Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Hyptis brevipes
(lesser roundweed)



Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed)


  • Last modified
  • 16 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Hyptis brevipes
  • Preferred Common Name
  • lesser roundweed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • H. brevipes is an annual plant of cultivated land and wastelands, including forest edges, wet ground and rice crops, and is favoured by continuous wet conditions, without a prolonged dry season. It is native to...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review

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Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inforescence, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
CaptionHyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inforescence, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
Copyright©O.M. Montiel/via Missouri Botanical Garden - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inforescence, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
HabitHyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inforescence, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.©O.M. Montiel/via Missouri Botanical Garden - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); habit, showing inlorescences, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
TitleLeaves and stem
CaptionHyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); habit, showing inlorescences, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
Copyright©O.M. Montiel/via Missouri Botanical Garden - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); habit, showing inlorescences, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
Leaves and stemHyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); habit, showing inlorescences, leaves, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.©O.M. Montiel/via Missouri Botanical Garden - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inflorescence, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
TitleInflorescence and stem
CaptionHyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inflorescence, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
Copyright©O.M. Montiel/via Missouri Botanical Garden - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Hyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inflorescence, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.
Inflorescence and stemHyptis brevipes (lesser roundweed); inflorescence, and stem. Chontales, Nicaragua. October 2011.©O.M. Montiel/via Missouri Botanical Garden - CC BY-NC-ND 3.0


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Hyptis brevipes Poit.

Preferred Common Name

  • lesser roundweed

Other Scientific Names

  • Hyptis acuta Benth.
  • Hyptis melanosticta Griseb.
  • Hyptis radiata Kunth
  • Lasiocorys poggeana (Briq.) Baker
  • Leucas globulifera Hassk.
  • Leucas poggeana Briq.
  • Mesosphaerum brevipes (Poit.) Kuntze
  • Mesosphaerum melanostictum (Griseb.) Kuntze
  • Pycnanthemum subulatum Blanco
  • Thymus biserratus Blanco

International Common Names

  • Spanish: chibolita
  • Chinese: duan bing diao qiu cao

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: fazendeiro; ortela-brava
  • Indonesia: genggeyan; kaneja
  • Malaysia: sawi hutan
  • Taiwan: nanto-iganigakusa

Summary of Invasiveness

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H. brevipes is an annual plant of cultivated land and wastelands, including forest edges, wet ground and rice crops, and is favoured by continuous wet conditions, without a prolonged dry season. It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean and much of South America and has been widely introduced across South East Asia, where it has naturalized. H. brevipes may be accidentally introduced into a new area as a contaminant of seed, in particular with rice. It has been listed as a ‘principal’ weed of Malaysia and a common weed of Borneo, Philippines and Taiwan (Holm et al., 1979). In addition, PIER (2017) report that H. brevipes is invasive in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Lorenzi (1982) describes it as a damaging weed of humid conditions along the coast, where it can develop into large infestations. H. brevipes is typically a weed of agricultural land, causing yield losses and a negative economic impact.

Up to 20 species in the genus Hyptis are also known to be invasive. The related H. suaveolens and H. capitata are both classified as noxious weeds in Northern Territory, Australia (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992) and H. brevipes is listed as an ‘invasive plant target list species’ in the same state (Glanznig and Kessal, 2004).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Lamiales
  •                         Family: Lamiaceae
  •                             Genus: Hyptis
  •                                 Species: Hyptis brevipes

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Hyptis is a large genus, of which up to 20 species are listed as weeds by Randall (2017), the most common being H. brevipes, H. suaveolens, H. capitata and H. pectinata.

There has been some lack of agreement over the relationship between H. brevipes and the closely-related H. lanceolata Poir. Missouri Botanical Garden (2017) treats them as a single species, with H. lanceolata as the preferred name. However, most sources, including The Plant List (2017), treat the two as separate and this is followed in this datasheet. Records of H. brevipes in early floras from Africa are now all treated as H. lanceolata.

