Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Ageratina adenophora
(Croftonweed)

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Datasheet

Ageratina adenophora (Croftonweed)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ageratina adenophora
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Croftonweed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. adenophora has proved to be a very aggressive invasive species in some parts of the world, notably Australia, where it forced some farmers to abandon their land in the 1950s. Its spread is restricted there n...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Shoot with galling caused by Procecidocharis utilis.
TitleShoot with galling
CaptionShoot with galling caused by Procecidocharis utilis.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Shoot with galling caused by Procecidocharis utilis.
Shoot with gallingShoot with galling caused by Procecidocharis utilis.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ageratina adenophora (Spreng.) R.M. King & H. Rob.

Preferred Common Name

  • Croftonweed

Other Scientific Names

  • Eupatorium adenophorum Spreng. (1826)
  • Eupatorium glandulosum Kunth
  • Eupatorium pasdadense Parish

International Common Names

  • English: Crofton weed; sticky eupatorium

Local Common Names

  • : pamakani
  • Australia: catweed; hemp agrimony; Mexican devil; sticky agrimony
  • India: cypress weed
  • New Zealand: catweed; hemp agrimony; Mexican devil
  • USA: sticky agrimony; sticky snakeroot
  • USA/Hawaii: Maui pamakani

EPPO code

  • EUPAD (Ageratina adenophora)

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. adenophora has proved to be a very aggressive invasive species in some parts of the world, notably Australia, where it forced some farmers to abandon their land in the 1950s. Its spread is restricted there now due to adequate legislation and control measures. It is, however, still spreading in other parts of the world such as China, and due to its potential introduction as a seed contaminant and potential impacts, it must be considered as a high risk species meriting further attention. It is known to be invasive in Kenya and is also present in Uganda. Control is possible, although difficult, and biological control has been attempted and proved at least partially successful.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Ageratina
  •                                 Species: Ageratina adenophora

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page Ageratina combines the genus Ageratum with the suffix 'ina', meaning 'pertaining to', suggesting that the two genera are related; 'adenophora' is a combination of the Greek 'aden' (a gland), and 'phoros' (meaning 'bearing') which refers to the oil-producing glands in the leaves. The most common vernacular name in English is Crofton weed, named after a councillor in Lismore Shire, New South Wales, Australia, in the 1920s, when the species first became identified as an invasive weed. Apparently, the plant was introduced to the area as an ornamental from Sydney by one of his neighbours and spread rapidly onto his property (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). This species is still quite widely referred to as Eupatorium adenophorum.

It is not, however, to be confused with Eupatorium trapezoideum Kunth (=Ageratina trapezoides (Kunth) R.M. King & H. Rob.) though it is synonymized as such in CAB Abstracts. A. trapezoides is a native to Nepal, northern India and neighbouring areas, and valued as a medicinal and green manure plant (common name 'banmara'). The use of this species epithet is common, especially in Asian populations; further work is, however, required in order to elucidate the exact relationship between these populations and those of A. adenophora sensu stricto, native to central Mexico. Also, in northern India there has been reference to 'Eupatorium (Chromolaena adenophorum L.)' (Saini, 2002) which is thought to represent A. adenophora, though this again highlights the need for further taxonomical studies, especially in this region.

Description

Top of page A many stemmed, perennial herb 1-2 m high, reproducing by seed and vegetatively from a short, pale, yellow rootstock. The following description is taken from Parsons and Cuthbertson (1992). Stems are purplish, numerous, erect, smooth, cylindrical; shortly branched towards the apex, 1-2 m long, occasionally longer; glandular, hairy at first but becoming woody with age and rooting at the nodes if damaged. Stems arise from a short, thick, pale-yellow rootstock with a carrot-like odour when broken, giving rise to numerous branching secondary roots extending laterally to a radius of 1 m and downwards to 40 cm; adventitious roots may form on the first 3 cm of stem. Leaves dark green; opposite, broadly trowel-shaped, 5-8 cm long, (2.5-)3-7.5 cm wide, with serrated edges, tapering towards the apex and narrowing abruptly at the base into a slender stalk 2-4 cm long; 3-nerved, glabrous or slightly pubescent, toothed along the apical margins. Petioles are brown. Flowers comprise 50 to 70 white, tubular florets about 3.5 mm long; grouped into heads 5-6 mm diameter within a row of green bracts and arranged in flat clusters up to 10 cm across at the end of the branches. Seeds are dark brown to black, slender, angular, 1.5-2 mm long; topped by a pappus of 5 to 10 fine white hairs approximately 4 mm long.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

Top of page The native range of A. adenophora is restricted to central Mexico, in the states of Colima, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico D.F., Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla and Queretaro (USDA-ARS, 2004). It may now be more widespread than this. As an introduced species, it is likely to be more widespread than indicated in this distribution list, especially in China, South and South-East Asia.

