Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Ludwigia octovalvis
(primrose willow)



Ludwigia octovalvis (primrose willow)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2021
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ludwigia octovalvis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • primrose willow
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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Habit at waters edge.
CaptionHabit at waters edge.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Habit at waters edge.
HabitHabit at waters edge.©Sheldon Navie
a, leaf; b, flower, view from below and from above; c, sepal; d, flower without perianth; e, capsule and enlarged base; f, seed.
TitleL. octovalvis - line drawing
Captiona, leaf; b, flower, view from below and from above; c, sepal; d, flower without perianth; e, capsule and enlarged base; f, seed.
a, leaf; b, flower, view from below and from above; c, sepal; d, flower without perianth; e, capsule and enlarged base; f, seed.
L. octovalvis - line drawinga, leaf; b, flower, view from below and from above; c, sepal; d, flower without perianth; e, capsule and enlarged base; f, seed.SEAMEO-BIOTROP
Growth habit showing a dense stand.
CaptionGrowth habit showing a dense stand.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Growth habit showing a dense stand.
HabitGrowth habit showing a dense stand.©Sheldon Navie
Leaves and flowers.
CaptionLeaves and flowers.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Leaves and flowers.
HabitLeaves and flowers.©Sheldon Navie
Stem with leaves and flowers.
CaptionStem with leaves and flowers.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Stem with leaves and flowers.
HabitStem with leaves and flowers.©Sheldon Navie
Young plant.
TitleYoung plant
CaptionYoung plant.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Young plant.
Young plantYoung plant.©Sheldon Navie
Immature fruits.
CaptionImmature fruits.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Immature fruits.
FruitsImmature fruits.©Sheldon Navie
Mature seed pods.
CaptionMature seed pods.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Mature seed pods.
FruitsMature seed pods.©Sheldon Navie
Close-up of flower.
CaptionClose-up of flower.
Copyright©Sheldon Navie
Close-up of flower.
FlowerClose-up of flower.©Sheldon Navie


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ludwigia octovalvis (Jacq.) Raven

Preferred Common Name

  • primrose willow

Other Scientific Names

  • Jussiaea angustifolia Lam.
  • Jussiaea linearis Willd.
  • Jussiaea octovalvis Swartz
  • Jussiaea pubescens L.
  • Jussiaea suffruticosa L.
  • Oenothena octovalvis Jacq.

International Common Names

  • Spanish: clavito; hierta de Santa Cruz
  • French: herbe à pique

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: cruz de Malta

EPPO code

  • LUDOC (Ludwigia octovalvis)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Onagraceae
  •                             Genus: Ludwigia
  •                                 Species: Ludwigia octovalvis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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L. octovalvis has a complex pattern of variation which makes it difficult to assign formal taxonomic categories. Raven (1963) recognized four subspecies, two of which have distinct ranges.

1. subsp. brevispala (Brenan) Raven

The only representative of the species present over much of Africa: sepals <6 mm long.

All other subspecies have sepals >6 mm long.

2. subsp. macropoda (Presl) Raven

The only one along the west coast of South America, from Ecuador to northern Chile.

3. subsp. sessiliflora (Mich.) Raven

With a range largely distinct from that of subsp. octovalvis within South America, but overlapping and confused in the Old World. Only subsp. sessiliflora is found in New Caledonia and southern India; it has a wider range in China, to southern Japan, but a much narrower range in the Pacific, only as far as Fiji. This subspecies is usually distinguishable from subsp. octovalvis by the presence of long erect hairs on the leaves, and ovate or subovate leaves (while subsp. octovalvis typically has few or no hairs, and lanceolate or linear leaves).

4. subsp. octovalvis

Uncommon in Africa; but nearly throughout India, to south-east China and Taiwan, and as far south as Australia, and through the Pacific to Hawaii, Tahiti and the Marquesas.


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L. octovalvis is a robust, well-branched herb, up to 3 m tall, sometimes woody at base or even shrubby. Hairy. Leaves linear to subovate, 2-14.5 cm long, 0.4-4 cm wide, narrowly or broadly cuneate at the base, apex attenuate; main veins 11-20 on each side of midrib; submarginal vein well developed; petioles up to 10 mm long. Sepals 4, ovate or lanceolate, 6-15 mm long, 1-7.5 mm wide. Petals (4-5) yellow, broadly obovate or cuneate, 5-17 mm long, 4-17 mm wide. Stamens 8, pale-greenish-yellow. Seeds pluriseriate in each locule of thin-walled capsule, free, brown, rounded, 0.6-0.75 mm wide, including the inflated raphe which is the same size as the body of seed and evenly transversely ridged. (After Munz, 1942.)


