Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Ageratum conyzoides
(billy goat weed)

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Datasheet

Ageratum conyzoides (billy goat weed)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ageratum conyzoides
  • Preferred Common Name
  • billy goat weed
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • A. conyzoides is an annual erect herb reported as an invasive, noxious weed in agricultural lands and as a coloniser of open fields and degraded areas, causing crop yield reductions and affecting biodiversity (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
A. conyzoides seedlings.
TitleSeedlings
CaptionA. conyzoides seedlings.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
A. conyzoides seedlings.
SeedlingsA. conyzoides seedlings.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
A. conyzoides is an erect, branching, annual herb with shallow, fibrous roots. The branched, terminal or axillary inflorescence bears 4-18 flower heads arranged in showy, flat-topped clusters.
TitleFlowering shoot
CaptionA. conyzoides is an erect, branching, annual herb with shallow, fibrous roots. The branched, terminal or axillary inflorescence bears 4-18 flower heads arranged in showy, flat-topped clusters.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
A. conyzoides is an erect, branching, annual herb with shallow, fibrous roots. The branched, terminal or axillary inflorescence bears 4-18 flower heads arranged in showy, flat-topped clusters.
Flowering shootA. conyzoides is an erect, branching, annual herb with shallow, fibrous roots. The branched, terminal or axillary inflorescence bears 4-18 flower heads arranged in showy, flat-topped clusters. ©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
A. conyzoides inflorescences.
TitleInflorescences
CaptionA. conyzoides inflorescences.
Copyright©Colin Wilson
A. conyzoides inflorescences.
InflorescencesA. conyzoides inflorescences.©Colin Wilson
Leaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Leaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). The leaves of A. conyzoides are opposite, 20-100 mm long, 5-50 mm wide, on hairy petioles 5-75 mm long, broadly ovate, with a rounded or narrowed acute base and an acute or obtuse or sometimes acuminate tip and toothed margins.
TitleLeaves
CaptionLeaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Leaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). The leaves of A. conyzoides are opposite, 20-100 mm long, 5-50 mm wide, on hairy petioles 5-75 mm long, broadly ovate, with a rounded or narrowed acute base and an acute or obtuse or sometimes acuminate tip and toothed margins.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Leaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Leaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). The leaves of A. conyzoides are opposite, 20-100 mm long, 5-50 mm wide, on hairy petioles 5-75 mm long, broadly ovate, with a rounded or narrowed acute base and an acute or obtuse or sometimes acuminate tip and toothed margins.
LeavesLeaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Leaves of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). The leaves of A. conyzoides are opposite, 20-100 mm long, 5-50 mm wide, on hairy petioles 5-75 mm long, broadly ovate, with a rounded or narrowed acute base and an acute or obtuse or sometimes acuminate tip and toothed margins.©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Inflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Inflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). Individual flower heads of A. conyzoides are light blue, white or violet, carried on 50-150 mm long peduncles, and are 5 mm across, 4-6 mm long with 60-75 tubular flowers. The flower head is surrounded by two or three rows of oblong bracts which are green with pale or reddish-violet tops.
TitleInflorescences
CaptionInflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Inflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). Individual flower heads of A. conyzoides are light blue, white or violet, carried on 50-150 mm long peduncles, and are 5 mm across, 4-6 mm long with 60-75 tubular flowers. The flower head is surrounded by two or three rows of oblong bracts which are green with pale or reddish-violet tops.
Copyright©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK
Inflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Inflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). Individual flower heads of A. conyzoides are light blue, white or violet, carried on 50-150 mm long peduncles, and are 5 mm across, 4-6 mm long with 60-75 tubular flowers. The flower head is surrounded by two or three rows of oblong bracts which are green with pale or reddish-violet tops.
InflorescencesInflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b).|Inflorescences of Ageratum conyzoides (a) and A. houstonianum (b). Individual flower heads of A. conyzoides are light blue, white or violet, carried on 50-150 mm long peduncles, and are 5 mm across, 4-6 mm long with 60-75 tubular flowers. The flower head is surrounded by two or three rows of oblong bracts which are green with pale or reddish-violet tops. ©Chris Parker/Bristol, UK

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ageratum conyzoides L.

