Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Lindernia crustacea
(Malaysian false pimpernel)



Lindernia crustacea (Malaysian false pimpernel)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Lindernia crustacea
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Malaysian false pimpernel
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • L. crustacea is an herb including in the Global Compendium of Weeds where it is listed as environmental and agricultural weed (

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a, Flower; b, corolla, opened; c, pistil; d, capsule with calyx; e, seed.
TitleL. crustacea - line drawing
Captiona, Flower; b, corolla, opened; c, pistil; d, capsule with calyx; e, seed.
a, Flower; b, corolla, opened; c, pistil; d, capsule with calyx; e, seed.
L. crustacea - line drawinga, Flower; b, corolla, opened; c, pistil; d, capsule with calyx; e, seed.SEAMEO-BIOTROP


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Lindernia crustacea (L.) F. Muell.

Preferred Common Name

  • Malaysian false pimpernel

Other Scientific Names

  • Antirrhinum hexandrum Forssk.
  • Buchnera capillaris Desv. ex Ham.
  • Capraria crustacea L.
  • Gratiola aspera Roth
  • Gratiola lucida Willd.
  • Lindernia minuta Koord.
  • Morgania lucida Spreng.
  • Pyxidaria crustacea (L.) Kuntze
  • Tittmannia scabra (R. Br.) Spreng.
  • Torenia crustacea (L.) Hassk.
  • Torenia flaccida R. Br.
  • Torenia minuta Bl.
  • Torenia scabra R. Br.
  • Vandellia alba Benth.
  • Vandellia bodinieri H. Lév.
  • Vandellia crustacea (L.) Benth.
  • Vandellia minuta Miq.

International Common Names

  • English: brittle false pimpernel
  • Chinese: mu cao

Local Common Names

  • Bangladesh: chapraghash
  • Cook Islands: tutae torae
  • French Polynesia: haehaa; piriate
  • Indonesia: daun sirik ketok; jukut mata heuyeup
  • Indonesia/Java: brobos kebo
  • Japan: urikusa
  • Lesser Antilles: cresson bâtard

EPPO code

  • LIDCR (Lindernia crustacea)

Summary of Invasiveness

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L. crustacea is an herb including in the Global Compendium of Weeds where it is listed as environmental and agricultural weed (Randall, 2012). It has a wide distribution across tropical and subtropical regions of the world where it occurs in a wide range of wetland and some non-wetland habitats and is able to exploit anthropogenic habitats such as rice fields. Once established, this species has the potential to grow forming a mat up to 30 cm high. Currently, L. crustacea is listed as invasive in Hawaii, French Polynesia and Singapore (Wagner, 1999; Chong et al., 2009; Lansdown, 2011). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Scrophulariales
  •                         Family: Scrophulariaceae
  •                             Genus: Lindernia
  •                                 Species: Lindernia crustacea

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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L. crustacea is one of about 85 accepted species in the genus Lindernia, which is among 16 plant genera now placed in the family Linderniaceae in the order Lamiales (The Plant List, 2013). In other classifications it used to be included within the family Scrophulariaceae sensu lato or more recently in Plantaginaceae sensu lato, but several authors have demonstrated that this taxon should be segregated from those families. The Linderniaceae is recognized in the APG III system. Members of the Linderniaceae are often small herbs with opposite leaves, square stems, and monosymmetric flowers with a sensitive stigma and the lower stamens usually very different from the upper.

For L. crustacea two varieties have been described, with the var. crustacea occurring in predominantly dry habitats and the var. godefroyi occurring in wetlands (Lansdown, 2011; Stevens, 2012).


