plant (Kiill and Ranga, 2000; Pereira et al., 2011a; Pick and Schlindwein, 2011).

M. aegyptia is also one of the native species consumed by the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Yucatán Peninsula (Rico-Gray et al., 1991).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Fuels

  • Biofuels

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora

Materials

  • Fertilizer
  • Fibre
  • Green manure
  • Pesticide

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant
  • Seed trade

Detection and Inspection

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M. aegyptia can be easily recognized in the field by the 5-digitate leaves with entire leaflets, and the long, erect hairs covering the stems and calyx.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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M. aegyptia can be confused with several other white-flowered species of Merremia, including M. cissoides, M. quinquefolia and M. macrocalyx. These species also have 5-digitate leaves and can be found in similar habitats. M. aegyptia, however, can be easily distinguished by the long, non-glandular hairs covering the calyx, pedicels and stems.

Prevention and Control

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Control

Chemical control

Chemical control of M. aegyptia has been evaluated in sugarcane plantations in Brazil. The following herbicides and mixtures of herbicides have been shown to be effective in the control of this species: amicarbazone, metribuzin, sulfentrazone, mesotrione + atrazine, diuron + hexazinone, mesotrione + diuron + hexazinone, trifloxysulfuron + ametryn + diuron + hexazinone and metribuzin + trifloxysulfuron + ametryn (Correia and Kronka Júnior, 2010; Correia et al., 2010, Correia, 2016). Mesotrione alone, imazapic and flumioxazin do not provide significant control (Nicolai et al., 2013; Correia, 2016).

References

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Malezas de Mexicohttp://www.conabio.gob.mx/malezasdemexico/2inicio/home-malezas-mexico.htm
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER): Plant threats to Pacific ecosystemshttp://www.hear.org/pier/
Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA)http://www.prota4u.org/database/
U.S. National Plant Germplasm System https://www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/index.html
Weed identification and knowledge in the Western Indian Ocean (WIKWIO)http://portal.wikwio.org/species/
Weeds of Australiahttp://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/index.htm

Contributors

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07/08/16 Original text by:

Fabiola Areces-Berazain, Herbarium UPRRP, University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA 

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