Conyza sumatrensis (tall fleabane)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Biology and Ecology
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.) E. Walker
Preferred Common Name
- tall fleabane
Other Scientific Names
- Conyza albida Willd. ex Sprengel
- Conyza floribunda (H.B. & K.)
- Coyza bonariensis var. microcephala (Cabrera) Cabrera
- Erigeron floribundus (Sch. Bip.)
- Erigeron sumatrensis Retz. (1789)
International Common Names
- English: broad-leaved fleabane; fleabane; Guernsey fleabane
- French: erigeron blanc
Local Common Names
- Japan: ooarechinogiku
- Peru: pichana
- ERIFL (Erigeron floribundus)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page C. sumatrensis is a mainly annual herbaceous weed which spreads by producing high numbers of wind-dispersed seeds. It prefers undisturbed sites and is a particular problem in low-tillage systems such as orchards and plantations, but also in some agricultural crops. It may be controlled by tillage at a suitable growth stage, but otherwise, it has developed resistance to many herbicides in a large number of countries. It has been introduced internationally as a seed contaminant and there is a risk of further similar introductions to countries where it is not yet established. It is less widespread that either C. bonariensis or C. canadensis but is observed to be spreading, for example in northern Europe. It could become a problem invasive species in protected areas, but may be controlled naturally as it is an early- to mid-successional species.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Conyza
- Species: Conyza sumatrensis
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page The specific names 'sumatrensis' and 'floribunda' have unfortunately been widely and persistently confused. Although Conyza floribunda (H. B. & K.) (=Erigeron floribundus) has been listed as a weed in many parts of the world, it is the type more strictly known as C. sumatrensis (= E. sumatrensis) which is almost certainly more widespread. Conyza floribunda Kunth is considered a separate species, though confusion between it and both C. bonariensis (see the datasheet on C. bonariensis) and C. sumatrensis evidently remains.
In addition, Michael (1977) points out that the name C. sumatrensis is not supported by a type specimen, and should be abandoned in favour of C. albida. However, McClintock and Marshall (1988) suggest this is not fully valid either and have designated a neotype to support the name C. sumatrensis. On this latter basis, C. sumatrensis is now generally accepted (e.g. Missouri Botanical Garden, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2004) and is the name retained for the purposes of this datasheet. The distribution map provided with this datasheet includes records based on both names, floribunda(us) and sumatrensis and may not therefore be a completely reliable indication of the distribution of C. sumatrensis in the stricter sense, but it is probable that most records do correspond to that species. C. altissima may be a valid synonym (USDA-ARS, 2004) though this requires further confirmation in the light of the confusing taxonomy within the genus. See Similarities to Other Species for the characters that distinguish C. sumatrensis from true C. floribunda and C. bonariensis. It has been suggested that C. sumatrensis might be a hybrid between C. sumatrensis and C. canadensis, but Thebaud and Abbott (1995) show quite conclusively that this is not so, and neither the hexaploid C. sumatrensis (2n=54), nor C. floribunda (uncertain polyploidy) has any close relationship with the diploid C. canadensis (2n=18).
DescriptionTop of page An erect annual or short-lived perennial, up to 3 m tall, usually about 1-1.5 m. For full description and illustration see Kostermans et al. (1987), Reutelingsperger (2000).
Plant TypeTop of page Annual
DistributionTop of page In spite of its name, C. sumatrensis originates in sub-tropical South America rather than Indonesia. As noted under Taxonomy and Nomenclature, there has been confusion between S. sumatrensis and the closely related C. floribunda and some records on the distribution map may belong to the latter. Even so the distribution map is likely to be far from complete.
