Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Funtumia elastica
(West African rubber tree)

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Datasheet

Funtumia elastica (West African rubber tree)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 02 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Funtumia elastica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • West African rubber tree
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Funtumia elastica is a medium-sized rubber tree native to tropical West Africa. It is considered an invasive species in forest understorey and naturally disturbed areas in Samoa and Martinique. It produces an i...

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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Funtumia elastica (Preuss) Stapf

Preferred Common Name

  • West African rubber tree

Other Scientific Names

  • Kibatalia elastica (Preuss) Merr.
  • Kickxia elastica Preuss
  • Kixia elastica Preuss

International Common Names

  • English: African wild rubber; bush rubber; ire-rubber tree; ive rubber; Lagos rubber; Lagos rubber tree; Lagos silk rubber tree; silkrubbber; West African rubber; West African rubber tree
  • Spanish: caucho Africano
  • French: Arbe à caoutchouc
  • Portuguese: borracheira Africana

Local Common Names

  • American Samoa: puluvao
  • Cameroon: dinjongo
  • Central African Republic: kousdu
  • China: si jiao shu
  • Côte d'Ivoire: bebeti
  • Cuba: Lagos caoutchouc; caucho de Lagos
  • Ghana: fruntum; efunmundon
  • Martinique: caoutchouc
  • Nigeria: ire
  • Poland: funtumia sprężysta
  • Puerto Rico: goma
  • Samoa: pulu vao
  • Sierra Leone: buboi
  • Togo: ofuruntum
  • Trinidad and Tobago: caoutchouc
  • Uganda: musanda; namukagu; nkago

EPPO code

  • FTUEL (Funtumia elastica)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Funtumia elastica is a medium-sized rubber tree native to tropical West Africa. It is considered an invasive species in forest understorey and naturally disturbed areas in Samoa and Martinique. It produces an immense quantity of seeds that are adapted for wind dispersal and its establishment has been favoured by fire and cyclones or hurricanes on these islands. This species can form monospecific stands, outcompeting native species.

In some of its native habitats in Africa, F. elastica is a rare canopy species of primary and secondary forests, even being considered an endangered species in some Nigerian forests.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Gentianales
  •                         Family: Apocynaceae
  •                             Genus: Funtumia
  •                                 Species: Funtumia elastica

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The Apocynaceae is a mostly pantropical and subtropical family with about 480 genera and 4800 species (Potgieter and Albert, 2001). The family includes species that produce latex and others with important medicinal compounds, such as Catharanthus roseus which is a source of drugs used to treat leukaemia (Sennblad and Bremer, 2002). Molecular and phylogenetic studies support the inclusion of the families Asclepiadaceae and Periplocaceae within the Apocynaceae (Sennblad and Bremer, 1996; Endress and Bruyns, 2000).

The genus Funtumia consists of two African species: F. elastica and F. africana (Adekunle and Ikumapayi, 2006). The generic epithet is derived from ‘funtum’, a local Ghanaian name (Orwa et al., 2009). The Plant List (2013) lists both Kickxia elastica and Kixia elastica as synonyms of F. elastica. The International Plant Names Index (IPNI, 2018) does not have Kickxia elastica as a listed species, and that genus is included in the Plantaginaceae family. Different references and websites list both names as valid synonyms or use either only Kixia or Kickxia, which has led to confusing use of the names.

Description

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The following description is adapted from Katende et al. (1995):

A forest tree growing to 40 m with a straight cylindrical bole and no buttresses. The bark is smooth and thin. The latex is cream-coloured and abundant. It dries to a small ball if rubbed between the fingers, leaving the fingers clean. The leaves are broadly oval, opposite, dark green and leathery. Underneath there are clear pits where the lateral veins make an angle with midrib. The flowers are yellow white, fragrant, in short dense groups, the lobes of the corolla shorter than the flower tube. The fruit is a pair of woody, flat follicles to 30 cm, usually less, blunt-ended. Seeds have a tuft of long white hairs at one end.

