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Datasheet

Merremia umbellata (hogvine)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 10 May 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Merremia umbellata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • hogvine
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • M. umbellata is a climbing weed widely distributed in tropical regions throughout the world. It is one of the commonest and most widespread species of Merremia. Due to its attractive yellow flowers, it...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing on a fence alongside a road. Ecuador. July 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing on a fence alongside a road. Ecuador. July 2016.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing on a fence alongside a road. Ecuador. July 2016.
HabitMerremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing on a fence alongside a road. Ecuador. July 2016.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.
HabitMerremia umbellata (hogvine); habit, growing along a roadside. Ecuador. July 2016.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); leaves and inflorescences. Puerto Rico. December 2007.
TitleLeaves and inflorescences
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); leaves and inflorescences. Puerto Rico. December 2007.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); leaves and inflorescences. Puerto Rico. December 2007.
Leaves and inflorescencesMerremia umbellata (hogvine); leaves and inflorescences. Puerto Rico. December 2007.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); flowers. Puerto Rico. December 2007.
TitleFlowers
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); flowers. Puerto Rico. December 2007.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); flowers. Puerto Rico. December 2007.
FlowersMerremia umbellata (hogvine); flowers. Puerto Rico. December 2007.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); close view of flower. Puerto Rico. November 2007.
TitleFlower
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); close view of flower. Puerto Rico. November 2007.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); close view of flower. Puerto Rico. November 2007.
FlowerMerremia umbellata (hogvine); close view of flower. Puerto Rico. November 2007.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); immature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.
TitleImmature fruits
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); immature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); immature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.
Immature fruitsMerremia umbellata (hogvine); immature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); mature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.
TitleMature fruits
CaptionMerremia umbellata (hogvine); mature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.
Copyright©Fabiola Areces-Berazain
Merremia umbellata (hogvine); mature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.
Mature fruitsMerremia umbellata (hogvine); mature fruits. Puerto Rico. February 2008.©Fabiola Areces-Berazain

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Merremia umbellata (L.) Hallier f.

Preferred Common Name

  • hogvine

Other Scientific Names

  • Convolvulus aristolochiifolius Mill.
  • Convolvulus caracassanus Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.
  • Convolvulus cymosus Desr.
  • Convolvulus luteus M. Martens & Galeotti
  • Convolvulus multiflorus Mill.
  • Convolvulus sagittifer Kunth
  • Convolvulus umbellatus L.
  • Ipomoea cymosa (Desr.) Roem. & Schult.
  • Ipomoea modesta Choisy
  • Ipomoea mollicoma Miq.
  • Ipomoea pilosa Houtt.
  • Ipomoea polyanthes Roem. & Schult.
  • Ipomoea portobellensis Beurl.
  • Ipomoea sagittifer (Kunth) G. Don
  • Ipomoea sepiaria Zoll. and Mor.
  • Ipomoea tonkinensis Gagnep.
  • Ipomoea umbellata G.F.W. Mey.
  • Merremia tonkinensis (Gagnep.) T. N. Nguyen

International Common Names

  • English: hog vine; yellow hog vine; yellow merremia; yellow morning glory; yellow wood rose
  • Spanish: jicama; batatilla amarilla; cajete; campanilla amarilla; campanilla bellisima; campanitas; churristate amarillo; cimarrona; taranta amarilla; tripa de gallina
  • Chinese: shan zhu cai

