Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Justicia pectoralis
(freshcut)

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Datasheet

Justicia pectoralis (freshcut)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Justicia pectoralis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • freshcut
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • J. pectoralis is a common weed of roadsides and waste places at elevations near sea level in tropical America and the Caribbean (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Justicia pectoralis (freshcut); habit in cultivated garden. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
TitleHabit in cultivated garden
CaptionJusticia pectoralis (freshcut); habit in cultivated garden. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Copyright©Scott Zona/Miami, Florida, USA - CC BY 2.0
Justicia pectoralis (freshcut); habit in cultivated garden. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
Habit in cultivated gardenJusticia pectoralis (freshcut); habit in cultivated garden. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.©Scott Zona/Miami, Florida, USA - CC BY 2.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Justicia pectoralis Jacq.

Preferred Common Name

  • freshcut

Other Scientific Names

  • Dianthera pectoralis (Jacq.) Murray
  • Ecbolium pectorale (Jacq.) Kuntze
  • Justicia pectoralis var. latifolia Bremek.
  • Justicia stuebelii Lindau
  • Leptostachya pectoralis (Jacq.) Nees & Mart.
  • Psacadocalymma pectorale (Jacq.) Bremek.
  • Rhytiglossa pectoralis (Jacq.) Nees
  • Stethoma pectoralis (Jacq.) Raf.

International Common Names

  • English: carpenter's grass; death-angel
  • Spanish: carpintero; hierba tila; tila; tilo
  • French: herbe à charpentiers

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: takurushni
  • Colombia: curibano; mejorana
  • Costa Rica: arbusto carpintero; hierba tilo; te de tilo
  • Cuba: hierba de carpintero; té criollo
  • Dominican Republic: carpintera; curía; yerba carpintera
  • Ecuador: escancel
  • Haiti: herbe au charpentier; herbe charpentier; z’herbe charpentier
  • Jamaica: fresh cut
  • Lesser Antilles: chapantyé; garden balsam; goat barsum; rock balsam; zeb sepanche
  • Peru: cariñito
  • Puerto Rico: curía
  • United States Virgin Islands: sweet mint

EPPO code

  • IUIPE (Justicia pectoralis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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J. pectoralis is a common weed of roadsides and waste places at elevations near sea level in tropical America and the Caribbean (Woodson et al., 1978; Liogier, 1997; Randall, 2012). This species is also a common ornamental in gardens and house yards, and it is considered one of the most common plants cultivated in gardens in Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (Adams, 1972; Joseph et al., 1988; Liogier, 1997; Perez et al., 2001). J. pectoralis has not yet been listed as invasive in one particular country or location, but it can be considered as “potentially invasive” in the Caribbean. It has a high likelihood of being transported intentionally by humans, and its potential to escape from cultivation is also high considering that plants spread both by seeds and vegetatively by rooting nodes (Standley et al., 1974).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Scrophulariales
  •                         Family: Acanthaceae
  •                             Genus: Justicia
  •                                 Species: Justicia pectoralis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The family Acanthaceae includes about 221 genera and 4000 species widespread in both New and Old World Tropics (Scotland and Vollesen, 2000; Stevens, 2012). Species within this family are herbs or woody shrubs, lianas and trees. Member of the Acanthaceae may be recognized by their fruit: a few-seeded, explosively dehiscent capsule within which seeds are borne on hook-like structures called retinacula (the lignified derivatives of the funiculus) (McDade et al., 2009). The genus Justicia is the largest genus in the Acanthaceace, containing about 600 species found in tropical and temperate areas of the Old and New World (Graham, 1988). Most of the species within the genus Justicia grow as perennial plants, herbs and subshrubs, erect or scandent. J. pectoralis was described by Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin in 1760, who provided additional data in 1763. A well-marked variety, var. stenophylla, was described by Emery Clarence Leonard in 1958. This variety is found only in South America, whereas J. pectoralis is also found in Central America and the Caribbean.