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

BhutanPresentIntroducedParker, 1992
Brunei DarussalamPresentIntroducedWaterhouse, 1993
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-SichuanPresentIntroducedGreathead, 1996
-YunnanPresentIntroducedHe and Liang, 1988
IndiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; Trounce and Dyason, 2003
IndonesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Waterhouse, 1993
NepalPresentIntroduced Invasive Sankaran, 1973
PhilippinesRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedHolm et al., 1991; Trounce and Dyason, 2003
TaiwanPresentIntroducedPeng et al., 1998
ThailandRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; Waterhouse, 1993; EPPO, 2014

Africa

KenyaPresentIntroduced Invasive Blundell, 1992; Witt and Luke, 2017
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991
South AfricaPresentIntroducedWells et al., 1986
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003; Trounce and Dyason, 2003
UgandaPresentWitt and Luke, 2017

North America

MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2004
USARestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2004
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Trounce and Dyason, 2003
Trinidad and TobagoRestricted distributionIntroducedHolm et al., 1991; EPPO, 2014

Europe

FrancePresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CorsicaRestricted distributionIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
GreecePresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CreteRestricted distributionIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
ItalyPresentIntroducedGuacchio Edel, 2013
PortugalPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
-AzoresPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
-Portugal (mainland)PresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
SpainPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003
-Spain (mainland)PresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2003

Oceania

AustraliaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014
-New South WalesRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; Lazarides et al., 1997
-QueenslandRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; Lazarides et al., 1997
-South AustraliaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; Lazarides et al., 1997
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Trounce and Dyason, 2003
New ZealandRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; USDA-ARS, 2004; EPPO, 2014
Papua New GuineaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1991; EPPO, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

Top of page Introduced intentionally to many parts of the world as an ornamental during the 1800s, this native of Central America is now naturalized and widely established as a serious weed in many tropical and sub-tropical areas, especially north-eastern and southern India between sea level and 2000 m, also Nigeria, South-East Asia, Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

In Australia, it was introduced as an ornamental species to the north coast of New South Wales around 1900 (Trounce and Dyason, 2003) and soon colonized much of the newly cleared lands on both sides of the border between New South Wales and Queensland, where in 1930 it was recorded as naturalized on the Springbrook plateau above the Tweed Valley. It spread slowly over the next 10 years but became more aggressive between 1940 and 1950. Then, because of drought, a shortage of fertilizer and overgrazing, A. adenophora suddenly proliferated, overrunning large areas of dairy pastures and horticultural land on both sides of the border. It spread so fast that in some areas dairy farmers and banana growers abandoned their holdings (Auld, 1969, 1970; Holm et al., 1991; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). It has been present in the Sydney area since approximately 1970 (Trounce and Dyason, 2003).

In Australia, Crofton weed is currently almost wholly restricted to the coastal strip from Sydney northward to the Mary River, Queensland, where the major infestations occur in the mountain valleys and adjacent tablelands, straddling the border between the two states. However, as it has been cultivated as an ornamental in most mainland states, it has become naturalized in and close to some urban areas, particularly suburban Adelaide and along the Murray River in South Australia (Auld, 1969, 1970; Holm et al., 1991; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992). However, whether due to the effects of quarantine, declaration as a weed or to other reasons, Australia's Virtual Herbarium (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, 2004) still only records it as present in New South Wales and Queensland, rare in South Australia and absent elsewhere in the country.