Preferred Common Name

  • billy goat weed

Other Scientific Names

  • Ageratum album Willd. Ex Steud.
  • Ageratum arsenei B.L.Rob.
  • Ageratum ciliare L.
  • Ageratum conyzoides var hirtum (Lam.) DC.
  • Ageratum cordifolium Roxb.
  • Ageratum hirsutum Lam.
  • Ageratum hirtum Lam.
  • Ageratum humile Salisb.
  • Ageratum iltisii R.M.King & H.Rob
  • Ageratum latifolium Cav.
  • Ageratum microcarpum (Benth.) Hemsl.
  • Ageratum muticum Griseb.
  • Ageratum nanum Hort. Ex Sch. Bip.
  • Ageratum obtusifolium Lam.
  • Ageratum odoratum Vilm.
  • Ageratum suffruiticosum Regal
  • Alomia microcarpa (Benth.) B.L.Rob.
  • Cacalia mentrasto Vell.
  • Caelestina microcarpa Benth. ex Oerst.
  • Caelestina suffruticosa Sweet
  • Carelia brachystephana (Regel) Kuntze
  • Carelia conyzoides (L.) Kuntze
  • Carelia mutica (Griseb.) Kuntze
  • Eupatorium conyzoides (L.) E.H.Krause
  • Eupatorium paleaceum Sessé & Moc.
  • Sparganophorus obtusifolius Lag.

International Common Names

  • English: blue flowered groundsel; blue top; goat weed; mother brinkley; tropical ageratum; white weed; winter weed
  • Spanish: barba de chivo; catinga de bode; chuva; hierba del perro; hierba del zorro; hierbe de chivo
  • French: azier francois; baume blanc; baume mauve; bouton; bouton blan; bouton ble; eupatoire bleue; herbe a femme; herbe a pisser; herbe a sorcier; herbe de bouc; pain doux; petit pain doux; zerisson blanc
  • Chinese: hou xiang ji

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: agerato; camará apeba; camará iapó; camará japê; camara opela; catinga de barao; catingo do bode; erva de Santa Lucia; erva de Santa Maria; erva de Sao Joao; erva de Sao Jose; macela francesa; maria preta; mentrasto; pica roxo
  • Colombia: manrubio
  • Cuba: celestina azul; celestina blanca; lora; moratoria
  • Dominican Republic: rompezaragüey; yerba de chivo
  • East Africa: adwolo; gathenge (Kikuyu); kimavi cha kuku (Kiswahili)
  • El Salvador: hierba de perro; mejorana
  • Fiji: botekoro; mata mothemothe; mbotembotekoro; sogovanua; sogovanua; songovanua
  • French Guiana: azier francois; ponclit; radie francois; raguet-francois
  • French Polynesia: maire vaihi; miri
  • Gambia: gobu; jambo-serila
  • Germany: Leberbalsam, Dürrwurzähnlicher
  • Ghana: efoe momoe
  • Guam: mumutung
  • Guatemala: flor noble; mejoran chaparro; mejorana
  • Honduras: cola de alacrán; flor azul; garrapata; hierba de pollo; mozotillo; verbena
  • India: gundhaubon; mahakaua; neela phulnu
  • Indonesia: babadota; bandotan; berokan; dus-bedusan; wedusan
  • Italy: agerato; celestina
  • Japan: kakkoazami
  • Malaysia: herbe de bouc; rumput pereh jarang; rumput sekedok; ruput tahi-ayam; tahi anjing
  • Mauritius: herbe de bouc
  • Micronesia, Federated states of: amshiip; olloowaisiip; ololopon; omusiip; opolopon; oponupon; pokaniko; pwisehnkou; uárong nga lípesedj
  • Nauru: bwiyat tsige; bwiyat ziege
  • Netherlands: ageratum
  • Nigeria: imiesu; tamasondji bata
  • Niue: sekose sea; tekote tea
  • Palau: agmak; ngmak
  • Peru: huarmi
  • Philippines: asipukpuk; bahu-bahu; bahug-bahug; budbuda; bulak-manok; kakalding; kamabuag; kolokong-kabanyo; kulong-kogong-babae; singilan
  • Puerto Rico: mentastro; yerba de cabrío
  • Samoa: tae’oti
  • South Africa: bokkruid; indringer-ageratum; invading ageratum
  • Suriname: bokkeruid; bokki boontje; boko-boko-wiwiri; weti hedem; wetie ete; wit ede
  • Taiwan: hwo-hsiang-ji
  • Thailand: saapkaa; thiam mae haang; ya-sap-raeng; ya-tabsua
  • Tonga: te’ehosi
  • Uganda: nnamirembe
  • USA: kamabuag; tropic ageratum,
  • USA/Hawaii: maile hohono; maile honohono; maile kula
  • Vietnam: co cut-heo
  • Zambia: kabalakila; kafwaya; nthongola; ntongola
  • Zimbabwe: jerimani; nyani