Local Common Names

  • American Samoa: fue lautetele
  • Costa Rica: churristate
  • Cuba: aguinaldo amarillo; bajuco jaibero; bejuco ahorca colono
  • Dominican Republic: bejuco de tabaco; campana amarilla
  • El Salvador: cuelga˗tabaco; jícama cimarrona
  • Fiji: sovivi
  • Guatemala: cajete; quilamulillo
  • India: goria loti; kolavara valli; motia; sapussunda; turnaisa; vawkte˗sen˗til; vayaravalli; voktesentil
  • Indonesia: akabulu; akar biabak; akar slemang; areuj gereung; areuj kidang; baji seluang; daun bisul; lawatan kebo; rawatan
  • Lesser Antilles: fleur patate jaune; liane à berceau; liane à malingres; liane à tonnelle; liane douce jaune; liane˗berceau; liann berceau; lyann beso; lyann dou jon; sweet liane; sweet william; yellow hogvine; yellow morning glory
  • Malaysia: akar ulan betina; andur nasi; greater Malayan bindweed; pelandok; ulan tapak
  • Mali: ulou nin tulu
  • Mexico: amole de venado; bejuco manzo
  • Myanmar: kya˗hin; zizaw
  • Nigeria: èpírí kọ̀rị̀
  • Palau: kebias
  • Panama: batatilla amarilla
  • Philippines: bangbangau; kalamitmit; kamokamotihan; malakamote
  • Sierra Leone: a˗gbungabo; kpokpo; liti; soriondibi
  • Sri Lanka: kiri˗madu; maha˗madu
  • Thailand: chingcho khaao; thao dok baan tuum
  • Vietnam: bìm bắc bộ; bìm tán

EPPO code

  • MRRUM (Merremia umbellata)

Summary of Invasiveness

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M. umbellata is a climbing weed widely distributed in tropical regions throughout the world. It is one of the commonest and most widespread species of Merremia. Due to its attractive yellow flowers, it has been introduced as an ornamental in several countries where has become naturalized. It is typically found in disturbed areas and as a weed in agricultural crops and plantations, but little is known about its environmental impact. The PIER website (PIER, 2016) lists it as invasive in Hawaii, Fiji, Micronesia, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and the Galápagos Islands, although regional floras and reports (see references in the distribution table) do not explicitly indicate so. It is also considered invasive in Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012) and American Samoa (Speith and Harrison, 2012).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Solanales
  •                         Family: Convolvulaceae
  •                             Genus: Merremia
  •                                 Species: Merremia umbellata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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This species was described from the West Indies by Linnaeus in 1753 as Convolvulus umbellatus, and was later transferred to Merremia by Hans Hallier in 1893. The specific epithet alludes to its umbellate inflorescences.

Van Ooststroom and Hoogland (1953) recognized two subspecies, subsp. orientalis (= var. orientalis) occurring in Asia and East Africa and subsp. umbellata (= var. occidentalis) occurring in tropical America, the Caribbean and West Africa. However, the distinction of the two taxa in certain places of Southeast Asia where the subsp. umbellata has been introduced has become blurred, and many specimens from this region cannot be unambiguously assigned to one of the two subspecies (Staples, 2010). Additionally, some forms of M. umbellata from Southeast Asia intergrade with two other Asian species: Merremia bambusetorum and M. kingii. A careful revision of this species complex in this region is required in order to elucidate its taxonomy (Staples, 2010).

The Plant List (2013) recognises subsp. orientalis as an accepted name, but not subsp. umbellata, and has another accepted subspecies of M. umbellata subsp. macra.

Description

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M. umbellata is a vigorous perennial vine with climbing or trailing stems up to 3 m or more in length, glabrous or softly hairy. Young stems have a milky sap; older stems may be woody. Leaves are alternate, long-petiolate, narrowly to broadly ovate with cordate base, occasionally lobed, about 10 cm long (but sometimes up to 15 cm long). Flowers occur in axillary clusters of a few to many flowers, on peduncle 1-5 cm long. Calyx 5-8 mm long, rounded; corolla 2-4 cm long, always bright yellow in subsp. umbellata, but van Ooststroom and Hoogland (1953) note that those of subsp. orientalis vary from yellow/orange in western Malaysia to white in Indonesia. Capsule ovoid to conical 10-15 mm long, splitting into four. Seeds 5 mm long, brown, densely hairy.

Plant Type

Top of page Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated
Vine / climber
Woody

Distribution

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M. umbellata is a widespread weed of the humid tropics, occurring as two subspecies, subsp. umbellata in tropical America and West Africa, while subsp. orientalis is common from East Africa through southern and south-eastern Asia (van Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953).

While records for many individual countries cannot readily be confirmed, van Ooststroom notes that it occurs 'from Mexico to Paraguay and in the West Indies' while Garcia et al. (1975) note that it is common in crops of Central America and Fournet and Hammerton (1991) indicate that its distribution in the Lesser Antilles includes 'probably all islands'. It has been reported as introduced in USA (Florida), the Galápagos Islands, Mauritius, Reunion, Malesia (subsp. umbellata), Australia (subsp. umbellata), New Caledonia, Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and other Pacific islands (Austin, 1979; Smith, 1991; Wester, 1992; Bosser and Heine, 2000; Johnson, 2009; Staples, 2010).