The means of introduction into Pacific islands, mainland USA and Europe are unknown, but it appears that this weed may be spreading and is likely to be found elsewhere. In Europe it is restricted to Mediterranean regions, and even within these, to those with warmer climates, such as Atlantic and Mediterranean islands. Peng et al. (1998) noted it as then 'newly naturalized' to Taiwan and there is increasing concern in parts of China rergarding its recent spread.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page A. adenophora is a regulated weed in some parts of the world, notably Australia (New South Wales and Queensland) and the USA (Florida, Hawaii) and others. It is a declared noxious weed or Class A noxious plant in a number of US states where it is not yet present (USDA-ARS, 2004), indicating its potential risks and impacts, and desire for it not to be introduced. Risks of introduction are high, as seeds may be a contaminant in a variety of traded products included cereal, stockfeeds, forage seeds, soil, sand and gravel, and may also be imported in mud attached to vehicles, agricultural machinery, livestock or humans themselves.

Habitat

Top of page A. adenophora is principally a weed of pastures, in warm, moist, frost-free regions. It has been an special problem in overgrazed or otherwise poorly managed grazing land in Australia, where it is known to also invade natural forests, forest margins (including rainforests), roadsides (Land Protection, 2004), railway embankments, nature reserves and national parks, roadsides and waste areas, ungrazed smallholdings, cleared land, fencelines and abandoned banana plantations (Trounce and Dyason, 2003).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / 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-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Deserts Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The principal hosts of A. adenophora are pastures species. It has also been recorded as a weed of bananas, and occasionally other perennial crops such as passionfruit vines and avocado orchards.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Biology and Ecology

Top of page Genetics

Little is known and even less is published regarding the genetics and evolutionary origin and affinities of A. adenophora. Further research, especially on the affinities within this genus and closely related ones may reveal interesting insights into the biology of the species for possible use in its control and management.

Physiology and Phenology

In Australia, seeds germinate in the light any time between December and September, with peak germination (>80% of viable seeds) in February and March. Seedlings grow rapidly and are fully established and able to regenerate from the crown, if damaged, within 8 weeks of germination. In second year and older plants, new growth begins with the first major summer rains, usually in January. The growth rate of seedlings and mature plants remains high during summer but tapers off in the cooler winter months. Buds appear in late winter and flowering begins in September. Seeds mature and are shed between October and mid-January, the lower leaves of the plant dropping after seed fall. For further information on the biology of A. adenophora, refer to Auld and Martin (1975) and Auld (1977). Once established, seedlings tolerate shade and can grow rapidly, and occasional plants are able to develop into substantial infestations.

Environmental Requirements

A. adenophora appears to prefer mild, moist, sub-humid climates for optimal growth. Although native to central Mexico, noting its absence from areas receiving winter frosts in its introduced range, it is likely to be native to low altitude areas in Mexico because higher altitudes are known to receive frosts during winter. In Europe it is restricted to frost-free regions in the Mediterranean basin and Atlantic islands. Moist south-facing slopes are preferred in Queensland, Australia (Land Protection, 2004), though it does not appear to be restricted to such areas.

There does not appear to be any specific preference for soil types, with A. adenophora apparently able to grow on dry sands as well as wetland clay soils. It can tolerate some salinity and infertility.

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • saline
  • shallow

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Dihammus argentatus Herbivore Growing point
Mycovellosiella Pathogen Leaves Brazil wheat
Passalora assamensis Pathogen
Procecidochares utilis Herbivore Stems South Africa

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page Natural enemies were surveyed in the native range of the weed in Mexico by Osborne (1924) who drew attention to organisms of possible value as biological control agents. He found a range of insects including a tephritid gall fly, a lepidopteran stem borer and a curculionid feeding on the shoot tips. Two diseases were noted but not studied. The tephritid was later identified as Procecidochares utilis and has been widely introduced as a biological control agent but in most countries where it has become established it is heavily parasitized by native parasitoids and has had little impact. A leaf spot disease, specific to A. adenophora, has been inadvertently introduced along with the gall fly but does little damage. It appears in the literature as Cercospora eupatorii and Mycovelosiella eupatorii-odorati or Phaeoramularia eupatorii-odorati but both of these were described from Chromolaena odorata and so, because the fungus is host-specific, the identification is not correct and it is best referred to a Mycovelosiella sp. for the time being (HC Evans, CABI Bioscience, Egham, UK, personal communication). Outside its native range in Mexico, the only promising natural enemy reported is the native Australian crown-boring weevil, Dihammus argentatus.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Spread of A. adenophora is principally by seed, which is adapted for dispersal by both wind and water due to the feathery hairs of its pappus.

