Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Chamaecrista nictitans
(sensitive partridge pea)

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Datasheet

Chamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Chamaecrista nictitans
  • Preferred Common Name
  • sensitive partridge pea
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Chamaecrista nictitans is an annual leguminous herb which is widespread in the Neotropics as well as the southern and eastern USA. It has been introduced to a number of Asian countries and a number of island na...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Chamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); leaves and flowers. Kipahulu LZ Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
TitleLeaves and flowers
CaptionChamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); leaves and flowers. Kipahulu LZ Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); leaves and flowers. Kipahulu LZ Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.
Leaves and flowersChamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); leaves and flowers. Kipahulu LZ Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii, USA. February 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr-2009 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionChamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
HabitChamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. Papanalahoa, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2004.
TitleHabit
CaptionChamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. Papanalahoa, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2004.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2004 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. Papanalahoa, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2004.
HabitChamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit. Papanalahoa, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2004.©Forest & Kim Starr-2004 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit, showing flowers and developing fruits. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionChamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit, showing flowers and developing fruits. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit, showing flowers and developing fruits. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
HabitChamaecrista nictitans (partridge pea); habit, showing flowers and developing fruits. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); close view of flower. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
TitleFlower
CaptionChamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); close view of flower. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0
Chamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); close view of flower. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.
FlowerChamaecrista nictitans (sensitive partridge pea); close view of flower. LZ1, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, USA. February 2008.©Forest & Kim Starr-2008 - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Chamaecrista nictitans (L.) Moench

Preferred Common Name

  • sensitive partridge pea

Other Scientific Names

  • Cassia aeschinomene Collad.
  • Cassia aspera var. mohrii Pollard
  • Cassia brachypoda Benth.
  • Cassia chamaecrista var. nictitans Kuntze
  • Cassia diffusa DC.
  • Cassia lechenaultiana DC.
  • Cassia mimosoides subsp. leschenaultiana (DC.) H. Ohashi
  • Cassia multipinnata Pollard
  • Cassia nictidans L.
  • Cassia nictitans L.
  • Cassia patellaria DC. ex Collad.
  • Cassia pennelliana Amshoff
  • Cassia procumbens L.
  • Cassia riparia Kunth
  • Chamaecrista aeschinomene (Collad.) Greene
  • Chamaecrista aspera var. mohrii (Pollard) Pollard ex A. Heller
  • Chamaecrista mohrii (Pollard) Britton & Rose
  • Chamaecrista molinae G. Flores & M. Sousa
  • Chamaecrista multipinnata Pennell
  • Chamaecrista procumbens (L.) Greene
  • Nictitella amena Raf.

International Common Names

  • English: Japanese tea senna; partridge pea; sensitive cassia; sensitive pea; sensitive plant; wild sensitive plant; wild sensitive senna

Local Common Names

  • Japan: kobo-cha; Nemu-cha
  • Tonga: Mateloi vava'u
  • USA/Hawaii: Lauki

Summary of Invasiveness

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Chamaecrista nictitans is an annual leguminous herb which is widespread in the Neotropics as well as the southern and eastern USA. It has been introduced to a number of Asian countries and a number of island nations, and is listed as invasive or potentially invasive in Tonga (Space & Flynn, 2001), and as an invasive species of environmental concern in Samoa (Space & Flynn, 2002), Palau (Space et al., 2009), and Niue. It was first recorded as invasive in Niue in 1970 (Space et al., 2004). It does however receive a low risk assessment score for introduced species for Palau (score = 0 -- Space et al., 2009), and in general is low risk (score = 0) (PIER, 2013).

C. nictitans has characteristics that indicate invasiveness such as its ability to naturalize, its broad climate suitability (environmental versatility), a history of repeated introductions outside its native range, weedy growth, production of viable long-lived seed, self-compatibility, reproduction with short generation time, and good seed dispersal (PIER, 2013). On Niue, these characteristics may well have allowed it to colonise new areas of the island after cyclone disturbance, increasing its distribution (Space et al., 2004).

However, there is little evidence that it has a significant adverse impact in its introduced range – the literature refers to potential impacts (such as nitrogen enrichment or the outcompetition of native plants) rather than serious actual impacts.

It has several potential uses, for example to stabilize soils or fix nitrogen, or as forage – see the ‘Uses’ section for more information.