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

Asia

BangladeshPresentNativeStaples, 2010
CambodiaPresentNativeStaples, 2010
ChinaPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010
-GuangdongPresentNativeFang and Staples, 1995
-GuangxiPresentNativeFang and Staples, 1995
-HainanPresentNativeFang and Staples, 1995
-Hong KongPresentNativeHong Kong Herbarium, 1995
-YunnanPresentNativeFang and Staples, 1995
East TimorPresentNativeSimões et al., 2011
IndiaPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Holm et al., 1979; Staples, 2010
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNativeFlowers of India, 2016
-Andhra PradeshPresentNativeReddy et al., 2015
-KeralaPresentNativeKerala Plants, 2016
-Madhya PradeshPresentNativeSrivastava, 1985
-MaharashtraPresentNativeFlowers of India, 2016
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeMatthew, 1995
-West BengalPresentNativeBandyopadhyay and Mukherjee, 2010
IndonesiaPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010
-JavaPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-KalimantanPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-MoluccasPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-Nusa TenggaraPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-SulawesiPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-SumatraPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
LaosPresentNativeStaples, 2010
MalaysiaPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Barnes and Chan, 1990; Staples, 2010
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-SabahPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-SarawakPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
MyanmarPresentNativeStaples, 2010
NepalPresentNativeStaples, 2010
PhilippinesPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010
SingaporePresentNativeStaples, 2010
Sri LankaPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010
TaiwanPresentNativeFang and Staples, 1995
ThailandPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010
VietnamPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010

Africa

BeninPresentNativeAkoègninou et al., 2006
Burkina FasoPresentNativeThiombiano et al., 2012
CameroonPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
Côte d'IvoirePresentNativeHutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
Equatorial GuineaPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
GambiaPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
GhanaPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963; Holm et al., 1979
GuineaPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
LiberiaPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
MaliPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
MauritiusPresentIntroduced1930Bosser and Heine, 2000
NigeriaPresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963
RéunionPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced1968Bosser and Heine, 2000Langevin (St Joseph) and La Jamaïque (Ste Clotilde)
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentNativeFigueiredo et al., 2011
SeychellesPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
Sierra LeonePresentNativeHeine, 1963; Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963

North America

MexicoWidespreadNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; McDonald, 1993
USARestricted distributionIntroducedWunderlin et al., 2016Florida and Hawaii
-FloridaPresentIntroducedSmall, 1933; Wunderlin et al., 2016Collier, Miami-Dade, Monroe keys
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wester, 1992; PIER, 2016O'ahu

Central America and Caribbean

CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Colon and Amarales, 1985; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
DominicaPresentNativePowell, 1989
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeLiogier, 1994
El SalvadorPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Austin et al., 2012
GrenadaPresentNativePowell, 1989
GuadeloupePresentNativePowell, 1989
GuatemalaPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
HaitiPresentNativeLiogier, 1994
HondurasPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Austin et al., 2012
JamaicaPresentNativeAdams, 1972; Holm et al., 1979
MartiniquePresentNativePowell, 1989
MontserratPresentNativePowell, 1989
NicaraguaPresentNativeAustin et al., 2012
PanamaPresentNativeHolm et al., 1979; Austin et al., 2012
Puerto RicoWidespreadNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez, 2005Including Vieques
Saint LuciaPresentNativePowell, 1989
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativePowell, 1989
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeCardenas and Coulston, 1967; Holm et al., 1979
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez, 2005St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeInstituto de Botánica Darwinion, 2016Formosa, Misiones, Salta
BoliviaPresentNativeWood et al., 2014
BrazilPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-AcrePresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-AlagoasPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-AmazonasPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-BahiaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-CearaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Distrito FederalPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-GoiasPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-MaranhaoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-ParaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-ParaibaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-ParanaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-PernambucoPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-PiauiPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-RondoniaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-RoraimaPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-Sao PauloPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-SergipePresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
-TocantinsPresentNativeSimão-Bianchini and Ferreira, 2016
ColombiaPresentNativeFuentes et al., 2006
EcuadorPresentNativeAustin, 1982a
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Tye, 2001; PIER, 2016San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz islands
French GuianaPresentNativeAustin, 2007
GuyanaPresentNativeAustin, 2007
ParaguayPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Instituto de Botánica Darwinion, 2016lto Paraguay, Central, Concepción
PeruPresentNativeBrako and Zarucchi, 1993
SurinamePresentNativeAustin, 2007
VenezuelaPresentNativeAustin, 1982b