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L. octovalvis is found throughout the Tropics, from sea level to 1500 m elevation (see also Notes on Taxonomy).

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 Feb 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


Cabo VerdePresent
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresent
Congo, Republic of thePresent
Sierra LeonePresent
South AfricaPresent


IndiaPresent, Localized
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresent
IndonesiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Irian JayaPresent
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresent
-Maluku IslandsPresent
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent
Sri LankaPresent

North America

United StatesPresentPresent based on regional distribution.


AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-New South WalesPresent
-Northern TerritoryPresent
-Western AustraliaPresent
French PolynesiaPresent

South America



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L. octovalvis is found in wet places, usually associated with agriculture: most commonly in either rainfed or irrigated ricefields (see, for example, Pablico and Moody, 1987).

Habitat List

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Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Biology and Ecology

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L. octovalvis is found in wet places, and experimental evidence confirms that it is highly tolerant of fluctuating water levels (Mohankumar and Alexander, 1989). The periderm of the plant tissues swells rapidly when immersed in water: this is probably a defence against waterlogging (Angeles, 1992). Like many rice weeds, the plant responds strongly to application of nitrogenous fertilizer (up to 100 kg/ha) by increased dry matter accumulation, which may increase problems of weed control in heavily fertilized ricefields (Gaffer, 1985; Kim and Moody, 1989).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Altica foveicollis Herbivore Plants|Leaves
Mompha ludwigiae Herbivore Plants|Leaves


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L. octovalvis is primarily a weed of rice, particularly in South-East Asia (Moody, 1989), where it infests a wide range of rice culture systems, especially dry-seeded rice (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand), wet-seeded rice (Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam), transplanted rice (Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam) and upland rice (Indonesia, Philippines, Nepal). L. octovalvis also occurs in direct-seeded rice (India, Sri Lanka), tidal swamp rice (Indonesia), lowland rice (Cambodia, Laos), and seedling nursery rice (Philippines).

Raju and Reddy (1986) list L. octovalvis fourth in global-scale importance among broadleaved weeds that infest rice (out of a total of 350 weed species in rice, worldwide). This weed also affects plantation crops: for example, young cocoa plantations in Brazil (Mori et al., 1980). It is a troublesome weed of a range of irrigated crops in Africa (Cook, 1974). It has been reported as a pasture weed from the Southern Pacific region (Reynolds, 1978), and is a major broadleaved weed of legume crops, including soyabeans, in the Philippines.

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.



Weed species of Ludwigia (primarily L. adscendens, L. hyssopifolia and L. octovalvis) that occur in rice are reported to be susceptible to the following herbicides (results reported as usually at least as good as standard twice-repeated hand-weeded controls).

Standard treatments include MCPA and 2,4-D as post-emergence treatments (Raju and Reddy, 1986). Others are quinclorac + bensulfuron or molinate + 2,4-D. More recently, pretilachlor (often in combination with other active ingredients; see, for example, Llorente and Evangelista, 1990) has emerged as an effective herbicide for use against Ludwigia spp. Good results have been observed in recent years with a range of these and other products and mixes, in varying situations as summarized below.

Post-emergence application of piperophos + propanil was reported to be very effective in direct-seeded and transplanted lowland rice in Nigeria, with oxadiazon + propanil, and fluorodifen [now superseded] + propanil also reasonable. Tank-mixed post-emergence application of thiobencarb + propanil + fenoprop [now superseded] or butachlor + propanil was effective against L. octovalvis. Pre-emergence treatments were less effective because of crop phytotoxicity or poor weed control efficacy (using pretilachlor + dimethametryn, or oxadiazon) (Imeokparia et al., 1992; Imeokparia, 1994).

Pre-emergence thiobencarb plus one hand-weeding was slightly better than butachlor plus one hand weeding in dry and wet-sown rice in Tamil Nadu, India: in these trials, post-emergence treatments were not effective in either crop - using thiobencarb + 2,4-D, butachlor + 2,4-D, fluchloralin + 2,4-D, pendimethalin + 2,4-D or piperophos + 2,4-D (Kandasamy and Palaniappan, 1990).

