Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Flemingia strobilifera
(wild hops)

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Datasheet

Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Flemingia strobilifera
  • Preferred Common Name
  • wild hops
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • F. strobilifera,more commonly known as wild hops, is an ornamental legume shrub native to South and Southeast Asia where it can be found in the understory of tropical forest. It has become invasive in Cen...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
HabitFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
HabitFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); leafy branch. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. September 2002.
TitleBranch.
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); leafy branch. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. September 2002.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); leafy branch. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. September 2002.
Branch.Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); leafy branch. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. September 2002.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits.
TitleHabit
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits.
HabitFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits.©Smithsonian Institution
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits. French Polynesia.
TitleHabit
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits. French Polynesia.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits. French Polynesia.
HabitFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and fruits. French Polynesia.©Smithsonian Institution
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); close-up of fruit.
TitleFruit
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); close-up of fruit.
Copyright©Smithsonian Institution
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); close-up of fruit.
FruitFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); close-up of fruit.©Smithsonian Institution
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
TitleHabit,
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
Habit,Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing foliage and papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
TitleHabit
CaptionFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Flemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.
HabitFlemingia strobilifera (wild hops); habit, showing papery seedpods. Hana, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2007.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Flemingia strobilifera (L.) W. T. Aiton

Preferred Common Name

  • wild hops

Other Scientific Names

  • Flemingia bracteata (Roxb.) Wight
  • Flemingia fruticulosa Benth.
  • Flemingia strobilifera var. bracteata (Roxb.) Baker
  • Flemingia strobilifera var. fluminalis (Prain) Thuan
  • Flemingia strobilifera var. fruticulosa Baker
  • Flemingia strobilifera var. nudiflora Haines
  • Hedysarum bracteatum Roxb.
  • Hedysarum strobiliferum L.
  • Moghania bracteata (Roxb.) H.L.Li
  • Moghania fruticulosa (Benth.) Mukerjee
  • Moghania strobilifera (L.) A. St.-Hil. ex Kuntze
  • Moghania strobilifera (L.) J.St.-Hil.
  • Moghania strobilifera (L.) Jacks.
  • Moghania strobilifera (L.) Kuntze
  • Zornia strobilifera (L.) Pers.

International Common Names

  • English: luck plant; wild hops
  • Spanish: camaron; verde seco
  • French: Dona-Maria; sainfoin du Bengale; zeb sèk
  • Chinese: qiu sui qian jin ba

Local Common Names

  • Brunei Darussalam: pancar angin; Ringan
  • Cuba: flemingia
  • Dominican Republic: camaron; camarones; camarones secos; verde seco
  • Guadeloupe: zeb sèk
  • India: chepti; kanphuta; Kusrunt; kussunt; lukhy plant; pithawan; sudarsanpati
  • Indonesia: apa-apa kebo; gatak; hahapaan
  • Jamaica: wild hops
  • Lesser Antilles: luck bush; luck plant; sainfoin du Bengale; wild hops; zeb care; zeb kawé; zeb sek
  • Martinique: zeb sèk
  • Mauritius: Napoleonia
  • Palau: besungelaiei; pesungel a iei
  • Papua New Guinea: arana; mineata; mineata
  • Philippines: gangan; payang-payang; piragan
  • Réunion: Dona-Maria
  • Seychelles: Napoleon
  • Thailand: khee dang; ngon kai; nhut phra

EPPO code

  • FLEST (Flemingia strobilifera)

Summary of Invasiveness

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F. strobilifera,more commonly known as wild hops, is an ornamental legume shrub native to South and Southeast Asia where it can be found in the understory of tropical forest. It has become invasive in Central America, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. It is also invasive on many Pacific islands, from where the earliest known record of it as a non-native has been reported (from the early 1800s). F. strobilifera is a prolific seed producer and can regrow after cutting. It can quickly form thickets and then dense, monocultural stands that outcompete native vegetation, especially in disturbed areas. It also invades agricultural land. Reports of its invasiveness are increasing, and it is recommended that it should not be further introduced in the Pacific region, and this is probably equally valid for other parts of the world. Across the West Indies, F. strobilifera is spreading very rapidly and it has become very common in several islands in the Lesser Antilles and in Puerto Rico.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Faboideae
  •                                 Genus: Flemingia
  •                                     Species: Flemingia strobilifera

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Fabaceae is one of the largest families of flowering plants. This family includes about 745 genera and 19500 species which can be found throughout the world growing in a great variety of climates and environments (Stevens, 2012).

Flemingia comprises about 40-50 species, native to the tropical regions in South and Southeast Asia and Australia, with two species occurring naturally in Africa. The genus Moghania that is a synonym of Flemingia is very often written as “Maughania” (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014). Flemingia strobilifera (L.) W.T.Aiton and F. macrophylla (Willd.) Merr. have been introduced as ornamental species and as cover, hedge and mulch crops, and both have become invasive.