Distribution TableTop of page
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/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Afghanistan||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|China||Present||Liu et al., 2012|
|Indonesia||Widespread||Introduced||Michael, 1977; Kostermans et al., 1987|
|-Java||Present||Introduced||Kostermans et al., 1987|
|Japan||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Malaysia||Present||Introduced||Itoh et al., 1992|
|-Peninsular Malaysia||Present||Introduced||Itoh et al., 1992|
|Philippines||Widespread||Introduced||Michael, 1977; Holm et al., 1979|
|Sri Lanka||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Botswana||Present||Introduced||Wells et al., 1986|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Present||Introduced||Adams, 1963; Holm et al., 1979|
|Ghana||Widespread||Introduced||Adams, 1963; Holm et al., 1979|
|Kenya||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Namibia||Present||Introduced||Wells et al., 1986|
|Nigeria||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Sierra Leone||Present||Introduced||Adams, 1963|
|South Africa||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979; Wells et al., 1986|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Siverio et al., 2011|
|Swaziland||Present||Introduced||Wells et al., 1986|
|Uganda||Widespread||Introduced||Lind and Tallantire, 1971|
|Zimbabwe||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Argentina||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|Bolivia||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|Brazil||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|Guyana||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|Paraguay||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|Uruguay||Present||Native||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|Venezuela||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-ARS, 2004|
|France||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Thebaud and Abbott, 1995; EPPO, 2014|
|Greece||Present||Baliousis, 2014; EPPO, 2014|
|Romania||Present||Introduced||Anastasiu and Memedemin, 2012; EPPO, 2014|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Arsenovic et al., 1988|
|Australia||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Fiji||Present||Introduced||Parham, 1958; Holm et al., 1979|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||Holm et al., 1979|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Introduced||Henty and Pritchard, 1975|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page Kostermans et al. (1987) note that it was found for the first time in Java, Indonesia in 1860. Michael (1977) indicates that C. albida (=C. sumatrensis) is now widespread in southeastern Asia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Records in Flora Europaea (Cronquist, 1976) are unfortunately confused, but Thebaud and Abbott (1995) indicate that C. sumatrensis is now widespread throughout western Europe and around the Mediterranean basin (quoting Jovet and de Vilmorin, 1975; Guillerm et al., 1990), while C. floribunda has only recently begun to spread in western France and northern Spain.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page There is a risk of accidental introduction of C. sumatrensis, and this, along with its more limited range in comparison with other Conyza species, means that the phytosanitary risk is relatively high as compared with other members of the genus. This is compounded with the polyploid nature of the species and the risks of hybridization with existing species in an area, possibly leading to more invasive types. Certain quarantine measures may ensure that it does not spread into specified areas within a country or region, such as protected areas. Being a weed of mainly undisturbed ground, the potential risks to such sites may be considerable.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Cultivated / agricultural land||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Biology and EcologyTop of page Genetics
C. sumatrensis is a hexaploid species (2n=54), differing in ploidy level from the diploid C. canadensis and other polyploid species in the genus, indicating that it may have arisen from a hybridization event. Thebaud and Abbot (1996) noted that it was probably a allopolyploid (rather than an autopolyploid), possibly confirming this hypothesis.
Physiology and Phenology
Not known to differ markedly from C. bonariensis. See also ecological aspects of C. canadensis, which have been well studied, and Thebaud et al. (1996) note comparisons between the the latter species and C. sumatrensis as exotic invaders in Mediterranean ecosystems.
Not known to differ markedly from C. bonariensis.
Not known to differ markedly from C. bonariensis.
Invasions by other Conyza species have been studied in detail, such as C. bonariensis in the Mediterranean (Prieur-Richard et al., 2002; see the datasheet on C. bonariensis), and C. canadensis (e.g. Escarré et al., 1998; see datasheet on C. canadensis). In Japan, C. sumatrensis was noted as dominant in two-year-old fields, being able to grow as shade-tolerant rosettes under the canopy of other annuals, and being gradually succeeded by perennial grasses in later years (Mineta et al., 1997). Thebaud et al. (1996) observed, however, differences between the species, with C. canadensis colonizing immediately, and C. sumatrensis being an early- to mid-successional species.
Soil TolerancesTop of page
Special soil tolerances
Natural enemiesTop of page
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
C. sumatrensis is principally a wind-dispersed species; it has light seed accompanied by a pappus which aids flight.
No information is available on the possibility of spread by animals, but if it occurs, it is likely to be of onlyminor significance in comparison to wind dispersal.
Mowing along roadsides, especially during seed production, is also likely to increase spread. Also, late tillage or other practices at such inappropriate times will also facilitate seed dispersal.
Seed of several Conyza species now widely present as weeds outside of their native ranges were probably introduced to most of their introduced ranges accidentally as contaminants in cotton, cereals or forage grains/seed. Also a weed in nurseries, Conyza spp. may be spread as seed present in the soil in pots or other planting containers that accompany nursery stock, either as ornamentals or for establishing forest plantations (see the datasheets on C. bonariensis and C. canadensis). The spread of Conyza spp., along with numerous other weeds in central European forests, was thought to have been assisted by seeds in tree containers, and thus, presence in soil must be considered as a potential pathway.