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L. crustacea is a small, decumbent perennial, glabrous or thinly puberulent throughout, much-branched at the base, usually rooting at the lower nodes, 8-20 cm long. It flowers throughout the year. Stems slender, sharply quadrangular to narrowly 4-winged, the angles shortly hairy, green to purple. Opposite leaves, green to purple, ovate to oblong or lanceolate, apex obtuse or subobtuse, base broadly cuneate to rounded, margins entire or distantly serrate, often dull purple, 0.5-2.5 cm long, 0.5-1.5 cm wide, upper surface glabrous, lower surface minutely puberulent; petiole 1-6 mm long. Inflorescences axillary, solitary or the uppermost forming terminal cymes; pedicels 1-3 cm long. Calyx green or purplish, 5-angled cleft to about the middle, 4-6 mm long. Corolla pale blue or purplish, 5-8 mm long, upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip 3-lobed, middle one slightly larger than the outer ones, tube 4-7 mm long. Fruit a brown, papery, 2-celled, oblong-ovoid capsule, 3.5-5 mm long. Numerous seeds, pale brown, elliptic, obtuse at both ends, tuberculate, ca 0.5 mm long (Soerjani et al., 1987).

Seedling: hypocotyl 4-6 mm long, densely papillate. Cotyledons 2, petiole 2.5-4.5 mm long, sparsely minutely hairy; blade broadly ovate, 3.5-4.5 x 3.5-5.5 mm, obscurely pinnately nerved, base obtuse to attenuate, margin entire, sparsely minutely bristly, apex truncate to emarginate. Epicotyl 0.5-4.7 mm long, 4-angular, ribs appressed-hairy. First leaves 2; petiole 1.5-2.5 mm long, winged, appressed-hairy; blade ovate, 3.3-8.8 x 2.6-6.1 mm, glandular-dotted, pinnately nerved, base obtuse, margin crenate, bristly, apex rounded (Kostermans et al., 1987).


Plant Type

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Seed propagated


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L. crustacea is native to tropical Asia, but is now distributed throughout the tropics (Usher, 1974; USDA-ARS, 2015). It can be found naturalized in tropical Africa, North America, South America, and the West Indies (Lansdown, 2011; Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; USDA-NRCS, 2015).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


BangladeshPresentNativeMoody, 1989; Lansdown, 2011
CambodiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
-AnhuiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-FujianPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-GuangdongPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-GuangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-GuizhouPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HainanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HenanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HubeiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-HunanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-JiangsuPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-JiangxiPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-SichuanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-TibetPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-YunnanPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
-ZhejiangPresentNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)PresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
IndiaPresentMoody, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2015
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-Andhra PradeshPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-AssamPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-BiharPresentJha and Sinha, 1989
-DelhiPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-GoaPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-GujaratPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-KarnatakaPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-KeralaPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-MaharashtraPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-ManipurPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-MizoramPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-OdishaPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-RajasthanPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
-Uttar PradeshPresentSaxena et al., 1981; Lansdown, 2011
-West BengalPresentNativeLansdown, 2011
JapanPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
-HokkaidoPresentOhwi, 1965
-HonshuPresentOhwi, 1965; Lansdown, 2011
-KyushuPresentOhwi, 1965; Lansdown, 2011
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentOhwi, 1965; USDA-ARS, 2015
-ShikokuPresentOhwi, 1965; Lansdown, 2011
Korea, DPRPresentOhwi, 1965; USDA-ARS, 2015
Korea, Republic ofPresentOhwi, 1965; USDA-ARS, 2015
LaosPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
MalaysiaPresentBakar, 2004; USDA-ARS, 2015
NepalPresentMoody, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2015
PhilippinesPresentMoody, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2015
SingaporePresent Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; Chong et al., 2009Uncertain if introduced or native, but listed as invasive
Sri LankaPresentMoody, 1989; USDA-ARS, 2015
TaiwanPresentOhwi, 1965; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015
ThailandPresentYongboonkird et al., 1988; USDA-ARS, 2015
VietnamPresentUSDA-ARS, 2015


CameroonPresentHepper, 1963; PROTA, 2015
Côte d'IvoirePresentHepper, 1963
GhanaPresentHepper, 1963; PROTA, 2015
MadagascarPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2015
NigeriaPresentHepper, 1963
Sierra LeonePresentHepper, 1963