EPPO code

  • AGECO (Ageratum conyzoides)

Summary of Invasiveness

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A. conyzoides is an annual erect herb reported as an invasive, noxious weed in agricultural lands and as a coloniser of open fields and degraded areas, causing crop yield reductions and affecting biodiversity (Kohli et al., 2006; GISD, 2016; PIER, 2016). It is also a host of pathogens and nematodes that affect crop species (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016). It is listed as invasive throughout Asia; in Kenya, Mayotte, Morocco, Reunion, Tanzania, South Africa and Uganda in Africa; California (USA) in North America; Cuba in the Caribbean; Easter Island in South America; and in much of Oceania (Oviedo-Prieto et al., 2012; BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016; Encylopedia of Life, 2016; GISD, 2016; PIER, 2016). It is also known to be invasive in Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Ageratum
  •                                 Species: Ageratum conyzoides

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Ageratum comes from the Greek “a”, not, and “geras”, old age, in reference to the flowers lasting for a long time (Johnson, 1971). Ageratum ranges from Southeastern North America to Central America, but the centre of origin is in Central America and the Caribbean. A. conyzoides is the species designated by Linnaeus as the type for the genus (Johnson, 1971). The epithet conyzoides refers to the species' resemblance to the genus Conyza (Encyclopedia of Life, 2016).

Johnson (1971) recognized two subspecies of A. conyzoides between which there is a genetic barrier to cross fertilization. Although both are natives of South and Central America, the tetraploid (2 n = 40) A. conyzoides (L.) subsp. conyzoides, has been introduced as a weed pantropically. The diploid A. conyzoides (L.) subsp. latifolium (Cav.) M.F. Johnson is restricted to the Americas and some Caribbean Islands. 

The plant has a rank smell, likened in Australia to that of a male goat, hence the common name billy goat weed.

Description

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A. conyzoides is an erect, branching, annual herb with shallow, fibrous roots. It may, depending upon environmental conditions, reach 50-1500 mm tall at flowering. The stems, which may root where the bases touch the ground, are cylindrical, and become strong and woody with age; nodes and young parts of the stem are covered with short, white hairs. Leaves are opposite, 20-100 mm long, 5-50 mm wide, on hairy petioles 5-75 mm long, broadly ovate, with a rounded or narrowed acute base and an acute or obtuse or sometimes acuminate tip and toothed margins. Both leaf surfaces are sparsely hairy, rough with prominent veins and when crushed the leaves have a characteristic odour which is reminiscent of the male goat. The branched, terminal or axillary inflorescence bears 4-18 flower heads arranged in showy, flat-topped clusters. Individual flower heads are light blue, white or violet, are carried on 50-150 mm long peduncles and are 5 mm across, 4-6 mm long with 60-75 tubular flowers. The flower head is surrounded by two or three rows of oblong bracts which are green with pale or reddish-violet tops. The bracts are 3-5 mm high, outer ones 0.5-1.75 mm wide, sparsely hairy, evenly toothed in the upper part, with an abruptly acuminate, acute tip. Flowers are 1.5-3 mm long and scarcely protrude above the bracts. The fruit is a ribbed or angled, black achene, 1.25-2 mm long, roughly hairy, with a pappus of 5, rarely 6, rough bristles, white to cream coloured, 1.5-3 mm long with upward turning spines.

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

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Native to South and Central America, A. conyzoides is a common pantropical weed that can extend into subtropical and temperate zones where it grows during the summer or as an ornamental (Encyclopedia of Life, 2016; Greuter, 2016). Its native range is not clear, but includes parts of South and Central America and probably the West Indies (Johnson, 1971; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; PROTA; 2016). It has been recognized as an ornamental and in cultivated crops in Europe since before 1697 (Johnson, 1971). The species is now found in Asia, Africa, North America, Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe and Oceania (See Distribution Table for details; Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; PROTA, 2016; PIER, 2016; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). Its distribution is perhaps more extensive than currently published because the species is also used as an ornamental. Some records of A. conyzoides, for example in the USA, are probably escapes from cultivation.