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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Funtumia elastica is native to tropical west Africa, eastward as far as Uganda (Hanelt, 2018). It is found in Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, the Caribbean, South America and Oceania (See Distribution Table for details; Jyotsna and Kumar, 2015; Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, 2018; New York Botanical Garden, 2018; PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2019; USDA-ARS, 2018; ZipcodeZoo, 2018).

In Samoa, the species is invasive in Savai’i and is invading the forest understorey and forming monospecific stands on the western half of Upolu (PIER, 2018). A fire and two cyclones in Samoa during 1990 and 1991 favoured the establishment of invasive species (Elmqvist et al., 1994). After these events, an increase of juveniles of F. elastica was observed in the burned area and F. elastica has since become one of the most dominant species in naturally disturbed areas in Samoa (Netterling, 2008). Hjerpe et al. (2001) studied the effects of the fire, finding an increase of juveniles of F. elastica in the burned area.

In Martinique, F. elastica is naturalized and a serious threat in both the moist and the moderately humid forests in the centre of the island (Fleriag, 2010). The large quantity of seeds produced and the efficiency of their dissemination is facilitating the successful establishment of the species in Martinique (Fleriag, 2010). The species is affecting native species by outcompeting and shading them. The disturbance caused by Hurricane Dean in 2007 has helped the spread of the species on the island.

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.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresentNativeZipcodeZoo (2018)
BeninPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
CameroonPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
Central African RepublicPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
Congo, Republic of thePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
Côte d'IvoirePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
EgyptPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
Equatorial GuineaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
GabonPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
GhanaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
GuineaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
LiberiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
NigerPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
NigeriaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
SenegalPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
Sierra LeonePresentHanelt (2018)
South AfricaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
SudanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018); Jackson (1956)
TanzaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
TogoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2018)
UgandaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedPROTA (2018)

Asia

ChinaPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
-YunnanPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2019)
IndiaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedJyotsna J and Kumar B (2015)
-BiharPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedJyotsna J and Kumar B (2015)Darbhanga
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
-JavaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
Sri LankaAbsent, Formerly presentRoyal Botanic Gardens, Kew (1907)Trials for its cultivation reported
TaiwanPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)

North America

CubaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1927New York Botanical Garden (2018)Cienfuegos
DominicaPresentIntroduced1896HOWARD and POWELL (1963)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedPROTA (2018)
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedDendroflora de El Salvador (2018)Escaped from its cultivation at La Laguna Botanical Garden
GrenadaPresentIntroduced1903HOWARD and POWELL (1963)
HaitiPresentIntroduced1923New York Botanical Garden (2018)Bayeux
HondurasPresentIntroducedNew York Botanical Garden (2018)
JamaicaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1896HOWARD and POWELL (1963)
MartiniquePresentIntroduced1896InvasiveFleriag L (2010); Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (2018)
MexicoPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
MontserratPresentIntroduced1901HOWARD and POWELL (1963)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced1926NaturalizedFrancis and Liogier (1991); Kairo et al. (2003); Axelrod (2011); New York Botanical Garden (2018)Reported as naturalized and also as present only in cultivation
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroduced1903HOWARD and POWELL (1963)
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedHOWARD and POWELL (1963)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroduced1903HOWARD and POWELL (1963)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced1945Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (2018)Trinidad
United StatesPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
-FloridaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2018)Miami-Dade County
-HawaiiPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedSmithsonian Museum of Natural History (2018)Oahu

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
-VictoriaPresentIntroducedZipcodeZoo (2018)
SamoaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2018); USDA-ARS (2018)Savai’i and Upolu islands

South America

BoliviaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedSmithsonian Museum of Natural History (2018)
Brazil
-Rio de JaneiroPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedReflora (2018)Cultivated at the Botanical Garden
GuyanaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedHanelt (2018)

History of Introduction and Spread

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The cultivation of F. elastica was an initiative of the British Empire in India in the late 1800s, as a possible alternative to the Indian source of rubber Ficus elastica (Sampson, 1935). It was cultivated at a large scale in the 19th century in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Java, the West Indies, Guyana and some of the Pacific islands for rubber production, before being replaced by Hevea brasiliensis (Hanelt, 2018).