Vector Transmission

It is possible that seeds could attach to the hair, skin or feathers of animals with mud thus facilitating their spread. This could be a major means of dispersal when moving livestock from infested to clear pastures during wet weather in the seed-setting periods.

Agricultural Practices

Local extension of colonies and an increase in plant density can occur when bent and broken stems take root where they contact the soil, or when pieces of root have a portion of the crown attached. These can be easily moved during cultivation. The seeds can also attach themselves, often in mud, to clothes (of agricultural workers as well as tourists, hikers, etc.) and especially to farm machinery. Seeds may also contaminate stockfeed.

Accidental Introduction

An important means of spread of A. adenophora is movement as an impurity in agricultural produce, mainly cereals, forage and other seeds, also in sand and gravel used for road making, soil, and in mud sticking to animals, machinery and other vehicles, as well as to footwear and clothing. These multiple means of introduction mean that many pathways are possible for the accidental importation of A. adenophora seed.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsAttached to clothing Yes
Land vehiclesIn mud on agricultural machinery Yes
Soil, sand and gravelContaminant of soil, sand, gravel Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Growing medium accompanying plants seeds Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Leaves seeds Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
True seeds (inc. grain) seeds Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
Fruits (inc. pods)
Roots
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
Wood

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Non-wood
Processed or treated wood
Solid wood packing material with bark
Solid wood packing material without bark

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production None
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production None
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora None
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Impact

Top of page Crofton weed reduces crop yield, affects the carrying capacity of grazing lands and restricts movement of stock and machinery. The invasion of land in Australia in the 1940s and 1950s was so rapid and so severe that it even led to some farmers abandoning their landholdings. It has also invaded managed kikuyu pastures [Pennisetum clandestinum] in Queensland, Australia (Land Protection, 2004).

Cattle find it unpalatable, sheep and goats eat it without apparent ill effect if other pasture is present, but horses, eating it readily, die as a result. This horse disease, an important impact of A. adenophora, is known in Australia as 'Numimbah horse sickness' in New South Wales and 'Tallebudgera horse disease' in Queensland (Land Protection, 2004), and as 'blowing disease' in Hawaii, USA. It may take several years to become evident but is always fatal. The symptoms are coughing, difficult breathing and violent blowing after exertion, and are the result of acute oedema (swelling) of the lungs, leading to haemorrhaging. The liver can also be affected, but death from respiratory failure is the eventual result. Affected horses may collapse and die suddenly during work (Trounce and Dyason, 2003). No method of preventing horse losses is known other than denying access (Land Protection, 2004), because A. adenophora is particularly palatable to horses even though it is poisonous.

The poisonous principle is unknown but feeding tests suggest that it is present only in flowering plants, though it also noted as poisonous just prior to flowering (Trounce and Dyason, 2003). Because the occurrence of pulmonary lesions is not reduced when pollen inhalation is prevented, systemic toxicity appears to be a response to inhalation (Auld, 1970, 1977).

Environmental Impact

Top of page Such serious, if localized, invasion is likely to have environmental effects, though very little impact is recorded.

Impact: Biodiversity

Top of page A. adenophora is able to displace native plant species by competition, especially in Australia, because it forms dense monospecific stands in serious infestations. Long-term effects upon community structure and ecological processes have been inadequately studied.

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Nototrichium humile (kaala rockwort)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered) EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008a
Peristylus holochila (Hawai'i bog orchid)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009a
Phyllostegia mollis (Waianae Range phyllostegia)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009c
Phyllostegia parviflora (smallflower phyllostegia)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008b
Plantago princepsNatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Pritchardia kaalae (Waianae Range pritchardia)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
Pritchardia munroi (Kamalo pritchardia)No DetailsHawaiiCompetition - smotheringUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a
Remya mauiensis (Maui remya)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009d
Schiedea hookeri (sprawling schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b
Schiedea kaalae (Oahu schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1998
Schiedea lydgatei (Kamalo Gulch schiedea)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011c
Schiedea sarmentosaUSA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011d
Pteris lidgatei (Lidgate's brake)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009b
Silene lanceolata (Kauai catchfly)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Silene perlmanii (cliffface catchfly)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012
Viola chamissoniana subsp. chamissoniana (pamakani)USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified); Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2008c

Social Impact

Top of page The social impacts of farmers being forced to abandon their land because of A. adenophora invasion is evident, though most recorded cases were in Australia only and at least 50 years ago.

