Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Heterotis rotundifolia
(pink lady)

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Datasheet

Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Heterotis rotundifolia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pink lady
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • H. rotundifolia is a fast-growing, decumbent herb with the potential to grow forming dense mats which are displacing native vegetation and altering the composition of native species in the understorey of forest...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); habit.
TitleHabit.
CaptionHeterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); habit.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo
Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); habit.
Habit.Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); habit.©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo
Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.
TitleFlower
CaptionHeterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo
Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.
FlowerHeterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo
Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.
TitleFlower
CaptionHeterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo
Heterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.
FlowerHeterotis rotundifolia (pink lady, Spanish shawl); flower.©Smithsonian Institution/Pedro Acevedo

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Heterotis rotundifolia (Sm.) Jacq

Preferred Common Name

  • pink lady

Other Scientific Names

  • Dissotis plumosa (D. Don) Hook. f.
  • Dissotis rotundifolia (Sm.) Triana
  • Melastoma plumosum D. Don
  • Osbeckia rotundifolia Sm.

International Common Names

  • English: Spanish shawl; trailing dissotis
  • Spanish: flor princesa; manta española; mantilla española; mantón español

Local Common Names

  • Australia: trailing tibouchina
  • Palau: meseki

Summary of Invasiveness

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H. rotundifolia is a fast-growing, decumbent herb with the potential to grow forming dense mats which are displacing native vegetation and altering the composition of native species in the understorey of forests as well as in open areas, roadsides and disturbed areas (Space and Flynn, 2002; PIER, 2013). H. rotundifolia can also grow on rocks, or creeping and climbing among boulders (Prota4U, 2013). It spreads mainly by seeds but also by plant fragments and root suckers, and it is included in the Global Compendium of Weeds (Randall, 2012) and listed as invasive in Puerto Rico and many islands in the Pacific including Hawaii, French Polynesia, Samoa, Palau, and Micronesia (PIER, 2013). In Australia, Singapore and Nigeria this species is classified as a weed in natural areas and plantations (Melifonwu and Orkwor, 1990; Chong et al., 2009; Csurhes, 2011).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Melastomataceae
  •                             Genus: Heterotis (plants)
  •                                 Species: Heterotis rotundifolia

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Melastomatoideae is a large tropical family of plants including 188 genera and about 5055 species (Stevens, 2012). Species are trees (rarely tall), treelets, shrubs, herbs, lianas and epiphytes with stems often quadrangular (Woodgyer, 2009). Melastomataceae has always been considered a core family of the Myrtales, supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses. The family name comes from the Greek words mela meaning black and stoma meaning mouth. Eating the edible, purple-blue berries will stain the mouth black. Characters distinguishing the family have been listed by Woodgyer (2009).

The genus Heterotis included about 23 species mostly distributed in the tropics. The species H. rotundifolia has also been treated as Dissotis rotundifolia (USDA-ARS, 2013).

Description

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H. rotundifolia is a decumbent herb; stems rooting at the nodes, up to 20 cm or more long, moderately hirtellous to pilose. Leaves ovate to ovate-lanceolate or suborbicular, 1.5-7 cm long, 0.8-4 cm wide, 3-nerved, both surfaces sparsely to densely pilose, margins ciliate and somewhat crenulate, apex acute, base truncate to short-attenuate, petioles 0.5-2.5 cm long. Flowers with pedicels approximately 2 mm long in fruit; hypanthium 5-7 mm long in flower, densely covered with green, spreading, hair-like, linear-oblong appendages 2-4 mm long, apex stellate and sparsely to moderately bristly along their length; calyx lobes lanceolate in fruit, 5-6.5 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide at base, bristly at apex and externally; petals approximately 20 mm long, 15 mm wide; anthers of larger stamens pink or lavender, 7-8 mm long, connective prolonged 3-4 mm and modified basally into a deeply 2-lobed spur 1.5-2 mm long, anthers of smaller stamens yellow, 5.5-7 mm long, connective prolonged 0.5 mm or less with a 2-lobed spur usually 0.5 mm long. Fruits (hypanthium cylindrical-campanulate) are approximately 1 cm long and 0.9 cm wide. Seeds approximately 1 mm long, prominently ribbed dorsally with a deep pit on each side (Wagner et al., 1999).