The species is listed as endangered in New Hampshire, USA, near the northern edge of its native range (New England Wild Flower Society, 2013).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
  •                                 Genus: Chamaecrista
  •                                     Species: Chamaecrista nictitans

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Cassia nictitans is the accepted basionym - the original name from which the current name is derived - and was assigned by Linnaeus in 1753; it was superseded by the current name Chamaecrista nictitans (Moench) in 1794 (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013). There are over 30 synonyms, varieties, and subspecies of C. nictitans (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2013; The Plant List, 2013; GBIF, 2013).

Description

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(Description from Gargiullo et al. (2008) except where indicated otherwise). C. nictitans is a herbaceous or woody (C. Parker, consultant, UK, personal communication, 2014) annual, 10-80 cm tall. It has a branching form with hairy green stems, often with a reddish upper surface; stipules are narrow and paired on either side of the stem base (13mm long, 3mm wide). Leaves are alternate, evenly pinnate, 10cm long and 3cm wide (Miller and Miller (2005) state that they are 2-5 cm long). Leaves have a hairy midrib, with a 7mm long stalk. Leaflets are in 7-26 pairs, oblong, and 6-20mm long and 2mm wide; they are hairy below and fold slowly when touched. Flowers are yellow, 10mm wide, and bilaterally symmetrical. They have five petals which are unequal, the largest being 8mm long and the others much smaller. Flowers have five stamens, and five short and unequal sepals. Flowers bloom a few at a time in leaf axils along the underside of stems. Individual plants can produce up to 30 inflorescences with 1-5 flowers per inflorescence (Lee, 1989). Fruits are dry pods, 20-40mm long, 3-6mm wide. They are flat and oblong, splitting open to release seeds (1-12 seeds per pod – Lee, 1989).

There is one extrafloral nectary per petiole, which is close to the flowers and fruit. Nectar is produced in the extrafloral nectaries from when the leaf attached to the petiole begins to expand until it dies (Ruhren and Handel, 1999; Ruhren, 2003).

Little information is available on how to distinguish between different varieties and subspecies.

Distribution

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C. nictitans is native to the Neotropics and the southern and eastern USA (USDA-ARS, 2013), and is now widely naturalized elsewhere in tropical and sub-tropical climates (PIER, 2013). It has been introduced to several island nations including Mauritius and Reunion (ILDIS, 2013), and several Pacific islands (e.g. PIER, 2013).

There is some discrepancy over its distribution in the Hawaiian Islands: Space et al. (2000b) state that C. nictitans is not present on Hawaii, yet several other sources (Wagner et al., 1999; USDA-NRCS, 2013; PIER, 2013; Carino & Daehler, 2002) contradict this, and list it as an introduced and invasive species. Similarly, Space et al. (2000a) state that C. nictitans is not present on Chuuk (Federated States of Micronesia), which is again contradicted by PIER (2013).

According to ILDIS (2013) it is present in a number of Asian countries and is native to some of them, but its native status there is not supported by other sources such as PIER (2013) (citing Wagner, 1999) and USDA-ARS (2013), which indicate that the Neotropics and parts of North America are its native range.

It has been planted experimentally in China (Hacker et al., 2001; Zhan et al., 2005), but is not known to be more widely present there.

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

BangladeshPresentILDIS, 2013
BhutanPresentILDIS, 2013
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FujianPresent only in captivity/cultivationHacker et al., 2001; Zhan et al., 2005
-HunanPresent only in captivity/cultivationHacker et al., 2001
Georgia (Republic of)PresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013
IndiaPresentILDIS, 2013
-BiharPresentILDIS, 2013
-DelhiPresentILDIS, 2013
-Uttar PradeshPresentILDIS, 2013
-West BengalPresentILDIS, 2013
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013
-Irian JayaPresentILDIS, 2013
-JavaPresentILDIS, 2013
JapanPresentIntroducedPIER, 2013Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentILDIS, 2013
SingaporePresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013
Sri LankaPresentILDIS, 2013

Africa

MauritiusPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013
RéunionPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013