Description

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J. pectoralis plants are erect, ascending or decumbent herbs 30-40 (200) cm tall; stems weak, erect or ascending, often rooting at the lower nodes, sub-quadrangular, grooved, glabrous to puberulous, the hairs retrorse. Leaves narrowly to broadly lanceolate, 5-11 ×0.5-1.8(2.5) cm, apically acuminate, basally acute to obtuse, the cystoliths dense and prominent above, not visible beneath, glabrous to strigose at the costa above, glabrous beneath, the margins entire to undulate; petioles short, to approximately 5 mm long, strigose above. Inflorescences in terminal, lax, spicate panicles to 25 cm long, 15 cm broad, the lower internodes of spicate branches approximately 2 cm long, the rachises and the peduncles glandular puberulous; bracts and bracteoles subulate, 2 mm long, 1 mm wide basally, puberulous and with a few glandular hairs. Flowers with 5-merous calyx, segments narrowly subulate, to 2 mm long, 0.5 mm wide basally, glandular puberulous; corollas white or purple, 8-12 mm long, puberulous outside, the throat transversely plicate, often spotted with dark purple, the tube narrowly funnel-form, basally 1.25 mm broad, 2.5 mm wide at the mouth, the upper lip erect, triangular, 3.5 mm long, 3 mm wide, apically acute, the lower lip spreading, to 5 mm long, 3-lobed, the lobes 1 mm long, the middle lobe 2 mm wide, the lateral lobes 1.5 mm wide, all apically obtuse; stamens exserted to about the tip of the upper lip, the anther cells slightly superposed, basally apiculate, the filaments glabrous. Capsules slender-clavate, to 8 mm long, 2 mm wide, puberulent; seeds orbicular, flattened, 1.5 mm in diameter (Standley et al., 1974; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014).

Plant Type

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Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated

Distribution

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Because the species J. pectoralis was described in 1760 by NJ Jacquin using material collected in the Caribbean islands of Dominica (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014), it has been suggested that the native distribution range of this species includes tropical America (from Mexico to South America) and the Caribbean islands (Ezcurra, 2002; Broome et al., 2007; McDade 2009; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014). However, some authors consider that it is only native to tropical America and that from here it was introduced into the Caribbean islands (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012).

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

North America

MexicoPresentNative Natural Daniel, 2005
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentIntroducedWunderlin and Hansen, 2008Weed

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BarbadosPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
BelizePresentNativeBalick et al., 2000
Costa RicaPresentNativeDurkee, 1986
CubaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Dominican RepublicPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GrenadaPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuadeloupePresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
GuatemalaPresentNativeDaniel, 2005
HaitiPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentNativeDaniel, 2005
MartiniquePresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Netherlands AntillesPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
NicaraguaPresentNativeDaniel, 2005
PanamaPresentNativeDaniel, 2005
Puerto RicoPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedGraveson, 2012Rare - naturalized
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
United States Virgin IslandsPresentAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeZuloaga et al., 2008
BoliviaPresentNativeDaniel, 2005
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AcrePresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-AmazonasPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-CearaPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-MaranhaoPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-ParaPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-RondoniaPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
-RoraimaPresentNativeProfice et al., 2014
ColombiaPresentNativeIdárraga-Piedrahita et al., 2011
EcuadorPresentNativeJørgensen and León-Yánez, 1999
French GuianaPresentNativeFunk et al., 2007
GuyanaPresentNativeFunk et al., 2007
ParaguayPresentNativeZuloaga et al., 2008
PeruPresentNativeDaniel, 2005
SurinamePresentNativeFunk et al., 2007
VenezuelaPresentNativeHokche et al., 2008

History of Introduction and Spread

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Currently, J. pectoralis occurs only in tropical America (which is considered its native distribution range) and in the Caribbean (Ezcurra, 2002; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014; USDA-ARS, 2014). In the case of the Caribbean, we do not have enough information to determine if this species is native or exotic. However, if the species was introduced into the Caribbean Islands, its introduction would have had to be early during European colonization.

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of J. pectoralis is moderate. This weedy species spreads by seeds and vegetatively by rooting nodes and is often planted in gardens and house yards (Standley et al., 1974). Consequently, J. pectoralis has the potential to spread its distribution range much further than it has to date.