Though a number of invasive plant species are noted as having negative health effects via the allergenic nature of their pollen (e.g. Broussonetia papyrifera, Prosopis juliflora), no effects have been observed with A. adenophora even though the pollen has been implicated in a fatal disease of horses (Auld, 1970, 1977). Horse owners and horse users may be affected by stress and high veterinary fees.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

Top of page A. adenophora appears to have few potential uses, though it is observed to be toxic to rats and the oils have antifungal and insecticidal qualities, being suggested for use in controlling aphids, ants and even weevils in stored grains (e.g. Li et al., 2001). The oil has been considered for other uses, and even for xylitol production (Yang and Li, 1999). Some medicinal uses are recorded in Yunnan, China, but, as with many references to its use as a quality green manure and mulch, these may refer to A. trapezoides and not to A. adenophora sensu stricto.

Uses List

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Materials

  • Poisonous to mammals

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page In Australia, A. adenophora is sometimes confused with the closely related A. riparia, common name mistflower (Trounce and Dyason, 2003). The principal differences are that A. riparia is a prostrate shrub not exceeding 30 cm in height with narrow and elongated leaves, though floral parts are similar (see Trounce and Dyason, 2003).

Prevention and Control

Top of page Mechanical Control

Where practicable, A. adenophora can be controlled by slashing followed by ripping or ploughing and then sowing a pasture containing tropical grasses and legumes suited to the district. Unreliable rainfall patterns may make sown pastures difficult to establish in spring, prior to the summer germination of the weed, but pasture improvement is probably the most effective means of control available. Slash and cultivate infested areas in early spring, using crawler tractors and tandem offset discs where wheeled tractors cannot be employed with safety. Sow the pasture mixture at a high rate and spotspray seedlings as they appear (Auld, 1969; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Chemical Control

Chemical control is effective when using high volume application and applying glyphosate, dicamba + MCPA or picloram + triclopyr in late summer or autumn when the weed is growing actively, thoroughly wetting the whole plant, particularly at the base. Where the slope permits, boomspray denser infestations with dicamba + MCPA but, in less accessible, steep or rocky areas, treat scattered plants with granular formulations of the herbicides, or use a gas gun and apply low volume, high concentration treatments of picloram + triclopyr (Auld, 1969; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Biological Control

Because biological control of Crofton weed was fairly successful in Hawaii, USA, the trypetid gall fly, Procecidochares utilis, was introduced to Queensland, Australia, in 1952. It established successfully, but the amount of damage fluctuated because of parasitism by indigenous hymenopteran insects. Crofton weed is also attacked by an exotic fungus, Cercospora eupatorii (which is thought to have been introduced accidentally with P. utilis), and a native crown-boring cerambycid, Dihammus argentatus. None of these organisms offer any real degree of control individually, but the combined effect has reduced plant vigour (Dodd, 1961; Haseler, 1966; Cullen and Delfosse, 1990).

Biological control was pioneered in Hawaii, USA. A survey of natural enemies in the native range of the weed in Mexico was carried out by Osborne (1924) and the gall fly P. utilis, was introduced in 1945. The weed was successfully controlled in all areas, except in regions with annual rainfall over 1030-1540 mm (Bess and Harmamoto, 1972).

The gall fly, accompanied by a specific leaf spot disease caused by Mycovellosiella sp., was introduced into the foothills of the Himalayas in India in 1963 and spread into Nepal but its impact has been reduced by parasitism by native parasitoids (Sankaran, 1973). When the weed spread into China, the gall fly was obtained from the border area with Nepal and released in Yunnan Province (He and Liang, 1988) and later in Sichuan Province but the results have been disappointing due to heavy parasitism (Greathead, 1996). Biological control has also been attempted in New Zealand and South Africa where both the gall fly and the fungus are established but, again with little impact on the weed (Kluge, 1991).

References

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Links to Websites

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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.

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