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedLewis, 2000
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-ArkansasPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
-FloridaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2015
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-South CarolinaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2015

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresentIntroducedBalick et al., 2000
CubaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
MontserratPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012Weed
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedGraveson, 2012Weed
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced Invasive Holm et al., 1979

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroducedLewis, 2000
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AcrePresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-AlagoasPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-AmazonasPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-CearaPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-GoiasPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-MaranhaoPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-ParaPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-PernambucoPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-RondoniaPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-RoraimaPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-SergipePresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
-TocantinsPresentIntroducedSouza, 2015
ColombiaPresentIntroducedIdárraga-Piedrahita et al., 2011
EcuadorPresentIntroducedJørgensen and León-Yánez, 1999
French GuianaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
GuyanaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
PeruPresentIntroducedLewis, 2000
SurinamePresentFunk et al., 2007
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007


American SamoaPresentWhistler, 1980Uncertain if native or alien
AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-QueenslandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2015
Cook IslandsPresentWhistler, 1992
FijiPresentSmith, 1991Origin uncertain
French PolynesiaPresentWhistler, 1992; Florence et al., 2013
Marshall IslandsPresentPIER, 2015
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentLorence and Flynn, 2010Uncertain if native or alien
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentNativeRaulerson, 2006
PalauPresentNativePIER, 2015
Papua New GuineaPresentNativePIER, 2015
SamoaPresentNativePIER, 2015
Solomon IslandsPresentNativeHancock et al., 1988
TongaPresentWhistler, 1992Introduced on Kao and Vava Islands

History of Introduction and Spread

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Because L. crustacea behaves as a weed, it was probably introduced accidentally into new habitats. In the West Indies, this species appears in herbarium collections made in 1894 in Guadeloupe, 1912 in Jamaica, 1939 in Martinique and Grenada and in 1950 in St Lucia (US National Herbarium). In Puerto Rico, this species represents a recent introduction. It was first reported by Liogier (1965) as common in waste grounds. The current status in this island is not well known but it seems to be very common in open, moist habitats. 

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of L. crustacea is high. This species is a common weed in both agricultural and disturbed sites and has a wide geographical distribution. Additionally, it has a great dispersion capability and can spread by seeds and vegetatively by nodes on the stems (Lansdown, 2011; Randall, 2012; PROTA, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015). 


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In Polynesia, L. crustacea extends as far east as the Marquesas (Whistler, 1992). It is common in wet sites, cultivated fields and gardens, along roadsides, often on compact hard soils, and may form a dense turf on bare ground if not disturbed. L. crustacea grows up to 3000 m in altitude, but mostly to 1500 m (Kostermans et al., 1989). In Polynesia, it is found in wet places, such as stream beds and taro fields, from the lowlands to the montane forest (Whistler, 1992).

Lansdown (2011) says that it “can occur in dry roadsides, lawns, rice fields, riversides, swamps, sandy river banks, low-lying pastures and drying-out tanks, sometimes near the sea-shore”.

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land 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 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

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Colocasia esculenta (taro)AraceaeOther
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain

Biology and Ecology

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The chromosome number reported for L. crustacea is 2n = 32, 42.

Physiology and Phenology

L. crustacea is a small annual or perennial weed, reproducing by seed. Information on germination biology is lacking, and it is not certain whether this species can germinate under water. It is not a strictly aquatic plant but is recorded from all types of rice cultivation and must have some ability to tolerate flooded conditions.

In a seed bank study conducted, L. crustacea seed germinated over a three month period when incubated in 1 cm of soil, at 74-92% humidity and soil surface temperatures of 25-29.4°C (Kellman, 1974).

In China, L. crustacea has been recorded flowering and fruiting all year round (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015). In India, it produces flowers and fruits from August to November (India Biodiversity Portal, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

L. crustacea grows mainly in moist to wet habitats in disturbed areas; particularly rice fields, grassland, irrigated crops, riverbanks, creeks, swamp edges, damp grassland, lawns, disturbed forests, plantations, and along roadsides and trails. It grows at altitudes ranging from sea level to 1300 m in China, 250-1800 m in Nepal, 150-1220 m in Hawaii, 0-300 m in Fiji, and from 0-2500 m in Papua New Guinea (Smith, 1991; Wagner et al., 1999; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; PIER, 2015; PROTA, 2015).