Other workers have studied herbicide use against other Ludwigia spp. (L. adscendens: Allard and Zoschke,1990; L. hyssopifolia: Azmi and Supaad, 1992).


In the South Pacific region, L. octovalvis is reported as one of 14 problem bushy or woody weed species: it is susceptible to control by 2,4-D or glyphosate (Reynolds, 1978).

Biological Control

The chrysomelid beetle Altica foveicollis has been considered as a possible biocontrol agent against L. octovalvis, for example in Bangladesh (Alam and Karim, 1980). Larvae of the lepidopteran Mompha ludwigiae will feed on L. octovalvis, though these larvae primarily provide biocontrol against L. adscendens (Bradley et al., 1973).

Cultural Methods

Soil solarization, using clear polythene sheeting, has been reported to reduce the abundance of broadleaved weeds, including L. octovalvis, in Western Samoa (Ragone and Wilson, 1988).


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Alam S; Karim ANMR, 1980. The black beetle: an efficient weed feeder in Bangladesh. International Rice Research Newsletter, 5(4):23

Allard JL; Zoschke A, 1990. A solution to the major weed problems in wet-sown rice: experiences with pretilachlor/fenclorim in south-east Asia. Pest management in rice (conference held by the Society of Chemical Industry, London, UK, 4-7 June 1990) [edited by Grayson, B.T.; Green, M.B.; Copping, L.G.] Barking, UK; Elsevier Applied Science Publishers Ltd., 378-388

Angeles G, 1992. The periderm of flooded and non-flooded Ludwigia octovalvis (Onagraceae). IAWA Bulletin, 13:195-200.

Azmi M; Supaad MA, 1992. Evaluation of new herbicides for weed control in direct seeded rice. Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on plant protection in the tropics, Genting Highlands, Malaysia, 20-23 March 1990 [edited by Ooi, P.A.C.; Lim, G.S.; Teng, P.S.] Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Malaysian Plant Protection Society, Vol. 6:292-296

Bradley JD; Carter DJ; Sankaran T; Narayanan E, 1973. A new species of Mompha Hubner (Lepidoptera, Momphidae) from Assam, N.E. India, a potential agent for biological control of Ludwigia adscendens. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 63(1):57-63

Brenan JPM, 1954. Onagraceae. In: Keay RWJ, ed. Flora of West Tropical Africa, Vol I, Part I, 2nd edition. London, UK: Crown Agents, 166-170.

Cook CDK, 1974. Water Plants of the World. The Hague, The Netherlands: Junk.

Florence J; Guerin M; Reboul JL, 1983. Weeds of French Polynesia (Les mauvaises herbes de la Polynesie Francaise). Compte Rendu de la 12e Conference du COLUMA. Tome I. Paris, France: Comite Francais de Lutte contre les Mauvaises Herbes, 427-432.

Gaffer MA, 1985. Studies on nitrogen economy in transplant aman rice through weed control measures. Bangladesh Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, 20(1-4):159-162

Holm LG; Pancho JV; Herberger JP; Plucknett DL, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, USA: John Wiley and Sons, 391 pp.

Imeokparia PO, 1994. Weed control in flooded rice with various herbicide combinations in the southern Guinea savanna zone of Nigeria. International Journal of Pest Management, 40(1):31-39

Imeokparia PO; Lagoke STO; Olunuga BA, 1992. Evaluation of postemergence herbicides for broad-spectrum weed control in three cultivars of flooded rice in Nigeria. Crop Protection, 11(2):165-173

Kandasamy OS; Palaniappan SP, 1990. Weed control in dry and wet seeded irrigated rice. International Rice Research Newsletter, 15(3):33

Kim SC; Moody K, 1989. Growth dynamics of rice and several weed species under density and fertiliser stress. Proceedings 12th Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society Conference, 1:47-56.

Llorente JL; Evangelista CC, 1990. Efficacy of pretilachlor for weed control in transplanted rice (IR 74). University of Southern Mindanao College of Agriculture Research Journal, 1:9-17.

Macanawai, A. R., 2016. Spermacoce latifolia - a predominant alien invasive plant in root crops and its management in Lomaivuna, Viti Levu, Fiji. Acta Horticulturae, (No.1123), 215-219.