North America

MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ArizonaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ArkansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-ConnecticutPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-DelawarePresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-District of ColumbiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-FloridaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-GeorgiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-HawaiiPresent1999Introduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999; Carino and Daehler, 2002; PIER, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013Hawai'i (Big) Island, Kaho' olawe Island, Lana'i Island, Maui Island, Ni'ihau Island, O'ahu Island
-IllinoisPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-IndianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-KansasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-KentuckyPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-LouisianaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MaineAbsent, invalid recordNew England Wild Flower Society, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013
-MarylandPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MassachusettsPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MichiganPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MississippiPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-MissouriPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New HampshirePresent, few occurrencesNativeNew England Wild Flower Society, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013Endangered
-New JerseyPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-New YorkPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-North CarolinaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OhioPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-OklahomaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-PennsylvaniaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-Rhode IslandPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-South CarolinaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TennesseePresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-TexasPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-VermontPresent, few occurrencesNativeNew England Wild Flower Society, 2013; USDA-NRCS, 2013Rare
-VirginiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013
-West VirginiaPresentNativeUSDA-NRCS, 2013

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BahamasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BelizePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Cayman IslandsPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
Costa RicaPresentNativeGargiullo et al., 2008; USDA-ARS, 2013
CubaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Dominican RepublicPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GrenadaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GuadeloupePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GuatemalaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
HaitiPresentMissouri Botanical Garden, 2013
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
JamaicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
MartiniquePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
PanamaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Puerto RicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013Trinidad
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013Charo, Corrientes, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta
BoliviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
BrazilPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-AmapaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-AmazonasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-BahiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-CearaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-MaranhaoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-ParaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-ParanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-PernambucoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-RondoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
-Sao PauloPresentNativeGarcia and Monteiro, 1997; USDA-ARS, 2013
ColombiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
EcuadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013Cotopaxi, Guyas, Loja
French GuianaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
GuyanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
PeruPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
SurinamePresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013
VenezuelaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2013

Oceania

FijiPresent1985Introduced Invasive PIER, 2013Vanua Levu and Viti Levu Islands
GuamPresent1970Introduced Invasive Stone, 1970Guam Island
KiribatiAbsent, unreliable record1997PIER, 2013Tarawa Atoll
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2013Cultivated and invasive on Pohnpei Island; also present on Weno (Moen) and Yap (Waqab) islands
New CaledoniaPresent1994IntroducedPIER, 2013Île Grande Terre
NiuePresent2004Introduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2000; Space et al., 2004; PIER, 2013
Northern Mariana IslandsPresent1979Introduced Invasive PIER, 2013Pagan and Rosa Islands; invasive on Pagan
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Fosberg et al., 1979; Raulerson et al., 1996; Space et al., 2003; Space et al., 2009; PIER, 2013Babeldaob, Koror & Malakal Islands
Papua New GuineaPresentILDIS, 2013
SamoaPresent2002Introduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002; PIER, 2013Upola Island
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2013
TongaPresent2001Introduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2001; PIER, 2013Ha-ano Island, Lifuka and Foa Islands, 'Uiha Island, 'Eua Island, Tongatapu Island, Vava'u Island
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresent2007Introduced Invasive PIER, 2013Wallis ('Uvea) Island

History of Introduction and Spread

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There is no detailed information regarding the history of spread of C. nictitans. On Niue, its distribution increased following disturbance from Cyclone Heta in 2003/4, with the development of several extensive stands of which some were almost monocultures (Space et al., 2004). It is known to have been planted experimentally in China as a potentially useful plant (Hacker et al., 2001; Zhan et al., 2005).

Risk of Introduction

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There is risk of introduction between islands within the same region; for example C. nictitans is listed as a species of concern in Palau and is present on Koror and Malakal, but not present on Angaur, Kayangel, Pelelie, Ngercheu, the Rock Islands, Sonsoral State and Hatohobei State. It does however receive a risk assessment score = 0 for Palau (Space et al., 2009). There is also potential for introduction between Samoan islands: C. nictitans is present on Samoa and Upolu, but not Savai’i (Space & Flynn, 2002).

There is no information on the pathways of spread, however some productive uses such as soil stabilization, cut-and-carry forage (Hacker et al., 2001) or integrated pest management (Zhan et al., 2005) may provide reasons for the species to be spread deliberately (it is known to have been planted experimentally in China for these purposes).