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Soil, sand and gravel||Seeds in potting compost||Yes|
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Growing medium accompanying plants||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|True seeds (inc. grain)||seeds||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
ImpactTop of page Specific impacts from competition in annual and perennial crops have not been assessed in economic terms. See also the datasheets on C. bonariensis and C. canadensis for more information. C. sumatrensis is a known host for Tomato yellow leaf curl virus in Spain (Jordá et al., 2001) and Turnip mosaic virus in Zimbabwe (Chivasa et al., 2002).
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Highly mobile locally
- Has high reproductive potential
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
- Difficult/costly to control
UsesTop of page C. sumatrensis is a source for an essential oil (Machado et al., 1995), which is noted to have antimicrobial and antifungal effects (Deans et al., 1992) and thus possible pharmaceutical uses.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page C. sumatrensis differs from C. bonariensis mainly in its taller, more robust growth and broader serrate leaves, usually at least 1 cm wide. The flowering heads are slightly smaller than those of C. bonariensis and the pappus has a dirtier, brownish colour. The key provided by Jauzein (1988) indicates that the inflorescence is narrower in outline than that of C. bonariensis, and secondary branches do not exceed the primary. See also Reuetlingsperger (2000) for a key differentiating the main species.
C. floribunda differs mainly in being less vigorous, usually less than 1 m high, the foliage and flower heads being relatively glabrous and the leaves being somewhat more deeply toothed. Thebaud and Abbott (1995) provide further detailed comparison.
Prevention and ControlTop of page Cultural Control
Noting the requirement for light for the germination of seed of Conyza spp., mulching is likely to be an effective means of control. A greenhouse experiment showed that the use of forestry plantation residues did indeed reduce the germination of C. sumatrensis seeds, with medium-grade residues proving more effective than either coarse or fine grades (Schumann et al., 1995). Also, flooding in paddy fields had a marked effect in reducing C. sumatrensis populations, in contrast to the effects caused by no-tillage or even mulching (Mineta et al., 1997).
Kostermans et al. (1987) indicate susceptibility of seedlings to 2,4-D and MCPA. See also the datasheets on C. bonariensis and C. canadensis for more information. Resistance of C. sumatrensis to paraquat is reported from Japan (Yamasue et al., 1992), Malaysia (Itoh et al., 1992) and from South-East Asia in general (Itoh, 1994).
ReferencesTop of page
Adams CD, 1963. Compositae. In: Hepper FN, ed. Flora of West Tropical Africa Second Edition. London, UK: Crown Agents. 225-297.
Baliousis E, 2014. Recent data from the flora of the island of Limnos (NE Aegean, Greece): new alien invasive species affecting the agricultural economy of the island. Edinburgh Journal of Botany, 71(2):275-285. http://www.journals.cup.org/action/displayJournal?jid=EJB
Carretero JL, 1989. The alien weed flora of the Valencian community (Spain). Proceedings of the 4th EWRS symposium on weed problems in Mediterranean climates. Vol. 2. Problems of weed control in fruit, horticultural crops and rice, 113-124.
Cronquist A, 1976. Conyza Less. In: Tutin TG, Heywood VH, Burges NA, Moore DM, Valentine DH, Walters SM, Webb DA, eds. Flora Europaea, Volume 4, Plantaginaceae to Compositae (and Rubiaceae). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Deans SG; Svoboda KP; Gundidza M; Brechany EY, 1992. Essential oil profiles of several temperate and tropical aromatic plants: their antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. Acta Horticulturae, No. 306:229-232; 4 ref.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
EscarrT J; Debussche M; Imbert E; Lepart J; ThTbaud C, 1998. Life history traits of three exotic invasive Compositae: Conyza canadensis, Conyza sumatrensis and Crepis sancta. Comptes-rendus 6e^grave~me Symposium Me^acute~diterrane^acute~en EWRS, Montpellier, France, 13-15 Mai 1998., 11-17; 28 ref.
Guillerm JL; Floc'h E le; Maillet J; Boulet C, 1990. The invading weeds within the Mediterranean Basin. Biological invasions in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin Dordrecht, Netherlands; Kluwer Academic Publishers, 61-84.