However, as with other Flemingia species, whereas the species limits appear accepted, there is some disagreement regarding naming authorities, and clarification will be required in the future. The Plant List (2013) and in this datasheet, F. strobilifera (L.) W.T.Aiton is accepted, however, Missouri Botanical Gardens (2014) record it as F. strobilifera (L.) R. Br.

The floral bracts resemble the true hop plant which is used in the brewing of beer, and it is this that has led to the common name of wild hops (Campbell, 2012). The specific epiphet 'strobilifera' is from the Latin for 'cone-bearing.'

Description

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The following is from the Flora of China Editorial Committee (2014):

F. strobilifera is a shrub or subshrub; 0.3-3 m tall. Branchlets ribbed, densely gray to dull brown villous. Leaves simple; stipules linear-lanceolate, 0.8-1.8 cm, persistent or deciduous; petiole usually 0.5-1.5 cm, densely hairy; leaf blade ovate, nar­rowly ovate, ovate-elliptic, broadly elliptic, or oblong, 6-15 × 3-7 cm, thinly leathery, glabrous or almost glabrous except for veins, lateral veins 5-9 pairs, base rounded, slightly cordate, apex acuminate, obtuse, or acute. Inflorescence a thyrse, some­times branched; inflorescence axis 5-11 cm, densely dun vil­lous; cymules each enclosed by concave bract; bracts 1.2-3 × 2-4.4 cm, papery to almost leathery, both surfaces long hirsute, margin ciliate, apex truncate or rounded, slightly emarginate and with slender mucro. Flowers small; pedicel 1.5-3 mm. Calyx pubescent; lobes ovate, slightly longer than tube. Corolla longer than calyx; standard broadly orbicular; wings narrower than keels. Legume elliptic, 6-10 × 4-5 mm, sparsely pubescent, inflated. Seeds 2, usually dark brown, flattened, suborbicular about 3x4 mm.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Woody

Distribution

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F. strobiliferais native to a broad area in South and Southeast Asia, from Pakistan in the West, to eastern China and the Japanese Ryuku islands in the Northeast, and south to Irian Jaya (Indonesia) and Timor-Leste (ILDIS, 2014).

It has been introduced to some tropical regions, notably Central America, the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific Ocean islands. It has become naturalized in many countries where it is introduced, but it is also notably absent especially from the African continent and most of South America, However, it is possible that it is present in more countries than those indicated in this datasheet.

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 ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
BhutanPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
Brunei DarussalamPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
CambodiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
ChinaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-FujianPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
-GuangdongPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
-GuangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
-GuizhouPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
-HainanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
-YunnanNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
East TimorPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
IndiaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Andhra PradeshPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Arunachal PradeshPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-AssamPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-BiharPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-GoaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-GujaratPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-HaryanaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Himachal PradeshPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Jammu and KashmirPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-KarnatakaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-KeralaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-MaharashtraPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-MeghalayaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-NagalandPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-OdishaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-RajasthanPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-SikkimPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Uttar PradeshPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-West BengalPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
IndonesiaPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
-Irian JayaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-JavaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-KalimantanPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-MoluccasPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-Nusa TenggaraPresentNative
-SumatraPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
Japan
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
LaosPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
MalaysiaPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-SabahPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-SarawakPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
MyanmarPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
NepalPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
PakistanPresentNative Natural ILDIS, 2014
PhilippinesPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
SingaporePresentNative Invasive Chong et al., 2009; ILDIS, 2014; PIER, 2014
Sri LankaPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
TaiwanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
ThailandPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
VietnamPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014; ILDIS, 2014

Africa

MauritiusPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
RéunionPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
SeychellesPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Tanzania
-ZanzibarWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007

North America

USA
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorence et al., 1995; PIER, 2014; USDA-NRCS, 2014

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
BarbadosPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; ILDIS, 2014
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Chacón and Saborío, 2012; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive IABIN, 2003; Kairo et al., 2003; ILDIS, 2014
GrenadaWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; ILDIS, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
HondurasPresentIntroducedZamora, 2010; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Kairo et al., 2003; Campbell, 2012; ILDIS, 2014
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
MontserratWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedILDIS, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
PanamaPresentIntroducedCorrea et al., 2004; ILDIS, 2014; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2015
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-NRCS, 2014
Saint Kitts and NevisWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint LuciaWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesWidespreadIntroducedBroome et al., 2007; ILDIS, 2014
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; ILDIS, 2014

South America

Brazil
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedRoyal Botanic Gardens Kew, 2015Record from 1902
ColombiaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden, 2015
SurinamePresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007; ILDIS, 2014