H. brevipes has been known by a large number of synonyms and the Encyclopedia of Life (2017) lists over 140.


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H. brevipes is an erect annual plant up to 1 m high with a square stem typical of the family, often densely hairy but sometimes less so. Leaves are also normally coarsely hairy on both surfaces, opposite, narrowly ovate or lanceolate, 4-7 cm long, up to 2 cm wide, cuneate at the base, the margins irregularly serrate. Apex acute to acuminate. The inflorescence is a dense raceme, almost globose, up to 14 mm diameter, on a peduncle about 1 cm long in the axils of most upper leaves. Corolla white or purplish-white, irregularly five-lobed about 5 mm long. The calyx, 4 mm long, also has 5 narrow, finely barbed lobes. Bracts lanceolate, 8-12 spreading or reflexed, 4-6 mm long, almost concealed by the flowers. Seeds ovoid, up to 1 mm long, dark brown to black, obscurely striate, with a conspicuous scar.

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Seed propagated


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H. brevipes is considered native throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and much of South America, but has been widely introduced across South East Asia. It is reported as naturalized and invasive in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (PIER, 2017; WSSA, 2017). Kostermans et al. (1987) describes H. brevipes as originating in Mexico but now being pantropical and having naturalized in Indonesia. Its occurrence in Africa, however, has not been confirmed. The plant known as ‘Hyptis brevipes’ in early Floras of Tropical Africa is now equated with H. lanceolata (Morton, 1963). The distribution of H. brevipes appears to be almost strictly tropical, though there is some occurrence in sub-tropical southern South America.

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


BangladeshPresentIntroducedBhuiyan et al. (2010)
ChinaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2017)
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2017)
IndiaPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Paul and Anant Kumar (2012)
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Paul and Anant Kumar (2012)
-West BengalPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Paul and Anant Kumar (2012)
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
MalaysiaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
SingaporePresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
TaiwanPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
ThailandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)
VietnamPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2017)

North America

BelizePresentNativeCABI (Undated)Original citation: Missouri Botanical Gardens (2017)
Costa RicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
CubaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
GuatemalaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
HondurasPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
NicaraguaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
PanamaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeCABI (Undated)Original citation: Missouri Botanical Gardens (2017)

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
BoliviaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
BrazilPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
-AcrePresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018)
-AmazonasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-BahiaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-GoiasPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018)
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-ParaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-ParaibaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018)
-ParanaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-RondoniaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018)
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-Sao PauloPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2018); Lorenzi (1982)
-TocantinsPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
ColombiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
EcuadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
French GuianaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
GuyanaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
ParaguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
PeruPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
SurinamePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
UruguayPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)
VenezuelaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2017)

History of Introduction and Spread

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The earliest records of H. brevipes listed by GBIF (2017) are 1838 in the Philippines, 1889 for Indonesia and 1893 in Malaysia. It was first recorded in Taiwan in 1925 (Xu et al., 2012).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of H. brevipes being introduced into new territories depends on a range of factors including trade in crop seeds and the thoroughness of plant quarantine regulations. Its introduction to continental USA from Mexico is particularly possible though the climate would only be suitable in the South East. The risk of introduction to Africa is quite high due to trade, experimental imports of rice seed and the climate in the tropical countries, which could be ideal for rapid establishment. Likewise, in many islands of the Pacific.


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H. brevipes has been recorded from a wide range of both cultivated and natural habitats in tropical regions. It is mainly present in open ground but has some occurrence in forest margins, though it always requires high moisture levels and typically a wet tropical climate. In Indonesia, H. brevipes has been recorded up to 1200 m (Kostermans et al., 1987). In the Pantanal of Brazil, H. brevipes may dominate areas subject to periodic flooding (Almeida et al., 2014).

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Principal habitat Natural
Wetlands Principal habitat Natural
Coastal areas Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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H. brevipes is primarily a weed of rice, especially in South East Asia, including Malaysia (Yong and Goh, 1977). In Indonesia it is noted to be a weed in rain-fed and upland rice fields, grasslands, rubber, cacao, young oil palm and sugar cane plantations and orchards (Knowledge Management Center on Topical Biology, 2017). It is also listed among weeds in mung bean in Indonesia (Bangun et al., 1986) and in Phaseolus beans in Brazil (Laca-Buendia et al., 1989).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

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No chromosome counts have been found for H. brevipes however, Morton (1993) records a chromosome count of 2n = 64 for the closely-related H. lanceolata in West Africa.