Habitat

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J. pectoralis grows as a weed in roadsides and waste places at elevations from near sea level to 1400 m in tropical America and the Caribbean (Woodson et al., 1978; Liogier, 1997; Daniel, 2005). In Central and South America, it can be found growing in depressions in the understory of moist to wet forests, along streams, and on riverbanks (Durkee, 1986; Ezcurra, 2002; Daniel, 2005). In Costa Rica, J. pectoralis is known from below 1000 m (McDade et al., 2005) and in Panama it is known from tropical moist forests and from premontane wet forests (Croat, 1978).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for J. pectoralis is n =11 (Daniel and Chuang, 1993). 

Physiology and Phenology

In Central America, J. pectoralis has been recorded flowering from January to April (Daniel, 2005).

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])
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
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 12.5 30

Rainfall Regime

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Soil Tolerances

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Soil reaction

  • alkaline
  • neutral

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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J. pectoralis spreads by seeds and vegetatively by rooting nodes (Standley et al., 1974). Capsules are explosively dehiscent facilitating dispersal of seeds over short distances. Seeds can also be secondarily dispersed by water (Andel, 2000).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes Yes Randall, 2012
Garden waste disposal Yes Yes Randall, 2012
Internet salesSeeds and plants sold online - http://davesgarden.com Yes Yes
Medicinal use Yes Yes Joseph et al., 1988
Ornamental purposesPlanted in gardens - common in Cuban gardens Yes Perez et al., 2001

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds and roots Yes Yes Randall, 2012
MailSeeds and plants sold online - http://davesgarden.com Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
Impact mechanisms
  • Hybridization
  • Rapid growth
  • Rooting
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant

Uses

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The genus Justicia has been described as rich in amine metabolites, coumarins and lignans (Al-Juaid and Abdel-Mogib, 2004; Verdam et al., 2012). J. pectoralis is widely used as a medicinal herb in tropical America and the Caribbean (Oliveira and Andrade, 2000; Perez, et al., 2001). This species is often used for the treatment of inflammation, influenza, and other infections (Perez et al., 2001; Madaleno, 2009). Decoctions of the whole plant are used to treat pulmonary infections, to relieve coughs, and as an expectorant (Joseph et al., 1988). Leaves are also mixed with bark resin of Virola spp and are used as an ingredient in hallucinogenic snuff (Macrae and Towers, 1984).

Uses List

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Drugs, stimulants, social uses

  • Hallucinogen
  • Religious

Environmental

  • Amenity

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Adams CD, 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica. Mona, Jamaica: University of the West Indies.

Al-Juaid SS; Abdel-Mogib M, 2004. A novel podophyllotoxin lignan from Justicia heterocarpa. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 52:507-509.

Andel TRvan, 2000. Non-timber forest products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part II. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme. http://www.tropenbos.org/file.php/114/tbi_guyana_series_8b.pdf

Balick MJ; Nee M; Atha DE, 2000. Checklist of the vascular plants of Belize. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, 85:1-246.

Broome R; Sabir K; Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Croat TB, 1978. Flora of Barro Colorado Island. Stanford, California, USA: Stanford University Press., ix + 943 pp.

Daniel TF, 2005. Catalog of Honduran Acanthaceae with taxonomic and phytogeographic notes. Contributions from the University of Michigan Herbarium, 24:51-108.

Daniel TF; Chuang TI, 1993. Chromosome Numbers of New World Acanthaceae. Systematic Botany, 18:283-289.

Durkee LH, 1986. Family Acanthaceae. Fieldiana, 18:1-87. [Flora Costaricensis.]

Ezcurra C, 2002. [English title not available]. (El género Justicia (Acanthaceae) en Sudamérica austral.) Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 89:262-263.

Funk V; Hollowell T; Berry P; Kelloff C; Alexander SN, 2007. Checklist of the plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, 584 pp.

Graham VA, 1988. Delimitation and infra-generic classification of Justicia (Acanthaceae). Kew Bulletin, 43(4):551-624.