Oceania

AustraliaPresentNativeILDIS, 2014
-QueenslandPresentNativeCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014; ILDIS, 2014
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2013; PIER, 2014
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Lorence and Wagner, 2013; PIER, 2014
GuamPresentIntroduced Not invasive PIER, 2014
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 2013; PIER, 2014
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive MacKee, 1994; PIER, 2014
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced
PalauPresentIntroduced Invasive Space et al., 2009; PIER, 2014
Papua New GuineaPresentNative Not invasive Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2014; PIER, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014
SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002; PIER, 2014
TongaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2001; PIER, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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There are no specific records that relate to dates of introduction for F. strobilifera,but it may have been introduced as an ornamental plant from the 1800s. The earliest known record of its location as a non-native is from the Pacific, from the early 1800s in New Caledonia (Blanfort et al., 2010), and in South America in 1902 in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014).

It is naturalizing and invasive in parts of the Caribbean (Kairo et al., 2003) and the Pacific (Meyer, 2000), and it is highly probable that reports of its invasiveness will increase and it may spread further.

Risk of Introduction

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PIER (2014) note that F. strobilifera (and F. macrophylla)show every indication of becoming invasive species on Pacific islands”. The species scored a medium five in a Pacific weed risk assessment (as did F. macrophylla), noting that it should be further evaluated (PIER, 2014). It is recommended that Flemingia species (F. strobilifera and F. macrophylla)should not be further introduced in the Pacific region. Also, noting its invasiveness on many islands and its absence from many continental areas, further introduction to mainland Africa and South America may also lead to future invasions.

Habitat

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F. strobilifera as a native species may be found in the understory of tropical forest. Where introduced, it is reported as naturalizing and invading on abandoned pastures and other disturbed areas, forming thickets that then become dense monocultural stands over time (PIER, 2014). In French Polynesia and Hawaii, it is reported as naturalizing on roadsides (Space and Flynn, 2000). In Jamaica, F. strobilifera is common in fields, forming thickets along field margins, along tracks, in waste places near streams, and in abandoned pastures, thriving from sea level to 915 m (Campbell, 2012). In New Caledonia, it is found on degraded pastures, fallow land, disturbed land, and is common along roadsides (Blanfort et al., 2010).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land 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)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for F. strobilifera is 2n = 22 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014).

Reproductive Biology

F. strobiliferais propagated from seed and produces seed in the first year of growth. Each inflorescence can produce 30 flowers, and two seeds per pod. Cross pollination is essential, mainly by bees (University of Hawaii, Manoa, 2017). Seeds have physical dormancy due to a hard seed coat, requiring scarification (Jayasuriya et al., 2010). Seed is orthodox, but germination rates decrease sharply after six months. It is noted as a prolific seed producer in parts of the Pacific where it is has become naturalized (PIER, 2014), with Blanfort et al., (2010) reporting that it can produce 100 million seeds per hectare, explaining its invasiveness.

Physiology and Phenology

F. strobilifera, like other Flemingia species, is a light-demanding plant that colonizes exposed fertile sites, and shows some drought tolerance. It is nitrogen-fixing, and regenerates well after coppicing. It is reported as being very fast growing on disturbed sites and under ideal conditions.

In Jamaica, flowering occurs from December through to August, fruiting from December to March and July to August (Campbell, 2012). In China, F. strobilifera can be found flowering from February to August and fruiting from April to November (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014).

Associations

"Flemingia is effectively nodulated by Bradyrhyzobium strains." (Turk & Keyser, 1992).

Environmental Requirements

F. strobilifera is native to a range of tropical and subtropical areas. In China, F. strobilifera grows on mountain slopes at elevations from 200 m to 1600 m (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014).  

It tolerates mean annual rainfall as low as 800 mm, but prefers more than 1500 mm for good growth, and a dry season of less than four months.

This species grows well on freely draining and fertile sites but may tolerate a diverse range of soils including poor and acidic soils.

Climate

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

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 5
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 25
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 20 30
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 10 20

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration10003500number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall800mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile
  • shallow

Notes on Natural Enemies

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F. strobilifera is reported as a host of scale insects on offshore islands of Colombia (Kondo et al., 2012).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

When mature and dry, the small pods turn brown and split, discharging their seeds over short distances (Roshetko, 1995). Water and wind probably assist seed dispersal.

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

There is no direct evidence that the fruit is bird dispersed and no other evidence of animal dispersal (PIER, 2014).

Accidental Introduction

It is improbable that it would be introduced accidentally. Agricultural machinery may spread seed.