Funtumia elastica was introduced to the West Indies by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1896-1897 to explore the possibility of establishing a rubber industry in the region (Howard and Powell, 1963). Seeds and plants were received in Jamaica and Dominica in 1896. Dominica distributed and planted thousands of plants from 1903 to 1904. It was introduced in Montserrat in 1901. It is reported in 1903 as flowering in Grenada and Saint Vincent, and as being established in Saint Kitts. Despite its rapid growth, its cultivation in the West Indies was not successful. Some of the plants did not grow larger than bushes, and they were susceptible to wind damage, root rot and scale insect attack. Also, the yield and value of the latex produced was not as expected. Its cultivation was abandoned by the early 1900s in the region. The species has persisted in the region as some large trees, and seedlings can be found in Montserrat, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Trinidad. Although it was reported as naturalized in Puerto Rico by Francis and Liogier (1991), Axelrod (2011) lists the species as being present only in cultivation.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Cuba 1927 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) No No New York Botanical Garden (2018) Herbarium specimen collection
Dominica 1896 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Howard and Powell (1963)
Grenada 1903 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Howard and Powell (1963)
Haiti 1923 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) No No New York Botanical Garden (2018) Herbarium specimen collection
Jamaica 1904 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) No No Howard and Powell (1963)
Martinique 1896 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (2018) Herbarium specimen collection
Montserrat 1901 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Howard and Powell (1963)
Puerto Rico 1926 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) No No New York Botanical Garden (2018) Herbarium specimen collection. Some references state naturalized but others cultivated
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1903 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Howard and Powell (1963)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1903 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Howard and Powell (1963)
Trinidad and Tobago 1945 Industrial purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (2018) Herbarium specimen collection

Risk of Introduction

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Funtumia elastica is a tree species adapted to wet tropical regions and not to temperate climates. It is not being used as an ornamental or commercialised for latex production, as its yield and quality are not as good as Hevea brasiliensis (Hanelt, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). It does not have a high risk of introduction for those purposes in tropical areas. However, there is a growing interest for using the species as a medicinal plant and the seed hairs for pillow fillers, so the risk of introduction could be higher in the future (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). It is at a high risk of introduction in the Pacific region where its already present and could spread naturally by wind. Future increase in its demand cannot be discounted if problems arise with the H. brasiliensis latex industry.

Habitat

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Funtumia elastica is reported in tropical, mature, semi-deciduous and deciduous forests; primary and secondary forests; abandoned cultivated lands; and lowland tropical rainforests (Ross, 1954; Fleriag, 2010; Ebigwa and Akomaye, 2014; Encyclopedia of Life, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). It is a lso in small-scale cultivation in forest plantations (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

In the West Indies it is found in disturbed and natural habitats, along forest edges, in the interior of forests, in open environments, along pathways and streams, in both mesophilic and hygro-mesophilic areas, and at both low and high altitudes (Fleriag, 2010).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
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)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Germplasm collections for F. elastica are available at USDA-ARS facilities (USDA-ARS, 2018). The species has DNA barcode information available at the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLDS, 2018). The chromosome number reported for the species is 2n=22 (Flora of China, 2018). Fleirag (2009-2010) considers that the species has a great plasticity, given the diversity of environmental conditions in which it grows.

Reproductive Biology

Funtumia elastica reproduces by seeds. The seeds need to be collected when mature and no treatment is necessary for their germination. Seeds can be stored for up to two months (Katende et al., 1995).

Physiology and Phenology

Funtumia elastica is reported as capable of flowering all year long (Fleriag, 2010). Low levels of flowering and fruiting have been observed during dry years caused by El Niño episodes in central Africa (Couralet et al., 2013).

Funtumia elastica is reported as not fire tolerant, with a high mortality of adults and juveniles recorded after a ground fire in Nigeria (Isichei et al., 1986). Still, the disturbances caused by a fire and two cyclones in Samoa during 1990 and 1991 favoured the establishment of the species (Elmqvist et al., 1994).