Oceania

American SamoaPresentWhistler, 1983; Speith and Harrison, 2012Tutuila island
AustraliaPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentJohnson, 2009Merremia umbellata subsp. orientalis Native, Merremia umbellata subsp. umbellata Introduced
-QueenslandPresentVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Johnson, 2009Merremia umbellata subsp. orientalis Native, Merremia umbellata subsp. umbellata Introduced
-Western AustraliaPresentNativeJohnson, 2009Merremia umbellata subsp. orientalis
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedMcCormack, 2007Aitutaki atoll, Rarotonga
FijiPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 1991; PIER, 2016Ovalau and Viti Levu islands
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced Invasive Florence et al., 2007; Staples, 2010; PIER, 2016Raiatea, Tahiti, Makatea and Rimatara
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroduced Invasive Fosberg and Sachet, 1977; Herrera et al., 2010; PIER, 2016Pohnpei
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Heine, 1984; Staples, 2010; PIER, 2016Ȋle Grande Terre
PalauPresentDefilipps et al., 1988
Papua New GuineaPresentNativeVan Ooststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Staples, 2010

History of Introduction and Spread

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In the United States, M. umbellata was first recorded in 1933 from plants collected in the Florida Keys (Small, 1933), and was later found in Miami in 1934. Austin (1979) notes that although plants are occasionally cultivated, "it is a rare species in Florida and may not be established in the flora". The species is not listed as an invasive plant for this state (FLEPPC, 2016).

The earliest records in Hawaii are from 1911. Apparently, it was introduced from Tropical America as an ornamental (Wester, 1992). It was regarded as fully naturalized in 1999 based on a collection from O'ahu of a plant "growing in banana fields and infesting trees and shrubbery" (Imada et al., 2000).

In New Caledonia, this species was first collected in 1958, and is now common in vacant lots around settlements (Heine, 1984). In Mauritius, M. umbellata was collected for the first time in 1930, and has since naturalized in many places (Bosser and Heine, 2000). In Reunion, only two specimens collected in 1968 and 1972, respectively, are known for the island (Bosser and Heine, 2000).

Risk of Introduction

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M. umbellata is already widely distributed in tropical regions of the world. It is advertised and sold on many gardening websites as an ornamental vine (e.g. Dave's Garden, 2016; Sunshine Seeds, 2016; Top Tropicals, 2016), and thus it is very likely to spread further. It propagates by seeds and cuttings (Sunshine Seeds, 2016).

Habitat

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M. umbellata is a plant of the humid tropics occurring along the edges of forests, in grasslands, roadsides and waterways, from sea level up to 1500˗1600 m (Standley and Williams, 1970; Fang and Staples, 1995). Although it is common in forest situations, it favours more open situations along the edges of fields, plantations and water bodies. Barnes and Chan (1990) indicate that it also favours sandy soils.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Arid regions Present, no further details Natural
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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M. umbellata is noted to occur in forest plantations, perennial crops, pastures, root crops and vegetables (García et al., 1975). It seems to be a common weed in rice (Moody, 1989; Fuentes et al., 2006) and in mahogany plantations from Southeast Asia (Nazif, 1992; Krisnawati et al., 2011). In Mexico, it has been reported as a weed in sugarcane, maize, sponge gourd (Luffa aegyptiaca), tomato, mango and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) (Villaseñor Ríos and Espinosa García, 1998).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeOther
Acacia mangium (brown salwood)FabaceaeOther
Gmelina arborea (candahar)LamiaceaeOther
Hevea brasiliensis (rubber)EuphorbiaceaeOther
Luffa aegyptiaca (loofah)CucurbitaceaeOther
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeOther
Musa spp.MusaceaeOther
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeMain
Pinus caribaea (Caribbean pine)PinaceaeOther
Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeMain
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeOther
Swietenia macrophylla (big leaved mahogany)MeliaceaeMain
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeOther

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number of M. umbellata is 2n = 28,30 (Elias, 1967; Jones, 1968).