Distribution Table

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

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AngolaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
BeninPresentIntroducedAhanchede and Gasquez (1997)
BotswanaPresentIntroducedWells et al. (1986)
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Royal Museum for Central Africa (2016)
BurundiPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Cabo VerdePresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
CameroonPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Holm et al. (1979); CABI (Undated)
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
ComorosPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Royal Museum for Central Africa (2016)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Holm et al. (1979)
EgyptPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); CABI (Undated)
Equatorial GuineaPresentIntroducedAdams (1963)
EswatiniPresentIntroducedGrabandt (1985)
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); Holm et al. (1979)
GabonPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
GambiaPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Jones (1994)
GhanaPresentIntroducedAdams (1963)
GuineaPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Holm et al. (1979)
KenyaPresentIntroducedInvasiveBioNET-EAFRINET (2016); Holm et al. (1979)
LiberiaPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Holm et al. (1979)
MadagascarPresentIntroducedMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
MalawiPresent, WidespreadIntroducedInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); Holm et al. (1979); Banda and Morris (1985); CABI (Undated)
MaliPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Holm et al. (1979)
MauritiusPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); McIntyre (1991); PIER (2016)
-RodriguesPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
MayottePresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
MoroccoPresentIntroducedInvasiveCABI (Undated)Original citation: Royal Museum for Central Africa (2016)
MozambiquePresentIntroducedJOHNSON (1971); Grabandt (1985)
NigeriaPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Holm et al. (1979); Enyinnia (1992)
RéunionPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
RwandaPresentInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); JOHNSON (1971)
Saint HelenaPresentIntroducedReed (1977)
São Tomé and PríncipePresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
SenegalPresentIntroducedAdams (1963); Berhaut (1967); Holm et al. (1979)
SeychellesPresentIntroducedRobertson (1989)
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedAdams (1963)
South AfricaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Grabandt (1985); CABI (Undated)
SudanPresentIntroducedBebawi and Neugebohrn (1991)
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedInvasiveBioNET-EAFRINET (2016); Holm et al. (1979); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
TogoPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
UgandaPresentIntroducedLIND and TALLANTIRE (1962); Holm et al. (1979); BioNET-EAFRINET (2016)
ZambiaPresentInvasiveWitt and Luke (2017); CABI (Undated)
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Drummond (1984)

Asia

BangladeshPresentIntroducedInvasiveGISD (2016)
BhutanPresent, WidespreadIntroducedParker (1992)
British Indian Ocean Territory
-Chagos ArchipelagoPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)Diego Garcia Island
BruneiPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1993); GISD (2016)
CambodiaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Waterhouse (1993); PIER (2016)
ChinaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Wang (1990)
-AnhuiPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-FujianPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedLiang and Huang (1994); Flora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedPu et al. (1990); Flora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
-GuizhouPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-HainanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-HebeiPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
-HenanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016); Naturalized
-HunanPresentIntroducedZhou et al. (1994)
-JiangsuPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-JiangxiPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-ShaanxiPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-SichuanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-YunnanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)Naturalized
-ZhejiangPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationNativeFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016)
GeorgiaPresent, Few occurrencesIntroducedGreuter (2016)adventitious (casual)
Hong KongPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
IndiaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); IRRI (1989)
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedSalam (1991)
-Andhra PradeshPresentIntroducedMahmood (1990)
-AssamPresentIntroducedSaikia and Sarma (1996)
-BiharPresentIntroducedRafey and Prasad (1995)
-GujaratPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
-Himachal PradeshPresentIntroducedAngiras and Rana (1995)
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedSridhara et al. (1995)
-KeralaPresentIntroducedKamalam Joseph and Bridgit (1993)
-Madhya PradeshPresentIntroducedSingh and Bajpai (1994); Agrawal et al. (1995)
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedGhate (1991)
-ManipurPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
-MeghalayaPresentIntroducedCABI (Undated)Original citation: Raj and Singh Patel (1992)
-NagalandPresentIntroducedSharma et al. (1994)
-OdishaPresentIntroducedMishra and Bhol (1996)
-PunjabPresentIntroducedCheema (1991)
-SikkimPresentIntroducedSingh (1992)
-Tamil NaduPresentIntroducedRajamani et al. (1992)
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroducedSingh and Ram (1990)
-West BengalPresentIntroducedKabir et al. (1991)
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); IRRI (1989); Waterhouse (1993); PIER (2016)
-JavaPresentIntroducedEveraarts (1981)
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
-Maluku IslandsPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
-SulawesiPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
-SumatraPresentIntroducedNasution (1984)
JapanPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
-Bonin IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
-Ryukyu IslandsPresentIntroducedReed (1977)
JordanPresentIntroducedGreuter (2016)
LaosPresentIntroducedIRRI (1989); Waterhouse (1993); Roder et al. (1997)
LebanonPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
MalaysiaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedBarnes and Chandapillai (1972); IRRI (1989); Waterhouse (1993)
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
-SabahPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
-SarawakPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
MaldivesPresentIntroducedPIER (2016)
MyanmarPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1993)
NepalPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Ranjit and Bhattarai (1988); IRRI (1989); Poudyal and Adhikari (2013)
North KoreaPresentIntroducedInvasiveGISD (2016)Established
PakistanPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
PhilippinesPresent, WidespreadIntroducedPancho et al. (1969); Moody et al. (1984); IRRI (1989); Waterhouse (1993)
Saudi ArabiaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)
SingaporePresentIntroducedInvasiveChong et al. (2009); Waterhouse (1993)
South KoreaPresentIntroducedKang et al. (1996)
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); IRRI (1989); Scheldeman et al. (1995)
TaiwanPresentIntroducedNaturalizedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2016); Holm et al. (1979)Cultivated and naturalized
ThailandPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); IRRI (1989); Waterhouse (1993); PIER (2016)
VietnamPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); IRRI (1989); Waterhouse (1993); PIER (2016)