Habitat

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There is currently no information on major regional or country variations in the habitats containing C. nictitans.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Principal habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Rocky areas / lava flows Principal habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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There is currently no evidence that C. nictitans negatively affects crops or other plants.

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

C. nictitans has a chromosome number of 2n = 48, with evidence for some differences in chromosome size between different populations (Souza & Benko-Iseppon, 2004). There is currently no literature on hybridization between species of Chamaecrista.

Reproductive Biology

C. nictitans reproduces via seed and is both self-compatible and self-pollinating. Plants produce up to 30 inflorescences with 1-5 flowers each, and 1-12 seeds per fruit, but there is evidence of fruit abortion when resources are limited (Lee, 1989). Flowers are produced during summer months in temperate climates, so it would be logical to suggest that either temperature or rainfall cues determine flowering and fruiting times, but there is no literature examining this.

In Vermont, USA, seeds were found to germinate in spring, and plants begin flowering in mid-summer; axillary inflorescences each produce 1-5 flowers during late July and August, with individual plants producing up to 30 inflorescences. Flowers are open for one day. Fruits require several weeks to mature in late September/early October, and each contain 1-12 mature seeds (Lee, 1989). In Costa Rica, flowers bloom between August and January, and in May (Gargiullo et al., 2008)

Physiology and Phenology

There is little literature detailing survival strategies, adaptability and phenological variation of C. nictitans. However, it is known to be a weedy species which takes advantage of disturbance events for colonisation (Space et al., 2004). There is no evidence of differences in populations between native and exotic ranges. See above under ‘Reproductive Biology’ for information on the timing of flowering and fruiting.

Associations

C. nictitans produces nectar in extra-floral nectaries which act as a food source for ants, parasitoid wasps, laictid bees and jumping spiders. The most common ant associated with C. nictitans is Crematogaster lineolata Say (Ruhren, 2003). Plants with resident jumping spiders (Eris sp. and Metaphidippus sp.) - which feed on herbivores, ants, bees and other spiders - have been shown to set more seed than plants with no spiders, indicating that they are beneficial to plant fecundity (Ruhren & Handel, 1999).

Environmental requirements

There is no information on any specific environmental requirements of C. nictitans. Hacker et al. (2001) found that some accessions from Argentina and Paraguay survived the winter when planted in Fujian and Hunan provinces of southern China, but those from lower latitudes did not. A number of sources suggest that the species prefers light sandy soils and open sunny situations (C. Parker, consultant, UK, personal communication, 2014).

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]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Tolerated < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
45 45

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Sennius cruentatus Herbivore Seeds to species

Notes on Natural Enemies

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There is little information detailing natural enemies of C. nictitans; however Ruhren & Handel (1999) do state that Sennius cruentatus (Bruchidae) is a specialist seed predator of C. nictitans, and it has a range covering the eastern USA and Mexico, part of the native range of C. nictitans (Kingsolver, 2004).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Seeds are likely to be dispersed through force and gravity when seed pods open (PIER, 2013); they are not adapted for wind or water dispersal.

Vector Transmission

Seeds are not adapted for attachment, and fruits are not eaten by animals (PIER, 2013).

Accidental Introduction

There is potential for C. nictitans to be introduced as a contaminant of soil, debris, or garden waste (Space et al., 2004).

Intentional Introduction

C. nictitans could be introduced to new areas as a soil-stabilising plant, and for cut-and-carry forage (Hacker et al., 2001). It has also been shown to enhance pest management in longan (Dimocarpus longan) orchards, by maintaining natural enemies of pest species (Zhan et al., 2005), and might possibly be introduced for that reason. It is known to have been planted experimentally in China for these purposes.

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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There is no evidence suggesting that C. nictitans has a negative economic impact.

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

There is potential for C. nictitans to colonize new areas following disturbance, and form large stands which could become a monoculture (Space et al., 2004). There is also potential for C. nictitans to alter nutrient cycling and productivity of ecosystems through its ability to fix nitrogen in root nodules: after senescence of plants, soil nitrogen levels can increase which can alter nutrient cycling (Carino and Daehler, 2002).