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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 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])

Soil Tolerances

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Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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L. crustacea spreads by seed and vegetatively by nodes on the stems. Seeds are approximately 0.5 mm long and can be dispersed by multiple factors such as wind, water, animals and as a contaminant in machinery, soils, and crops (Wagner et al., 1999; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
DisturbanceWeed Yes Yes Holm et al., 1979

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesAgricultural weed Yes Yes Holm et al., 1979
Soil, sand and gravelSeeds and stem fragments Yes Yes Holm et al., 1979
WaterSeeds Yes Yes Holm et al., 1979
WindSeeds Yes Yes Holm et al., 1979

Impact Summary

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Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative

Economic Impact

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L. crustacea is described by Kostermans et al. (1987) as a weed of all kinds of rice field, but of minor importance. In the Philippines, it is a common weed in open fields, rice paddies and cultivated ground (Pancho and Obien, 1995). In Bangladesh, it occurs in transplanted aman rice fields at higher altitudes, along roadsides and on levees of crop fields (Mamun, 1989). It occurs as a weed in transplanted rice in India, Indonesia and Vietnam, in upland rice in India, the Philippines and Vietnam, and in wet-seeded rice (sprouted seeds sown on puddled soil) in India and Malaysia. It has also been reported as a weed of lowland rice in Bangladesh and a weed of rice in Nepal and Sri Lanka (Moody, 1989).

It is a weed in tobacco and vegetables as well as rice (Waterhouse, 1993). It is also described as a serious weed in Trinidad, and a widespread and important weed in Malaysia and Singapore (Holm et al., 1979, Waterhouse 1993; Bakar, 2004; Chong et al., 2009).

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
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field


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In Asia, L. crustacea is used as a medicinal herb. Petard (1972), cited in Whistler (1992), reported that it was used for umbilical infections, boils, uterine haemorrhage, leucorrhea, jaundice and colic. In Malaysia, a decoction of the leaves is used as medicine after childbirth. In the Moluccas, it is applied to boils and itches and herpes-like sores. In Indo-China, the plant is considered to have emetic and cathartic properties, and has given good results in treating bilious disorders, dysentery, amenorrhoea, and hepatitis. It is one of the commonest plants in Chinese pharmacies in Indonesia and Malaysia. In Brunei, the powdered herb mixed with rice water is drunk to relieve diarrhoea, vomiting and cholera (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015; PROTA, 2015).

The leaves are used in Tahiti to treat earache (Usher, 1974). Currently, the most popular Tahitian use is in purgative remedies for infants; it is also used for leucorrhea. In the Cook Islands, a solution of the crushed leaves is given to babies suffering from an ill-defined group of ailments known as IRA and sometimes for infection of the navel (Whistler, 1992).


Uses List

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Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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L. crustacea may be distinguished from other Lindernia species by its four fertile stamens (two in L. ciliata, L. anagallis and L. antipoda) and its purple corolla tube, with purple limb, lower lip with a yellow spot at base, and calyx divided only to the middle (corolla tube white, lower lip white with a purple margin, and calyx divided almost to the base in L. procumbens).

Prevention and Control

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Foliar treatment with 2,4-D may be applied; paraquat was found to be ineffective for control of L. crustacea (Kostermans et al., 1987). Post emergence application of ioxynil+2,4-D controlled a range of broadleaved weeds, including L. crustacea, in sugar cane (Cooke et al. 1969).

While Lindernia species are normally controlled by sulfonylurea herbicides, resistance to this group of herbicides has now been observed in Japan, in L. micrantha, L. dubia, L. pyxidara and L. sessiliflora (Itoh and Guangxi Wang, 1997).


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03/06/15 Updated by:

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

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