Mesquita, M. L. R., Andrade, L. A. de, Pereira, W. E., 2013. Floristic diversity of the soil weed seed bank in a rice-growing area of Brazil: in situ and ex situ evaluation. Acta Botanica Brasilica, 27(3), 465-471. doi: 10.1590/S0102-33062013000300001

Mohankumar B; Alexander D, 1989. Influence of water regimes on weed growth and yields of transplanted rice. Oryza, 26(1-2):103-105

Moody K, 1989. Weeds reported in Rice in South and Southeast Asia. Manila, Philippines: International Rice Research Institute.

Mori SA; Silva LAM; Lisboa G; Pereira RC; Santos TSdos, 1980. Studies of weedy plants of southern Bahia 1. Productivity and phenology. Boletim Tecnico, Centro de Pesquisas do Cacau, No. 73:18 pp.

Munz PA, 1942. Studies in Onagraceae XII A revision of the New World species of Jussiaea. Darwiniana, 4(2-3):179-284.

Pablico PP; Moody K, 1987. A survey of weeds in transplanted and wet-seeded rice under rainfed and irrigated conditions. International Rice Research Newsletter, 12(1):23

Ragone D; Wilson JE, 1988. Control of weeds, nematodes and soil-borne pathogens by soil solarization. Alafua Agricultural Bulletin, 13(1):13-20

Raju RA; Reddy MN, 1986. Protecting the world's rice crops. Agricultural Information Development Bulletin, 8(2):17-18

Raven PH, 1963. The old world species of Ludwigia (including Jussiaea), with a synopsis of the genus (Onagraceae). Reinwardtia, 6(3):327-427.

Reynolds S, 1978. Suggested control methods for some pasture weeds. Alafua Agricultural Bulletin, 3(1):7-13

Waterhouse DF, 1993. The Major Arthropod Pests and Weeds of Agriculture in Southeast Asia. ACIAR Monograph No. 21. Canberra, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 141 pp.

Distribution References

Brenan J P M, 1954. Onagraceae. In: Flora of West Tropical Africa, Volume 1, Part 1. [ed. by Hutchinson J, Dalziel J M, Keay R W J]. London, UK: Crown Agents. 166-170.

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Florence J, Guérin M, Reboul J L, 1983. Weeds of French Polynesia. (Les mauvaises herbes de la Polynésie française.). In: Compte Rendu de la 12e Conférence du COLUMA. Tome I. [Compte Rendu de la 12e Conférence du COLUMA. Tome I.], Paris, France: Comité Français de Lutte contre les Mauvaises Herbes. 427-432.

Holm L, Pancho J V, Herberger J P, Plucknett D L, 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. New York, Chichester (), Brisbane, Toronto, UK: John Wiley and Sons. xlix + 391 pp.

Macanawai A R, 2016. Spermacoce latifolia - a predominant alien invasive plant in root crops and its management in Lomaivuna, Viti Levu, Fiji. Acta Horticulturae. 215-219.

Mesquita M L R, Andrade L A de, Pereira W E, 2013. Floristic diversity of the soil weed seed bank in a rice-growing area of Brazil: in situ and ex situ evaluation. Acta Botanica Brasilica. 27 (3), 465-471. DOI:10.1590/S0102-33062013000300001

Moody K, 1989. Weeds reported in rice in South and Southeast Asia. Manila, Philippines: International Rice Research Institute. 442 pp.

Nayak S K, Satapathy K B, 2015. Diversity, uses and origin of invasive alien plants in Dhenkanal district of Odisha, India. International Research Journal of Biological Sciences. 4 (2), 21-27.

Raven PH, 1963. The old world species of Ludwigia (including Jussiaea), with a synopsis of the genus (Onagraceae). In: Reinwardtia, 6 (3) 327-427.

Seebens H, Blackburn T M, Dyer E E, Genovesi P, Hulme P E, Jeschke J M, Pagad S, Pyšek P, Winter M, Arianoutsou M, Bacher S, Blasius B, Brundu G, Capinha C, Celesti-Grapow L, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Fuentes N, Jäger H, Kartesz J, Kenis M, Kreft H, Kühn I, Lenzner B, Liebhold A, Mosena A (et al), 2017. No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide. Nature Communications. 8 (2), 14435.

Waterhouse D F, 1993. The major arthropod pests and weeds of agriculture in Southeast Asia. Canberra, Australia: ACIAR. v + 141 pp.

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.

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