Activity Patterns

Funtumia elastica is not considered as a pioneer species in the African forest, but as a climax canopy species (Lawer et al., 2013; Norgrove and Hauser, 2016).

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 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])

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
22 -27

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 10
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 16 29
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 29 35

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall15003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The cultivation of F. elastica was catalogued as 'impractical' in Sri Lanka due to the attacks of the leaf-rolling caterpillar Caprinia conchydalis (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 1907). This species is not found in the current literature and needs to be revised (De Prins, personal communication, 2018). F. elastica is affected by Nephele aequivalens, a moth common in the woodlands of tropical Africa (Robinson et al., 2010).

The species is listed as an alternative host for Phytophthora palmivora and P. megakarya in Ghana, both causing the black seed pod disease in cocoa trees (Opoku et al., 2002). Although there was no evidence of an increase of infection on the cocoa trees near the F. elastica trees, the authors suggest that further studies are needed to assess the use of the species as a shade tree in cocoa plantations. Nectria funtumiae is a canker forming fungus that affects the trunks of F. elastica (Massee, 1909).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

The seeds of F. elastica are adapted for wind dispersal (Encyclopedia of Life, 2018). In addition, Fleriag (2010) report that water is a factor involved in the dispersal of the seeds in Martinique, as the species is growing near waterways and plants can be found over great distances along the rivers of the island.

Intentional Introduction

The species was intentionally introduced into various countries worldwide for latex production (Hanelt, 2018).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosDistributed by the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Yes Yes Howard and Powell, 1963
Breeding and propagationTrials for its breeding and propagation made in various countries Yes Yes Howard and Powell, 1963
DisturbanceAt disturbed sites, abandoned agricultural lands and borders of forests Yes Netterling, 2008; Fleriag, 2010
Escape from confinement or garden escapeEscaped from its cultivation at La Laguna Botanical Garden at El Salvador Yes Dendroflora de El Salvador, 2018
ForageUsed for medicinal purposes, firewood and seeds collected to use hairs for pillows Yes Useful Tropical Plants, 2018
HitchhikerPossible that seeds could hitchhike in clothes, gear and vehicles Yes ,
Industrial purposesIntroduced in various countries for latex production trials Yes Yes Hanelt, 2018
Interconnected waterwaysIt is believed to be dispersed along waterways in Martinique Yes Fleriag, 2010
Internet salesSome products derived from F. elastica are available over the internet. Yes Yes ,
Medicinal useEthnobotanical uses are reported Yes Useful Tropical Plants, 2018
Off-site preservation Collections available at USDA-ARS facilities Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2018

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsIt is possible that seeds could be carried unintentionally in clothes and other Yes
Floating vegetation and debrisIt is possible it is being dispersed through waterways in Martinique Yes Fleriag, 2010
WaterIt occurs along waterways and it is possible it is dispersed by water Yes Fleriag, 2010
WindSeeds are adapted for wind dispersal Yes Encyclopedia of Life, 2018

Impact Summary

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

Environmental Impact

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Although F. elastica is not considered a pioneer species, its successful seed dispersal and establishment can out crowd native vegetation, interfering with the natural regeneration process (Speith and Harrison, 2018). It is a canopy species that has a superior advantage to light access, preventing the establishment of some of the native species below (Fleriag, 2010). It is also reported as one of the species that becomes established in areas affected by natural disturbances, such as hurricanes and fires (Netterling, 2008; Fleriag, 2010).

Impact: Biodiversity

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Funtumia elastica is listed as affecting the Samoan flycatcher (Myiagra albiventris) which is classified in the IUCN Red List as near threatened (BirdLife International, 2012). This bird species has been impacted by the deforestation caused by cyclones and agriculture and the reduction of forest quality owing to the invasion of highly aggressive non-native trees.   