Reproductive Biology

M. umbellata is a perennial vine, reproducing mainly by seed, but not much information is available on its reproductive biology. The flowers apparently remain open throughout the day (Standley and Williams, 1970). In Sri Lanka, they are visited by the bee Systropha tropicalis (Halictidae) (Karunaratne et al., 2005).

The gardening website Sunshine Seeds (2016) recommends soaking the seeds 24 h in lukewarm water before sowing, which suggests that they may have physical dormancy as many other Convolvulaceae. The sowing depth is ca. 1 cm, and the germination temperature is 22˗25°C. The seeds germinate within 2˗4 weeks (Sunshine Seeds, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

In Central America, this species flowers and fruits from November to May (McDonald, 1993; Austin et al., 2012). In Puerto Rico the flowering and fruiting period occurs from October to April (Axelrod, 2011), whereas in Florida it extends to July (Austin, 1979). In Andhra Pradesh, India, this species flowers from February to April (Reddy et al., 2015). Given the right conditions, M. umbellata will produce abundant foliage and flowers throughout the year.

Longevity

M. umbellata is a perennial plant (Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1963; Smith, 1991; Austin et al., 2012).

Associations

M. umbellata is host of a number of phytophagous insects including the tortoise beetles (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) Acromis sparsa, Aspidimorpha furcata, Chelymorpha alternans, Agroiconota propinqua, Charidotella zona, Charidotella puella and Laccoptera foveolata (Bael et al., 2009a; Ghate et al., 2003; Maes et al., 2016). Larvae and adults of these beetles obtain chemical defense against predators and parasitoids by feeding on this and other species of Convolvulaceae (Cuignet et al., 2008). The moths Lygropia tripunctata ("sweetpotato leafroller", Crambidae), Agrius cingulatus ("pink˗spotted hawkmoth", Sphingidae), Adaina ipomoeae (Pterophoridae) and Hellinsia devriesi (Pterophoridae), whose larvae also feed on Convolvulaceae, have also been reported on this species (Hansen, 1988; Bendicho˗López, 1998; Gielis, 2011).

The seed beetles Spermophagus cornutus and S. insularis (Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae) have been described from M. umbellata susbp. orientalis in Vietnam (Delobel, 2008). As its generic name implies, the species of this Old world genus feed on seeds, almost exclusively of Convolvulaceae.and Malvaceae species (Delobel, 2008; Kergoat et al., 2015).

At least 175 morphospecies of endophytic fungi have been isolated from leaves of M. umbellata in Panama (Bael, 2009a).

Environmental Requirements

M. umbellata is a sun species that tolerates a wide range of conditions throughout its range (Austin, 1979) including partial shade, dry or poor soils. It prefers well˗drained soils.

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
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)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
29 28

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 2
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 17 30
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 22 34
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 12 24

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Acromis sparsa Herbivore Leaves not specific
Adaina ipomoeae Herbivore Leaves not specific
Agrius cingulatus Herbivore Leaves not specific
Agroiconota propinqua Herbivore Leaves not specific
Aspidimorpha furcata Herbivore Leaves not specific
Charidotella puella Herbivore Leaves not specific
Charidotella zona Herbivore Leaves not specific
Chelymorpha alternans Herbivore Leaves not specific
Hellinsia devriesi Herbivore Leaves not specific
Laccoptera foveolata Herbivore Leaves not specific
Lygropia tripunctata Herbivore Leaves not specific
Spermophagus cornutus Predator Seeds to species
Spermophagus insularis Predator Seeds to species
Tetranychus ludeni Herbivore Leaves not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Several species of tortoise beetles and moth larvae (see Associations, in the Biology and Ecology section) feed on the leaves of M. umbellata (Ghate et al., 2003; Maes et al., 2016). The phytophagous spider mite Tetranychus ludeni (Acari: Tetranychidae) has also been reported on this species (Ochoa et al., 1991). The bruchid seed beetles Spermophagus cornutus and S. insularis, were described from fruits of M. umbellata susbp. orientalis in Vietnam (Delobel, 2008).