Itoh K; Azmi M; Ahmad A, 1992. Paraquat resistance in Solanum nigrum, Crassocephalum crepidioides, Amaranthus lividus and Conyza sumatrensis in Malaysia. Proceedings of the 1st International Weed Control Congress. Melbourne, Australia; Weed Science Society of Victoria, 2:224-228
Jovet P; Vilmorin R de, 1975. Conyza. In: Coste H, ed. Flore Descriptive et Illustree de la France, 3eme Supplement. Paris, France: Librairie Scientifique et Technique Albert Blanchard, 187-192.
Kang BH; Shim SI, 2002. Overall status of naturalized plants in Korea. Korean Journal of Weed Science, 22:207-226.
Kooij MS; Bredenkamp GJ; Theron GK, 1990. The vegetation in the deep sandy soils of the A land type in the north western Orange Free State, South Africa. Botanical Bulletin of Academia Sinica, 31(3):235-243.
Kostermans AJGH; Wirjahardja S; Dekker RJ, 1987. The weeds: description, ecology and control. Weeds of rice in Indonesia [edited by Soerjani, M.; Kostermans, A.J.G.H.; Tjitrosoepomo, G.] Jakarta, Indonesia; Balai Pustaka, 24-565
Lind EM; Tallantire AC, 1971. Some Flowering Plants of Uganda. Nairobi, Kenya: Oxford University Press.
Machado SMF; Militao JSLT; Facundo VA; Ribeiro A; Morais SM; Alencar JW; Braz Filho R, 1995. Essential oil of Conyza sumatrensis (Retz) Walk. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 7(1):83-84.
McClintock D; Marshall JB, 1988. On Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.) E. Walker and certain hybrids in the genus. Watsonia, 17:1172-1173.
Michael PW, 1977. Some weedy species of Amaranthus (amaranths) and Conyza/Erigeron (fleabanes) naturalized in the Asian-Pacific region. Proceedings of the 6th Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society Conference, Indonesia. Volume 1, 87-95.
Mineta T; Hidaka K; Enomoto T; Oki Y, 1997. Changes in weed communities in direct-seeded paddy fields under Astragalus sinicus L. living mulch and no-tillage cultivation during three years. Journal of Weed Science and Technology, 42(2):88-96; 15 ref.
Missouri Botanical Garden, 2004. VAScular Tropicos database. Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri, USA. http://mobot.mobot.org/W3T/Search/vast.html.
Parham JW, 1958. The Weeds of Fiji. Bulletin Fiji Department of Agriculture, 35. Suava, Fiji: Government Press.
Pliszko A, 2016. Erigeron sumatrensis (Asteraceae), casual alien new to the Polish flora. Botanica Lithuanica, 22(2):182-184. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/botlit.2016.22.issue-2/botlit-2016-0020/botlit-2016-0020.xml?format=INT
Prieur-Richard AH; Lavorel S; Santos Ados; Grigulis K, 2002. Mechanisms of resistance of Mediterranean annual communities to invasion by Conyza bonariensis: effects of native functional composition. Oikos, 99(2):338-346; 37 ref.
Siverio A; Sobrino E; Rodríguez H; Arévalo JR, 2011. Weeds of golf courses on the island of Tenerife. (Malas hierbas de los campos de golf de la isla de Tenerife.) In: Plantas invasoras resistencias a herbicidas y detección de malas hierbas. XIII Congreso de la Sociedad Española de Malherbología, La Laguna, Spain, 22-24 November 2011 [ed. by Arévalo JR, Fernández S, López F, Recasens J, Sobrino E]. Madrid, Spain: Sociedad Española de Malherbología (Spanish Weed Science Society), 83-86.
USDA-ARS, 2004. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx
Wells MJ; Balsinhas AA; Joffe H; Engelbrecht VM; Harding G; Stirton CH, 1986. A catalogue of problem plants in South Africa. Memoirs of the botanical survey of South Africa No 53. Pretoria, South Africa: Botanical Research Institute.
Wurzell B, 1988. Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.) E. Walker established in England. Watsonia, 17:145-148.
Yamasue Y; Kamiyama K; Hanioka Y; Kusanagi T, 1992. Paraquat resistance and its inheritance in seed germination of the foliar-resistant biotypes of Erigeron canadensis L. and E. sumatrensis Retz. Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology, 44(1):21-27.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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