Funtumia elastica can germinate under light or in shady conditions and its fast growth and rapid establishment in the canopy are displacing native species in Martinique (Fleriag, 2010).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Myiagra albiventrisNT (IUCN red list: Near threatened)SamoaCompetition - monopolizing resources; Competition - shadingBirdLife International, 2012

Social Impact

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Funtumia elastica’s shallow root system and soft wood make it susceptible to high winds. Falling trees could potentially damage nearby structures (Speith and Harrison, 2018).

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
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value

Funtumia elastica is a source of a good quality latex, being harvested from the wild and cultivated in the late 19th century (Hanelt, 2018). Its cultivation was abandoned once the higher yielding Hevea brasiliensis became available, although it has been exploited in times of need, such as during the Second World War (Venkatachalam et al., 2013; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). At present it is not used commercially for latex production (Katende et al., 1995).

Funtumia elastica bark powder is sold online for medicinal purposes, mainly for the treatment of respiratory problems. There has been some commercial interest in the seeds as a substitute for Strophanthus, which is used to produce strophanthin to treat heart conditions (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

The seed hairs are used for stuffing pillows and cushions (Hanelt, 2018). In some regions of Africa, it is preferred over the floss obtained from Bombax and Ceiba. Some trials have indicated that the species could be used commercially for this purpose (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

Social Benefit

The medicinal uses reported for F. elastica include as an astringent, laxative and vermifuge; to improve male fertility; to treat blennorrhoea, menstrual pains, venereal diseases, diarrhoea and haemorrhoids; for bacterial and parasitic infections, including malaria; and to treat chest conditions, including whooping-cough and asthma (Zirihi et al., 2005; Adekunle and Ikumapayi, 2006; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). The latex is used for washing wounds and to cure cutaneous fungal infections and sores (Zirihi et al., 2005).

The wood is used for making spoons, bowls, household utensils, furniture, pianos and as timber for beams and rafters in buildings (Dei, 1990; PROTA, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). It is also used for wood carving, such as in Ghana for making Asante stools (Dei, 1990; PROTA, 2018). It is used in match manufacturing for the inner and outer boxes and the match-splints (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018). It is also used for fuelwood (Morgan, 1978).

Studies by Adindu et al. (2016) show that extracts from F. elastica effectively inhibit the corrosion of mild steel, even after prolonged exposure to hydrochloric acid.

Environmental Services

Funtumia elastica is reported as a primate food, specifically as a food source of colobus and mangabey monkeys in the African forests (Plumptre, 1995; Mwavu and Witkowski, 2009).

It is one of the species recommended for the agroforestry buffer zones in the Budongo Forest in Uganda (Kasolo and Temu, 2008).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Revegetation
  • Wildlife habitat

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Ritual uses
  • Sociocultural value

Materials

  • Bark products
  • Carved material
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Rubber/latex
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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Containers

  • Boxes

Furniture

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Beams

Woodware

  • Cutlery
  • Matches
  • Musical instruments

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Funtumia elastica is sometimes confused with Castilla elastica, which also produces a rubbery sap. C. elastica grows to about 15 m tall and has red-orange fleshy fruits. F. elastica can grow up to 40 m with brown seed pods with plumed seeds (Speith and Harrison, 2018).

Funtumia elastica can be confused with F. africana as the leaves of both species are very similar. F. elastica flowers and fruits are both shorter than those of F. africana (Adekunle and Ikumapayi, 2006). Also, the latex of F. elastica coagulates into balls when rubbed between the fingers (Orwa et al., 2009).

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.

SPS measures

Fleriag (2010) recommends that F. elastica is declared as a harmful species, with its possession, cultivation and importation being prohibited in Martinique.

Early Warning Systems

Meyer (2004) recommends monitoring F. elastica in areas of eastern Polynesia where it is still not established, to be able to prevent, detect and carry out a fast eradication. The National Park of American Samoa produced an Invasive Plant Field Guide to help the public recognize some invasive species which are still not present on that island, including F. elastica (Speith and Harrison, 2018).