In Gamboa, Panama, M. umbellata is often exploited by leaf-cutting ants (Bael et al., 2009b).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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M. umbellata propagates from seeds whose dispersal might be dependent on man to some extent (Croat, 1978). The seeds are lightweight and might also be dispersed by wind (Croat, 1978). It can also propagate by cuttings (Sunshine Seeds, 2016).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosCultivated in the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Yes Yes Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 2016
HorticultureCultivated in botanic gardens and home gardens Yes Yes Sunshine Seeds, 2016
Internet salesSeeds sold online Yes Yes Sunshine Seeds, 2016
Ornamental purposesIntroduced as an ornamental in several countries Yes Yes Smith, 1991
Seed tradeSeeds sold online Yes Yes Sunshine Seeds, 2016

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
MailSeeds are sold online Yes Yes Sunshine Seeds, 2016

Economic Impact

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Several species of tortoise beetles and moth larvae (see Associations, in the Biology and Ecology section) feed on the leaves of M. umbellata (Ghate et al., 2003; Maes et al., 2016). The phytophagous spider mite Tetranychus ludeni (Acari: Tetranychidae) has also been reported on this species (Ochoa et al., 1991). The bruchid seed beetles Spermophagus cornutus and S. insularis, were described from fruits of M. umbellata susbp. orientalis in Vietnam (Delobel, 2008).

In Gamboa, Panama, M. umbellata is often exploited by leaf-cutting ants (Bael et al., 2009b).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

M. umbellata is a fast growing vine that crawls over the ground or climbs up herbs, shrubs and trees, often forming dense mats or curtains that can smother or prevent the growth of other plants (Powell, 1989). Phenolic compounds extracted from M. umbellata subsp. orientalis in China showed inhibitory effects on the germination of seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana, suggesting that this species possesses allelopathic action as a competition mechanism (Yan et al., 2010).

Impact on Biodiversity

M. umbellata is one of the vines that negatively affect the natural regeneration of the endemic reed bamboo (Ochlandra travancorica and O. wightii) in the Western Ghats of India (Gopakumar and Motwani, 2013).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • 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
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition - strangling
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value

M. umbellata is cultivated as an ornamental climber for its showy yellow (or white) flowers, and has been introduced in several countries for this purpose (Austin, 1979; Smith, 1991). Its seeds are sold on at least ten different gardening websites (e.g. Sunshine Seeds, 2016; Top Tropicals, 2016). Arellano Rodríguez et al. (2003) report it as a melliferous plant (one that can be used by insects for producing honey) in Yucatán, Mexico.

A study using the ethanolic extract obtained from leaves revealed significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in mice (Castro˗Guerrero et al., 2013). A different study showed antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Rivera et al., 2015).

Social Benefit

M. umbellata is commonly used as a medicinal plant throughout its distribution range. In Asia, the pounded leaves are used as a poultice for wounds, burns and sores (Van Oorststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Quattrocchi, 2012; Oyen, 2013). The poultice of leaves mixed with curcuma powder is used to heal cracks in the soles of the feet. The infusion of young leaves is applied to clean wounds and ulcers (Quattrocchi, 2012). The roots are used as a laxative/purgative (Quattrocchi, 2012; Oyen, 2013), and the flowers are used to treat eye diseases (Quattrocchi, 2012). In India, the decoction of the plant is used as diuretic, and to treat rheumatism and headaches (Flowers of India, 2016). The powder of leaves is sniffed to treat epilepsy, and a paste made of root powder mixed with "Java flour" (coffee flour) is applied to swellings. The mucilage obtained from the seeds soaked in water is used in cutaneous diseases (Flowers of India, 2016).

In West Africa, in addition to many of the above uses, M. umbellata has been used to treat paralyses, spasms and convulsions (Burkill, 1985). In Palau, this species has been used for fever (Defilipps et al. 1988).

The young leaves may be eaten as a vegetable (Van Oorststroom and Hoogland, 1953; Martin and Ruberté,1979; Defilipps et al. 1988; Oyen, 2013). The flexible, tough stems have been used in Central America to hang tobacco for drying, and the sap has been used for coagulating Castilla rubber latex (Standley and Williams, 1970). In the Yucatán Península of Mexico, M. umbellata is used as forage for cattle, goats and horses (Arellano Rodríguez et al., 2003).