Graveson R, 2012. Plants of Saint Lucia. http://www.saintlucianplants.com

Hokche O; Berry PE; Huber O, 2008. Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela (New catalogue of the vascular flora of Venezuela). Caracas, Venezuela: Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela, 860 pp.

Idárraga-Piedrahita A; Ortiz RDC; Callejas Posada R; Merello M, 2011. Flora of Antioquia. (Flora de Antioquia.) Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares, vol. 2. Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia:939 pp.

Joseph H; Gleye J; Moulis C; Mensah LJ; Roussakis C; Gratas C, 1988. Justicidin B, a cytotoxic principle fom Justicia pectoralis. Journal of Natural Products, 51(3):599-600.

Jørgensen PM; León-Yánez S, 1999. Catalogue of the vascular plants of Ecuador. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden. 75:1-1182.

Liogier AH, 1997. Descriptive flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands. San Juan, Puerto Rico: University of Puerto Rico.

Macrae WD; Towers GHN, 1984. Justicia pectoralis: a study of the basis for its use as a hallucinogenic snuff ingredient. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 12(1):93-111.

Madaleno IM, 2009. Medicinal Knowledge in Cuba - domestic prescriptions using front and backyard biodiversity. In: Conference on International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development., Germany: University of Hamburg. http://www.tropentag.de/2009/abstracts/full/396.pdf

McDade LA; Kiel C; Tripp E, 2009. Acanthaceae. The Tree of Life Web Project. http://tolweb.org/Acanthaceae/20878

McDade LA; Tripp EA; Daniel TF, 2005. Acanthaceae of La Selva Biological Station. La Selva, Costa Rica: La Selva Biological Station. http://clade.ansp.org/botany/people/mcdade/La_Selva_Acanths.pdf

Missouri Botanical Garden, 2014. Tropicos database. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/

Oliveira AFM; Andrade Lde HC, 2000. Morphological characterization of Justicia pectoralis Jacq. and J. gendarussa Burm. F. (Acanthaceae). (Caracterização morfológica de Justicia pectoralis Jacq. e J. gendarussa Burm. F. (Acanthaceae).) Acta Amazonica, 30(4):569-578.

Perez G; Rivero R; Pardo Z; Rodriguez J, 2001. Evaluation of antioxidant activity of Justicia pectoralis Jacq. (Evaluación de la actividad antioxidante de Justicia pectoralis Jacq.) Revista Cubana de Investigacion Biomedica, 20:30-33.

Profice SR; Kameyama C; Côrtes ALA; Braz DM; Indriunas A; Vilar T; Pessoa C; Ezcurra C; Wasshausen D, 2014. Acanthaceae. (Acanthaceae.) Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. http://reflora.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB21673

Randall RP, 2012. A Global Compendium of Weeds. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, 1124 pp. http://www.cabi.org/isc/FullTextPDF/2013/20133109119.pdf

Scotland RW; Vollesen K, 2000. Classification of Acanthaceae. Kew Bulletin, 55:513-589.

Standley PC; Williams LO; Gibson DN, 1974. Flora of Guatemala. Fieldiana: Botany, 24(Part X, No. 3/4):153-466.

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

USDA-ARS, 2014. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

Verdam MCS; Ohana DT; Araújo MGP; Guilhon-Simplicio F; Mendonça MSde; Pereira MM, 2012. Morphology and anatomy of Justicia acuminatissima leaves. Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia, 22(6):1212-1218. http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0102-695X2012000600003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en

Woodson Jr RE; Schery RW; Durkee LH, 1978. Flora of Panama. Part IX. Family 177. Acanthaceae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 65:155-283.

Wunderlin RP; Hansen BF, 2008. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. Tampa, Florida, USA: University of South Florida. http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu/

Zuloaga FO; Morrone O; Belgrano MJ; Marticorena C; Marchesi E, 2008. [English title not available]. (Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Cono Sur (Argentina, Sur de Brasil, Chile, Paraguay y Uruguay).) Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, 107:1-3348.

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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24/02/14 Original text by:

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

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

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