Public Awareness

In 2003 the National Invasive Alien Species Steering Committee (NIAS), now the Samoa National Invasive Task Team (SNITT), was created to prevent and reduce the impact of invasive alien species in Samoa (Bonin, 2008). One of the tasks of the SNITT is to raise the public awareness on invasive species, including F. elastica (Bonin, 2008)

Eradication

The eradication and control plan of F. elastica in Martinique recommended by Fleriag (2010), involves: 1. the removal of the plants, preferably at the early stages of invasion, 2. the creation of monitoring stations at areas that need protection from invasion, 3. to create public awareness, utilizing the help of the community to lower the costs of the eradication and control of the species.

Physical/Mechanical Control

Funtumia elastica plants should be cut as close to the ground as possible, and the remaining trunk burned to avoid any regrowth. Juveniles should be manually uprooted (Fleriag, 2010).

Monitoring and Surveillance

Long-term monitoring of the species in Martinique has been suggested by Fleriag (2010).

Ecosystem Restoration

After the manual or mechanical removal of F. elastica, areas should be planted with native species to prevent the establishment of exotic species (Bonin, 2008; Fleriag, 2010).

References

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Distribution References

Axelrod F, 2011. A systematic vademecum to the vascular plants of Puerto Rico. Fort Worth, Texas, USA: Botanical Research Institute of Texas. 428 pp.

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Dendroflora de El Salvador, 2018. Funtumia elastica. European Distributed Institute of Taxonomy. http://portal.cybertaxonomy.org/salvador/cdm_dataportal/taxon/8a76e4fa-7c75-4258-9bce-266732c40e7f

Fleriag L, 2010. (Etude des populations de Funtumia elastica en Martinique: écologie, démographie et propositions d’actions de régulation anthopique)., Fort-de-France, Martinique: Conservatoire Botanique des Antilles Françaises, Antenne de la Martinique.

Francis J K, Liogier H A, 1991. Naturalized exotic tree species in Puerto Rico. In: General Technical Report - Southern Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, i + 12 pp.

Hanelt P, 2018. Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops. In: Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops. Gatersleben, Germany: Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK). http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/apex/f?p=185:3:0::NO

HOWARD R A, POWELL D A, 1963. The introduction of rubber-producing species in the West Indies. Economic Botany. 337-49. DOI:10.1007/BF02860143

Jackson J K, 1956. The vegetation of the Imatong Mountains, Sudan. Journal of Ecology. 44 (2), 341-74. DOI:10.2307/2256827

Jyotsna J, Kumar B, 2015. Biodiversity and floristic composition of medicinal plants of Darbhanga, Bihar, India. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences. 4 (12), 263-283.

Kairo M, Ali B, Cheesman O, Haysom K, Murphy S, 2003. Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. In: Invasive species threats in the Caribbean region. Report to the Nature Conservancy. Curepe, Trinidad and Tobago: CAB International. 132 pp.

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2019. Tropicos database. In: Tropicos database. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

New York Botanical Garden, 2018. The C. Starr Virtual Herbarium. In: The C. Starr Virtual Herbarium. New York, USA: New York Botanical Garden. http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/vh/

PIER, 2018. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

PROTA, 2018. PROTA4U web database. In: PROTA4U web database. Wageningen and Nairobi, Netherlands\Kenya: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. https://www.prota4u.org/database/

Reflora, 2018. Brazilian Flora Checklist. (Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil). Brazilian National Council for Science & Technology. http://www.reflora.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/listaBrasil/PrincipalUC/PrincipalUC.do?lingua=en

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 1907. African tree rubber (Funtumia elastica Stapf.). In: Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information No. 5, London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 187-190. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4118358 DOI:10.2307/4118358

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, 2018. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Botany Collections. In: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History Botany Collections. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. http://collections.nmnh.si.edu/search/botany/

USDA-ARS, 2018. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. In: Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

ZipcodeZoo, 2018. Funtumia elastica. Maryland, USA: The Bayscience Foundation, Inc. http://zipcodezoo.com/index.php/Funtumia_elastica

Contributors

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27/01/18 Original text by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, UPR-RUM, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

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