Reproductive Biology

The flowers of H. brevipes have characteristics suiting them to pollination by insects. In Indonesia Jasmi (2017) records that H. brevipes flowers throughout the year and is visited by Apis cerana bees. Other Hymenoptera are recorded visiting the flowers in Singapore (Soh and Ngiam, 2013).

No information has been located on germination requirements or longevity but the related H. suaveolens is known to require light for germination (Wulff and Medina, 1971).

Physiology and Phenology

H. brevipes is an annual, short day plant. Panda (2005) found that at least 19 short days were required for induction of flowering. However, a more detailed study by Zaidan et al. (1991) found an interaction with temperature such that at higher temperatures, over 20°C, only 10 short day cycles were needed. Long days were inhibitory to flowering.

Population Size and Structure

In the Brazilian Pantanal, soil sampling indicated over 6000 seeds per m2 (Bao et al., 2014)

Environmental Requirements

H. brevipes clearly requires fairly continuous moisture and warm temperatures. It can tolerate partial shade but not full shade.


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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])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
20 25 0 1200

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • medium

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Seed dispersal is described as autochorus indicating lack of any specialized dispersal mechanism, but where the plant grows in wet habitats there is likely to be movement with water.

Vector Transmission

PIER (2017) indicates that some dispersal of the seeds by unspecified wildlife may occur. Kostermans et al. (1987) describe the dispersal of H. brevipes as ‘epizoochorous’ indicating dispersal in the coats of livestock.

Accidental Introduction

Accidental introduction of H. brevipes is most likely via contaminated crop seed, e.g. rice.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Seed trade Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative

Economic Impact

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H. brevipes can be a serious weed of rice and clearly causes economic losses but no estimates are available on such losses. Lesser damage is likely where it occurs in other crops where drier conditions do not favour its dominance. In Indonesia it is noted to be a weed in rain-fed and upland rice fields, grasslands, rubber, cacao, young oil palm and sugar cane plantations and orchards (Knowledge Management Center on Topical Biology, 2017). It is also considered a weed of mung bean and Phaseolus beans (Bangun et al., 1986; Laca-Buendia et al., 1989). PIER (2017) records it as a weed of unspecified plantation crops and a ‘potential pasture weed’.

As an alternative host of squash mosaic virus, H. brevipes may contribute to losses in watermelon in Malaysia (Tropical Fruit Global Information System, 2017).

Impact: Biodiversity

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No specific examples have been found, but it is probable that H. brevipes could impact the biodiversity of wetlands, where it has been introduced as an exotic.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant


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Economic Value

H. brevipes is listed among species of potential value as forage under rubber and oil palm in Malaysia (Wahab, 2001).

In studies on heavy-metal-contaminated soils in Brazil, H. brevipes was found particularly effective in accumulating arsenic (Boechat et al., 2016). It has also been shown to contain a range of essential oils, a number of which have antimicrobial or insecticidal properties (Bhuiyan et al., 2010). A methanol extract of H. brevipes has been shown to inhibit the growth of Spodoptera littoralis larvae (Sakr et al., 2013; Sakr and Roshdy, 2015). The LC50 value of a dichloromethane extract was 3.0% after three days of treatment. Two active compounds were identified as 5-hydroxy-7,4′-dimethoxy-flavon-3-ol and 5-hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-(4′-methoxy-phenyl)-chromen-4-one.

Social Benefit

The oil of H. brevipes has been reported to be used in folk medicine in the treatment of asthma and malaria, cereals conservation and to repel mosquitoes (Bhuiyan et al., 2010). In Indonesia it has been confirmed to have high antibacterial and antifungal properties (Goun et al., 2003). It is used as a poultice mixed with CaCO3 for swollen joints (Ong et al., 2011).