Distribution

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H. rotundifolia is native to tropical Africa, from Sierra Leone to Angola, including Congo, Zimbabwe and Mozambique (Davidse et al., 2009). It is naturalized in Australia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and islands in the Pacific Ocean (see distribution table for details).

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

IndiaPresentIntroducedKalbag, 2013Cultivated in Mumbai
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009Naturalized

Africa

AngolaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
CameroonPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Côte d'IvoirePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
EgyptPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Equatorial GuineaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GhanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GuineaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Guinea-BissauPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
KenyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
LiberiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MalawiPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MozambiquePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Borokini, 2011; USDA-ARS, 2013Listed as an alien invasive by Borokini
Sierra LeonePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
TanzaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
TogoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
UgandaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ZambiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ZimbabwePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009Escaped from cultivation and naturalized
JamaicaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2013
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2000
AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedHyland et al., 2010Naturalized
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedHyland et al., 2010Naturalized in Cape North Peninsula and North East Queensland
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2013Cultivated
FijiPresentIntroducedSmith, 1985Cultivated
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florence et al., 2013
GuamPresentIntroducedRaulerson, 2006Cultivated
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Herrera et al., 2010
NiuePresentIntroducedSpace et al., 2004
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2009
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedHyland et al., 2010
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002

History of Introduction and Spread

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H. rotundifolia has been introduced as an ornamental and ground-cover plant mostly in tropical areas (Prota4U, 2013). The date of introduction of this species is uncertain. In Puerto Rico, the introduction of H. rotundifolia seems to be a recent event as the oldest herbarium collection of the species on this island is from 1990 (US National Herbarium).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of H. rotundifolia is high. It has been intentionally planted as an ornamental principally in tropical regions because of its attractive flowers. It has escaped from gardens and spreads rapidly into natural forest forming dense mats (Space and Flynn, 2002). Plants produce large amounts of seeds, but the species also spreads vegetatively by stem fragments (PIER, 2013).

Habitat

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H. rotundifolia grows in moist or damp places in forests (under shade of trees) and along streams, roadsides, disturbed areas and sometimes on rocks or creeping and climbing among boulders and in open woodland (Prota4U, 2013). In urban areas, it is planted in gardens as an ornamental and ground cover plant (Wagner et al., 2009).

In Africa it is a common species in old cacao plantations under shade of trees left from the original forest (Prota4U, 2013).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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In Nigeria, H. rotundifolia is a weed in ginger (Zingiber officinale) plantations (Melifonwu and Orkwor, 1990).

Growth Stages

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

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for H. rotundifolia is n = 15 (Solt and Wurdack, 1980). 

Reproductive Biology

In H. rotundifolia, flowers are bisexual and as in most Melastomataceae nectar production is rare. Thus, most Melastomataceae species are visited by pollen-gathering bees that use buzz-pollination to expel the pollen through the anther pores. The characteristic anther appendages probably function as a hold for the bee's legs (Woodgyer, 2009). 

Environmental Requirements

H. rotundifolia grows in moist places from sea level up to 1400 m elevation. It is adapted to open-sunny places as well as to shaded areas with high canopy cover (Prota4U, 2013; PIER, 2013) and prefers soils with pH ranging from 6 (mildly acidic) to 7.5 (neutral).

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 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])

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 12 30
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 4.5

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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H. rotundifolia spreads by seed and vegetatively by stem segments and root suckers (Wagner et al., 1999; Davidse et al., 2009; PIER, 2013). Each plant has the potential to produce large numbers of seeds (Woodgyer, 2009). Plant fragments and stems may be broken off and dispersed to new locations by humans, wild animals, vehicles, and/or floodwaters. Root suckers can also be spread by the movement of soil (PIER, 2013; Prota4U, 2013).