Impact on Biodiversity

C. nictitans may indirectly facilitate the invasion of other alien species through increasing soil nitrogen levels (Carino & Daehler, 2002). These other alien species may be more harmful to native species. There is little evidence to suggest that C. nictitans directly negatively affects native species, although where it has formed dense stands native plants could become outcompeted (Space et al., 2004).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Sesbania tomentosaNational list(s) National list(s); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Hawaii scaleseed)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b

Social Impact

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There is no evidence suggesting that C. nictitans has a negative social impact.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Interaction with other invasive species

Uses

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Economic Value

There is potential for C. nictitans to be used in the improvement of food production: for example, Lu et al. (2009) found that using growth substrates containing C. nictitans improved the yield of edible fungi such as Coprinus comatus. C. nictitans has also been shown to improve pest management in longan orchards through provision of nectar to arthropods (Zhan et al., 2005). It could also be used as cut-and-carry forage (Hacker et al., 2001).

Social Benefit

There may be potential for using C. nictitans in the treatment of herpes simplex infection (Herrero Uribe et al., 2004). In Brazil it is used in folk medicine to treat kidney diseases, although a study by Carvalho Osorio et al. (1996) found no significant effect on renal calculi in rats.

Environmental Services

C. nictitans could function as a soil stabilizer (Hacker et al., 2001), and more generally for its nitrogen fixing properties (Morris, 1997).

Detection and Inspection

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Detection of the presence of C. nictitans could come from dedicated surveys and identification in the field.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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According to Miller and Miller (2005), C. nictitans is similar to C. fasciculata (which is found in most US states where C. nictitans is found – USDA-NRCS, 2013), but C. nictitans has smaller leaves. (Note that Miller and Miller (2005) give a smaller size for the leaves of C. nictitans than that given by Gargiullo et al. (2005)).

Prevention and Control

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

There is no information currently available detailing prevention and control methods for this species. As it is known to be weedy in habit, colonising disturbed ground, it is logical that monitoring such sites for colonisation and subsequent removal of plants would help prevent invasion.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Details of this species in general are lacking. There is very little literature dealing with its impact on natural systems: research should focus on any negative impact that it might have on native flora and fauna, so that mitigation of impacts can be undertaken. There is also little information on how and why the species has been transported outside its native range by humans historically.

References

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Carino DA, Daehler CC, 2002. Can inconspicuous legumes facilitate alien grass invasions? Partridge peas and fountain grass in Hawai'i. Ecography, 25(1):33-41.

Carvalho Osorio A de, Akisue G, Gonçalo M do C, Souccar C, Lapa EAJ, 1996. Effect of chronic treatment of rats with Chamaecrista nictans Irwin & Barneby on elimination of renal calculi. (Efeitos do tratamento crônico de ratos com o extrato de Chamaecrista nictans Irwin & Barneby na eliminação de cálculos renais.) Revista de Farmácia e Bioquímica da Universidade de São Paulo, 32(1):33-36.

Fosberg FR, Sachet MH, Oliver R, 1979. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian Dicotyledonae. Micronesica, 15:1-295.

Garcia FCP, Monteiro R, 1997. Leguminosae- Caesalpinioideae of a coastal plain rain forest in Picinguaba, Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brazil. (Leguminosae- Caesalpinioideae de uma floresta pluvial de planície costeira em Picinguaba, Município de Ubatuba, São Paulo, Brasil.) Boletim de Botânica, Universidade de São Paulo, 16:37-47.

Gargiullo MB, Magnuson BL, Kimball LD, 2008. A field guide to plants of Costa Rica. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 544 pp.

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

Hacker JB, Wen ShiLin, Ying ZhaoYang, Pengelly BC, 2001. Selecting Chamaecrista spp. for soil stabilisation and forage in southern China. Tropical Grasslands, 35(2):96-113.

Herrera K, Lorence D, 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.

Herrero Uribe L, Chaves Olarte E, Tamayo Castillo G, 2004. In vitro antiviral activity of Chamaecrista nictitans (Fabaceae) against herpes simplex virus: biological characterization of mechanisms of action. Revista de Biología Tropical, 52(3):807-816. http://rbt.ots.ac.cr/read/revistas/F52-3%20%5B2004%5DGENETICA.pdf/44-Herrero-In%20vitro.pdf

ILDIS, 2013. International Legume Database & Information Service. Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, Unversity of Reading. http://www.ildis.org/

Kingsolver JM, 2004. Handbook of the Bruchidae of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC, USA: United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 536 pp. [USDA Technical Bulletin 1912.] http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/np/Bruchidae/BruchidaeIntro.htm

Lee TD, 1989. Patterns of Fruit and Seed Production in a Vermont Polulation of Cassia nictitans L. (Caesalpiniaceae). Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, 116(1):15-21.