Europe

Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGreuter (2016)
BulgariaPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedGreuter (2016)
FrancePresentIntroducedReed (1977)
ItalyPresent, Few occurrencesIntroducedGreuter (2016)adventitious (casual)
PortugalPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedPROTA (2016)An occasional garden escape
SpainPresentIntroducedGISD (2016)
SwedenPresentIntroducedGISD (2016)
United KingdomPresent, Only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPROTA (2016)

North America

AnguillaPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
BahamasPresentIntroducedJOHNSON (1971)
BarbadosPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
BelizePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)
British Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Cayman IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasiveOviedo Prieto et al. (2012); Holm et al. (1979); Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
DominicaPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Holm et al. (1979)
El SalvadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Holm et al. (1979)Ahuachapán, La Libertad, Santa Ana
GrenadaPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
GuatemalaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); JOHNSON (1971)Alta Verapaz, Chiqumula, Escuintla, Huehuetenango, Izabal, Jalapa, Jutiapa, Petén, Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu, Sacatepéquez, San Marcos, Santa Rosa, Sololá, Sichitequepéz, Zacapa.
HaitiPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); JOHNSON (1971)
HondurasPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); JOHNSON (1971)Comayagua, Francisco Morazán, Gracias a Dios, La Paz, Ocotepeque
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
MartiniquePresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
MexicoPresent, WidespreadNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); JOHNSON (1971)Chiapas, Chihuahua, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatán
MontserratPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
Netherlands AntillesPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
NicaraguaPresent, WidespreadNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Holm et al. (1979)Atlántico Norte, Atlántio Sur, Boaco, Carazo, Chinandega, Chontales, Estelí, Jinotega, León, Madriz, Managua, Masaya, Matagalpa, Nueva Segovia, Río San Juan
PanamaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); JOHNSON (1971)Bocas del Toro, Canal Area, Chiriquí, Coclé, Darién, Panamá
Puerto RicoPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); JOHNSON (1971)Vieques
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
Saint LuciaPresentNativePROTA (2016)
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedFournet and Hammerton (1991)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedKasasian (1964); Holm et al. (1979); Fournet and Hammerton (1991)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentNativeAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012); PIER (2004)St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas
United StatesPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
-AlabamaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004); Diamond (2015)
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004); PIER (2016)
-ConnecticutPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004)
-FloridaPresentIntroducedReed (1977)
-GeorgiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004)
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016); Holm et al. (1979)Invasive in Hawai’i, Kaho’olawe, Kaua’i, Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’I, Ni’ihau and O’ahu Islands
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-LouisianaPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2016)
-MarylandPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004)
-MississippiPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004)
-MissouriPresentIntroducedUSDA-NRCS (2004)
-North CarolinaPresentIntroducedReed (1977)