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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H. rotundifolia is a fast-growing herb with the potential to form dense colonies in both open areas and shaded areas beneath forest canopies. Once established, this species completely out-competes vegetation communities by displacing native species and changing community structures (PIER, 2013).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition - strangling
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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H. rotundifolia is used as an ornamental and as a ground cover for soil stabilization (PIER, 2013). In Singapore and Costa Rica, it is commonly growth as ground cover (Chong et al., 2009; Davidse et al., 2009). In Africa, it is used in traditional medicine to treat ailments like rheumatism and diarrhea (Prota4U, 2013). Clinical tests using H. rotundifolia have demonstrated that leaves and stems extracts have anti-microbial activity (Abere, 2010).

References

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Abere TA; Okoto PE; Agoreyo FO, 2010. Antidiarrhoea and toxicological evaluation of the leaf extract of Dissotis rotundifolia triana (Melastomataceae). BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 10(71):(17 November 2010). http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/10/71

Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Borokini TI, 2011. Invasive alien plant species in Nigeria and their effects on biodiversity conservation. Tropical Conservation Science, 4(1):103-110. http://tropicalconservationscience.mongabay.com/public/old/tropicalconservationscience/_/ojs/index.php/tcs/article/viewFile/137/105

Chong KY; Tan HTW; Corlett RT, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, 273 pp. http://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/nus/pdf/PUBLICATION/LKCNH%20Museum%20Books/LKCNHM%20Books/flora_of_singapore_tc.pdf

Csurhes SM, 2011. Risk assessment of 214 emerging weed threats detected in Queensland., Australia: Invasive Plants and Animals, Biosecurity Queensland.

Davidse G; Sousa MS; Knapp S; Chiang FC, 2009. Cucurbitaceae a Polemoniaceae. Flora Mesoamericana, 4(1):1-855.

Florence J; Chevillotte H; Ollier C; Meyer J-Y, 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP) (Botanical database of the Nadeaud Herbarium of French Polynesia). http://www.herbier-tahiti.pf

Herrera K; Lorence DH; Flynn T; Balick MJ, 2010. Checklist of the vascular plants of Pohnpei with local names and uses. Lawai, Hawaii, USA: National Tropical Botanical Garden, 146 pp.

Hyland BPM; Whiffin T; Zich FA; Duffy S; Gray B; Elick R; Venter F; Christophel D, 2010. Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants, Edition 6 (RFK6)., Australia: Australian Tropical Herbarium, CSIRO Plant Industry and Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research. http://keys.trin.org.au/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/index.html

Kalbag N, 2013. Flowers of India. http://www.flowersofindia.net/

McCormack G, 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database. Rarotonga, Cook Islands: Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. http://cookislands.bishopmuseum.org/search.asp

Melifonwu AA; Orkwor GC, 1990. Chemical weed control in ginger (Zingiber officinale) production from minisetts. Nigerian Journal of Weed Science, 3:43-50.

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

Prota4U, 2013. PROTA4U web database. Grubben GJH, Denton OA, eds. Wageningen, Netherlands: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

Raulerson L, 2006. Checklist of Plants of the Mariana Islands. University of Guam Herbarium Contribution, 37. 1-69.

Smith AC, 1985. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii, USA: National Tropical Botanic Gardens, 758 pp.

Solt ML; Wurdack JJ, 1980. Chromosome numbers in the Melastomataceae. Phytologia, 47:199-220.

Space JC; Flynn T, 2000. Observations on invasive plant species in American Samoa. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 50 pp.

Space JC; Flynn T, 2002a. Report to the Government of Samoa on invasive plant species of environmental concern. Honolulu, USA: USDA Forest Service, 83 pp.

Space JC; Lorence DH; LaRosa AM, 2009. Report to the Republic of Palau: 2008 update on invasive plant species. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 227 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/Palau_report_2008.pdf

Space JC; Waterhouse BM; Newfield M; Bull C, 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive Plant Species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. 76 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/niue_report_20041217.pdf

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

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

Wagner WL; Herbst DR; Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Press/Bishop Museum Press, 1919 pp.

Woodgyer EM, 2009. Neotropical Melastomataceae. Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics [ed. by Milliken, W. \Klitgard, B. \Baracat, A.]. Richmond, UK: Kew Botanic Garden. http://www.kew.org/science/tropamerica/neotropikey/families/Melastomataceae.htm

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.

Contributors

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12/02/14 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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