Intentional Introduction

F. strobilifera has been introduced as an ornamental species and also as a soil improver, a component of hedges, and as a mulch and green manure crop.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesGrown as an ornamental Yes Yes ISSG, 2014
WaterSeeds Yes ISSG, 2014
WindSeeds Yes ISSG, 2014

Impact Summary

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

Environmental Impact

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F. strobilifera colonizes the open understory of coconut plantations, pasture, roadsides and clearings in secondary forests and wetlands (Meyer, 2000). In Jamaica, once established, it forms thickets and continues to spread, aggressively competing with native species for needed resources, mostly in disturbed areas (Campbell, 2012). The invasive nature and noted environmental impacts in the Pacific region has led to the species being declared a threat to biodiversity in two legal orders in 1988 and 2006, the latter including F. strobilifera amongst plants declared to be "species that threaten biodiversity", and subject to a ban on new imports, propagation and planting (Meyer, 2000).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Benefits

F. strobilifera has been planted as a cover crop in rubber plantations in Sri Lanka, along with other Flemingia species (Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, 1962). Of a range of potential cover crops tested, F. strobilifera and F. macrophylla were two of only three species that competed successfully with the natural weed population. Their root systems apparently did not interfere with those of the crop, and F. strobilifera responded more vigorously to cutting, developed more adventitious roots and was more drought-resistant than F. macrophylla (Lems, 1965). F. strobilifera is also used as an ornamental species (Neal, 1965), and is used in floral arrangements because of its attractive inflated bracts (Campbell, 2012). Some florists spray the bracts in various colours to suit different floral arrangements. The floral bracts resemble the true hop plant which is used in the brewing of beer, and it is this that has led to the common name of wild hops (Campbell, 2012).

F. strobilifera is not reported to be used or valued as a forage or fodder, unlike F. macrophylla. The leaves are rather tough and coarse, and may also contain high levels of tannin that would reduce palatability. F. strobilifera is reported as a minor host of the lac insect (Kumar and Srivastava, 1993), in addition to the two species of Flemingia (F. chappar and F. macrophylla) more commonly used as minor lac hosts.

F. strobilifera has also been planted in experiments to control the invasive Mikania scandens in plantations of ‘jak’ (Artocarpus integrifolius). It produced dense undergrowth, spreading rapidly beyond areas where which it had been sown. Even though it prevented the growth of mikania, other climbers still manage to become established and climb up the jak trees (Ceylon Silvicultural Research Administration, 1945).

F. strobilifera plant extracts are reported to have numerous medical properties and applications, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anticonvulsive, antimicrobial, anti-ulcerogenic and anti-helminthic properties (Gahlot et al., 2011; 2013; Kumar et al., 2011a,b,c). Several Flemingia species are important sources of medicinal natural products, particularly flavonoids and steroids, with recent developments in the ethnobotany, pharmacology and phytochemistry of the genus (Gahlot et al., 2011). F. strobilifera (also F. macrophylla and F. chappar) have been traditionally used in India in the treatment of epilepsy, insomnia, ulcer pain and swelling. In Malaysia, leaves are reported to be used to treat rheumatism, administered after childbirth, used for bathing the body (Burkill, 1993). In the Philippines, a decoction or infusion of leaves and flowers is prescribed in tuberculosis. In Java and Papua New Guinea, the leaves are employed both externally and internally as an anthelmintic for children (van der Maesen, 2001). However, despite the long tradition of the use of some species, applications in modern medicine have not been explored in detail. The potential of Flemingia species is detailed by (Gahlot et al., 2011), as a reference tool to practitioners in the fields of ethnopharmacology and natural products chemistry. Leaves are also used to stuff pillows, and the wood is burned for use in blackening the teeth (Burkill, 1993).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation
  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Materials

  • Green manure
  • Lac
  • Mulches

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Full descriptions of several species of Flemingia being a used as cover crops in rubber plantations are provided by the Rubber Research Institute of Malaya (1962), including F. strobilifera, F. congesta [F. macrophylla], F. congesta var. latifolia and var. semialata, To assist in the better separation of the two main Flemingia species (F. strobilifera and F. macrophylla), Kavita et al. (2012) reports on the morpho-anatomical and phytochemical characteristics of the two species as an aid in their identification and differentiation. In China, it is distinguished from other species of Flemingia by its large incurved bracts, leaves rounded to slightly cordate at the base, at least 3 cm wide, on petioles at least 5 mm long (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2014).

Prevention and Control

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Blanfort et al. (2010) report that small F. strobilifera plants are controlled in New Caledonia by cutting, (larger areas are mechanically cleared by a chipper) and that special attention must be made to avoid fruiting so timely cutting is essential. Furthermore, due to its ability to generate coppice shoots, cutting is followed by herbicide treatment using triclopyr, or treatment of stumps cut at ground level with picloram and 2,4-D (Blanfort et al., 2010).

References

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Contributors

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10/11/2014 Original text by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France

01/12/14 Additional content by:

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

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