Xu et al. (2013) noted the traditional use of H. brevipes for treatment of asthma and malaria in China and identified 28 component oils in H. brevipes confirming their high antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. It has also been reported as a tea to treat colds, fever, headache and gout and is also a potent medicine when the juice from the leaves is squeezed on a fresh wound (Jamaica Observer, 2017). Dried leaves may be used as incense and its strong aroma is thought to be good for warding off evil spirits (Jamaica Observer, 2017).

Environmental Services

In Malaysia, H. brevipes has been listed among species providing nectar for insects, including the wasps, Chlorocryptis spp., which have potential in the biological control of insect pests in oil palm plantations (Upadhyay et al., 2012)

Uses List

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  • Soil improvement


  • Sociocultural value


  • Pesticide

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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In Brazil, the closest related species, H. lanceolata, is distinguished by shorter calyx lobes (up to 1.5 mm long) and trichomes absent or appressed (Harley, 2012). H. capitata has larger heads, about 2 cm across on longer peduncles, at least 1.5 cm. It also has a ring of hairs inside the calyx, absent in H. brevipes. The related H. suaveolens and H. pectinata both have fewer (up to 5) larger flowers in each head, while H. brevipes has many, smaller flowers in dense heads up to 1.5 cm across.

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

H. brevipes is included in the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) invasive plant target list (Glanznig and Kessal, 2004) and is listed as a Prohibited Weed Species for Australia (Biosecurity Australia, 2002).


Physical/Mechanical Control

As an annual weed, H. brevipes may be controlled by hand-pulling, hoeing and other routine weeding operations.

Chemical Control

Kostermans et al. (1987) indicate that MCPA and 2,4-D amine or ester are suitable for control of H. brevipes in rice. There is little other information on chemical control of H. brevipes but in Australia, recommendations for control of the related H. suaveolens include atrazine in sorghum and 2,4-D, dicamba, clopyralid and picloram in other situations where suitable (Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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There is a serious lack of information on many aspects of the biology of H. brevipes especially regarding its germination requirements. There is also very little information on the use of herbicides and other control methods.


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Almeida SM, Andena SR, Anjos-Silva EJ, 2014. Diversity of the Nests of Social Wasps (Hymenoptera: Vespidae: Polistinae) in the Northern Pantanal, Brazil. Sociobiology, 61(1), 107-114.

Bangun, P., Pasaribu, D., Partasasmita, E., 1986. Minimum tillage on mungbean in alang-alang. In: BIOTROP Special Publication , (No.24) . 263-274.

Bao, F., Pott, A., Ferreira, F. A., Arruda, R., 2014. Soil seed bank of floodable native and cultivated grassland in the pantanal wetland: effects of flood gradient, season and species invasion. Brazilian Journal of Botany, 37(3), 239-250. doi: 10.1007/s40415-014-0076-z

Bhuiyan, M. N. I., Jaripa Begum, Nandi, N. C., 2010. Chemical component studies on the leaf and inflorescence essential oil of Hyptis brevipes (Poit.). Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 4(20), 2128-2131.

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Boechat, C. L., Pistóia, V. C., Gianelo, C., Camargo, F. A. de O., 2016. Accumulation and translocation of heavy metal by spontaneous plants growing on multi-metal-contaminated site in the Southeast of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23(3), 2371-2380. doi: 10.1007/s11356-015-5342-5

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Paul, T. K., Anant Kumar, 2012. Extended distribution of Hyptis brevipes Poit. in India. Indian Journal of Forestry, 35(1), 101-102.

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Sakr HH, Roshdy SH, 2015. Effect of Hyptis brevipes (Lamiaceae) Methanol Extract on Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) Larvae. Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, 6(6), 651-658.

Sakr, H. H., Roshdy, S. H., El-Seedi, H. R., 2013. Hyptis brevipes (Lamiaceae) extracts strongly inhibit the growth and development of Spodoptera littoralis (Boisd.) larvae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, 3(10), 83-88.

Soh ZWW, Ngian RWJ, 2013. Flower-visiting bees and wasps in Singapore parks. Nature in Singapore, (6), 153-172.

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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 Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Principal Source

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Draft datasheet under review


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22/02/17 Original text by:

Chris Parker, Consultant, UK

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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