Lu CuiXiang, Jiang ZhiHe, Weng BoQi, 2009. Yields and fatty acid profiles of Coprinus comatus fruit bodies cultivated on substrates containing different quantities of Chamaecrasta nictitans. Acta Edulis Fungi, 16(2):63-66. http://syjb.chinajournal.net.cn

Miller JH, Miller KV, 2005. Forest plants of the southeast and their wildlife uses [ed. by Miller, J. H.\Miller, K. V.]. Athens, USA: University of Georgia Press, x + 454 pp.

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

Morris JB, 1997. Special-purpose legume genetic resources conserved for agricultural, industrial, and pharmaceutical use. Economic Botany, 51(3):251-263.

New England Wild Flower Society, 2013. Go Botany. Framingham, Massachusetts, USA: New England Wild Flower Society. https://gobotany.newenglandwild.org/

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

Raulerson L, Rinehart AF, Falanruw MC, 1996. A botanical reconnaissance of the proposed Compact-impact road alignment on Babeldaob Island, Republic of Palau. Mangilao, Guam: University of Guam, 78 pp. [University of Guam Herbarium Contribution no. 32.]

Ruhren S, 2003. Seed predators are undeterred by nectar-feeding ants on Chamaecrista nictitans (Caesalpineaceae). Plant Ecology, 166(2):198-198.

Ruhren S, Handel SN, 1999. Jumping spiders (Salticidae) enhance the seed production of a plant with extrafloral nectaries. Oecologia, 119(2):227-230.

Souza MGC, Benko-Iseppon AM, 2004. Cytogenics and chromosome banding pattern in Caesalpinioideae and Papilionioideae species of Para, Amazonas, Brazil. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 144:181-191.

Space JC, Flynn T, 2000. Report to the Government of Niue on Invasive Plant Species of Environmental Concern. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 34 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/niue_report.pdf

Space JC, Flynn T, 2001. Report to the Kingdom of Tonga on Invasive Plant Species of Environmental Concern. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 78 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/tonga_report.pdf

Space JC, Flynn T, 2002. Report to the Government of Samoa on Invasive Plant Species of Environmental Concern. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 78 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/samoa_report.pdf

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 B, Denslow JS, Nelson D, Mazawa TR, 2000. Invasive plant species in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. Honolulu: USDA Forest Service, 41 pp.

Space JC, Waterhouse B, Denslow JS, Nelson D, Waguk E, 2000. Invasive plant species on Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 43 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/kosrae_report.pdf

Space JC, Waterhouse BM, Miles JE, Tiobech J, Rengulbai K, 2003. Report to the Republic of Palau on Invasive Species of Environmental Concern. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 174 pp. http://www.hear.org/pier/pdf/palau_report.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

Stone BC, 1970. The flora of Guam. Micronesia, 6:1-659.

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

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: Sesbania tomentosa (ohai). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 24 pp.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010. In: Spermolepis hawaiiensis (no common name). 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 19 pp.

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

USDA-NRCS, 2013. The PLANTS Database. Baton Rouge, USA: National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/

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.

Wu TL, Hu QM, Xia NH, Lai PCC, Yip KL, 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants:384 pp. [Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised).] http://www.hkflora.com/v2/flora/plant_check_list.php

Zhan ZhiXiong, Qiu LiangMiao, Lin RenKui, Wei Hui, Ying ZhaoYang, Weng BoQi, 2005. The structure and stability of arthropod community in longan orchards interplanted with Chamaecrista nictitans cv. Minyin. Fujian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 20(3):149-153.

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global Biodiversity Information Facilityhttp://www.gbif.org
PIERhttp://www.hear.org/pier/index.html
The Plant Listhttp://www.theplantlist.org
Tropicoshttp://www.tropicos.org/

Organizations

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USA: PIER (Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk), University of Hawaii, Honolulu, http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Contributors

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25/03/2013: Original text by Isabel Jones, Consultant, UK.

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