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997)
AustraliaPresentIntroducedHolm et al. (1979)
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedAuld and Medd (1992)
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedAuld and Medd (1992)
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedAuld and Medd (1992); PIER (2016)
Christmas IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997)
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)Invasive in Puluwat Atoll, Kosrae and Pohnpei Islands
FijiPresent, WidespreadIntroducedParham (1958); Holm et al. (1979); Waterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
GuamPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
KiribatiPresentIntroducedGISD (2016)
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)Also cultivated
NauruPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
New CaledoniaPresent, WidespreadIntroducedWaterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
NiuePresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
Norfolk IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)Agrigan, Alamagan, Anatahan, Guguan, Pagan and Sarigan Islands
PalauPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)Angaur, Babeldaob,Koror, Malakal, Ngerkebesang and Ngchus Islands.
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997)
SamoaPresentIntroducedWhistler (1983); Sauerborn and Sauerborn (1984); Waterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997); GISD (2016)
TongaPresentIntroducedWhistler (1983); Waterhouse (1997); PIER (2016)
VanuatuPresentIntroducedWaterhouse (1997)
Wallis and FutunaPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); JOHNSON (1971)Corrientes, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Tucumán
BoliviaPresentNativeGonzales and Webb (1989); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
BrazilPresentNativeHolm et al. (1979)
-AcrePresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2016)
-AlagoasPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-AmapaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2016)
-AmazonasPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-BahiaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-CearaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Fernando de NoronhaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-GoiasPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-MaranhaoPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-ParaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-ParaibaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-ParanaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-PernambucoPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-PiauiPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Rio Grande do NortePresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-RondoniaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-RoraimaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil (2016)
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
-Sao PauloPresent, WidespreadNativeLorenzi (1982)
-SergipePresentNativeLorenzi (1982)
ChilePresentNativeJOHNSON (1971)
-Easter IslandPresentIntroducedInvasivePIER (2016)
ColombiaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Holm et al. (1979)Antioquia, Chocó, Huila, Meta, Nariño, Putumayo, Santander, Valle del Cauca
EcuadorPresentNativeHolm et al. (1979)
French GuianaPresentNativeJOHNSON (1971)
GuyanaPresentNativeJOHNSON (1971)
ParaguayPresent, WidespreadNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016)Amambay, Caazapá, Canindeyú, Central, Cordillera, Guairá, Itapúa, Paraguarí, San Pedro
PeruPresentNativeAlva (1973); Holm et al. (1979); Missouri Botanical Garden (2016)
SurinamePresentNativeHolm et al. (1979)
VenezuelaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden (2016); Holm et al. (1979)Apure, Aragua, Barinas, Bolívar, Distrito Federal, Falcón, Lara, Mérida, Miranda, Sucre, Táchira, Trujillo, Zulia.

History of Introduction and Spread

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A. conyzoides is regarded as the first Ageratum cultivated in Europe, found in Belgium before 1697 (Johnson, 1971). Other early cultivation records are in England (UK) prior to 1714 and in Sweden by 1748 (Johnson, 1971). In was introduced to the Philippines after being carried on galleons sailing from Mexico to Manila (Johnson, 1971).

Although the species had been recorded before the 1940s in East Africa, it appears to have become more common between 1960 and 1980 (Stadler et al., 1998). This regional spread is correlated with intensification in arable agriculture. Early records were restricted to higher altitudes but with the increasing human population and the associated increase of agricultural activities (e.g. irrigation in arid areas) the weed was able to spread to lower altitudes. The weed has also become dominant on upland maize fields in Vietnam as the length of fallows has declined in recent years with increasing population pressure (Wezel, 2000). The spread had been facilitated by the seeds being readily dispersed on clothing or other items of the traveler and garden escapes having established and formed weedy populations in open cultivated areas.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Belgium Before 1697 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Johnson (1971)
Sweden 1748 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Johnson (1971)
UK 1714 Horticulture (pathway cause) No No Johnson (1971)

Risk of Introduction

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A. conyzoides is a pantropical herb with a high risk of introduction.  It is a common, undesirable weed of agricultural lands along most of its introduced range, and also extensively used as an ornamental (GISD, 2016). It is easily transported as a contaminant in grains, soil, clothes and machinery; all facilitating its unintentional introduction and spread (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016). Its use as an ornamental also contributes to the species expanding its range.   