Environmental Services

M. umbellata provides chemical defense to several species of beetles and moth larvae that feed on this species. The flowers are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds (Dave's Garden, 2016). This species is also consumed by the green iguana (Iguana iguana) in Panama (Rand et al., 1990).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Fibre

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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About 100 species of Merremia occur worldwide and several other species are weedy (Staples, 2010). Most of these have much smaller, or deeply divided or digitately compund leaves. In the New World, M. umbellata can be easily distinguished by its simple leaves and the bright yellow flowers arranged in umbellate inflorescences. Those which might be confused include the following Old World species:

  • Merremia peltata is distributed in Africa and Southeast Asia including many islands in the Pacific where it is considered invasive (Staples, 2010). It differs in having larger, almost round, peltate leaves, up to 25 cm long, and larger flowers with sepals over 15 mm, corolla (white or yellow) 5-6 cm long.
  • Merremia bracteata, a newly described species known only from the Solomon Islands (Bacon, 1982), is also a more robust plant with stems up to 20 m, cordate leaves about 25 cm long and yellow flowers 5 cm long, distinguished especially by the presence of bracts surrounding the flowers, up to 3 cm long (absent in M. peltata and M. pacifica and minute in M. umbellata).
  • Merremia pacifica, found in several islands in the Pacific, and troublesome on the Solomon Islands, is close to M. umbellata in size of leaves and flowers but has a rugose leaf texture and pure white flowers. It is restricted in distribution, known only from Fiji and a few other islands, including New Georgia, Kolombangara and Gizo (Bacon, 1982).

Additionally, Staples (2010) notes that certain small˗flowered forms of M. umbellata from Southeast Asia intergrade with the Asian M. bambusetorum and M. kingii and as result the distinction between these three species is sometimes difficult.

Prevention and Control

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Cultural Control

There have been few reports on the control of M. umbellata but various methods have been suggested for other Merremia species (M. peltata, M. pacifica and M. bracteata) in the Solomon Islands. Cover crops have been suggested as a possible method for control in forestry plantations although the economics of this are not discussed (Neil, 1982f). Merremia species can be palatable to livestock and may also be kept in check through grazing though there is evidence that cattle may also damage trees (Neil, 1982e). Regimes for managing both the weed and the emerging plantations have been documented (Neil, 1982e). The usual control practice is to cut the emerging Merremia using long-bladed knives but this practice is labour-intensive and can easily damage establishing plants. Fire has been traditionally employed for clearing gardens for food production in the Solomon Islands and so-called 'prescribed burning' has been recommended for clearing areas prior to forest plantation establishment (Neil, 1982d). In forestry plantations, tree spacing is thought to influence the rates of weed ingress and an integrated silvicultural approach can provide acceptable levels of control (Chaplin, 1985).

Chemical Control

In rice, Colon and Almarales (1985) achieved temporary control of M. umbellata in dry-sown rice with post-emergence application of thiobencarb or propanil and more prolonged control with a mixture of propanil plus oxadiazon. In forestry, Nazif (1992) tested triclopyr, picloram plus 2,4-D, fluroxypyr and glyphosate and obtained best results with glyphosate. Barnes and Chan (1990) suggest control by various combinations of MSMA or DSMA with diuron and 2,4-D or paraquat.

In work with other species on Solomon Islands, early reports indicated that Merremia (M. peltata, M. pacifica and M. bracteata) showed some resistance to growth-regulating herbicides, but rigorous field testing has revealed that this is not the case (Bacon, 1981; Neil, 1982c). A wide range of inexpensive and widely available herbicides provide efficient control of Merremia. Those reported as giving best control include: 2,4-D and ioxynil; MCPA; 2,4-D butyl ester; 2,4-D dimethylamine salt; triclopyr; triclopyr + picloram; glyphosate; and dicamba. These herbicides provide effective control at a range of commercially recommended dose rates (Bacon, 1981; Lamb, 1975; Neil, 1982c). Granular applications are not practical at field level but low volume applications have provided effective control (Neil, 1982b).

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04/09/2016 Updated by:

Dr. Fabiola Areces-Berazain, Herbarium UPRRP, University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras

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