Habitat

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A. conyzoides grows in grasslands, forests, wastelands, clearings, roadsides, riparian zones, wetlands, coastal dunes, degraded pastures and rapidly colonizes cultivated areas on both light and heavy soils (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016; PIER, 2016; PROTA, 2016). It occurs as a major to intermediate weed of frequently disturbed areas, such as vegetables and other cultivated crops, pastures (especially when overgrazed), plantations, orchards and roadsides. It can be found in wide-spaced annual row crops and permanent tree crops. It has a facultative wetland and facultative upland wetland indicator status in the USA (USDA-NRCS, 2016); indicating that the species can occur in wetland and non-wetland areas.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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A. conyzoides is a common weed of plantation crops and overgrazed pastures but can also be found in the important tropical and subtropical annual crops of rainfed or irrigated dryland systems. It has been reported from 36 different crops in 46 countries (Holm et al., 1977).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for A. conyzoides is 2n=40 (PROTA, 2016). DNA barcode information for the species is available at the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS, 2016).  

Reproductive Biology

A. conyzoides has no photoperiodic requirement. It is self-incompatible and pollinated by insects, producing up to 40,000 seeds per plant (GISD, 2016; PROTA, 2016). Seeds are dispersed by wind and water (Baker, 1965). A. conyzoides does not possess any marked dormancy (Sauerborn, 1985) but requires light for germination (Sauerborn et al., 1988) and is therefore unable to germinate when buried below the soil surface. Optimum germination has been noted at 20°C but will occur in the range of 15 to 30°C. The lower limit allows it to thrive at higher altitudes. Seed viability is often lost within 12 months (Marks and Nwachuku, 1986).

Physiology and Phenology

A. conyzoides can complete its life cycle in less than 2 months. Although it can flower when less than two true leaves have expanded, it is more commonly seen in favourable conditions as a well-branched plant up to 90 cm tall with hundreds of flower heads (Holm et al., 1977).

Ecology

A. conyzoides  thrives best in rich, moist, mineral soils, and will not grow in the shade (PROTA, 2016). It grows particularly well where soil fertility is high, with dense populations developing when fertilizer is used (Marnotte, 1984). Although preferring a moist habitat, it also grows in dry areas. The drier and less fertile conditions typical of Pacific atolls do not suit the plant so well (PIER, 2004). It is reported at altitudes from sea level to about 2500 m (PROSEA, 2016). 

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])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
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)
55 43

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 26
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 28 30
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 2 23

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration46number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall5603590mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Summer

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Following a review of natural enemies for A. conyzoides, Waterhouse (1994) provided a long list of insects and pathogens. However, almost all were polyphagous and many were pests of useful plants. Holm et al. (1977) list a number of pathogens and nematodes that have been isolated from A. conyzoides. There is no evidence that these cause significant damage, unlike virus infections, particularly Bidens Mottle Virus (Logan and Zettler, 1984), which can be a problem where A. conyzoides is used for garden bedding. Microcephalothrips abdominalis, which is a vector of the Tobacco Streak Virus, has also been seen affecting A. conyzoides (Sánchez-Monge et al., 2011).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Seeds are dispersed by wind and water (Baker, 1965).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

A.  conyzoides seeds are dispersed on the hairs of animals, and attached to clothes and agricultural machinery (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016).

Accidental Introduction

The species has been reported as a contaminant of garden waste and crops (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016; PROTA, 2016). It is also accidentally dispersed on clothes and agricultural machinery (BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016). In Yunnan, China, density in correlated with distance from roads, suggesting that primary colonization in this area occurs along road margins (GISD, 2016).

Intentional Introduction

A. conyzoides has been reported as introduced as an ornamental plant in some of its range (Johnson, 1971; BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionWeed in agricultural lands Yes PROTA, 2016
DisturbanceWeed of disturbed sites Yes PROTA, 2016
Garden waste disposal Yes Yes BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016
HorticultureIntroduced as an ornamental Yes Yes PROTA, 2016
Internet sales Yes Yes
Medicinal useUsed in ethnobotany over its range Yes Yes PROTA, 2016
Ornamental purposesUsed as an ornamental over its range. Yes Yes PROTA, 2016

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsDispersed by attaching to clothes. Yes BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016
Machinery and equipmentDispersion by attaching to agricultural machinery. Yes BioNET-EAFRINET, 2016
Water Yes Baker, 1965
Wind Yes Baker, 1965

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
True seeds (inc. grain) Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
Fruits (inc. pods)
Growing medium accompanying plants
Leaves
Roots
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
Wood

Wood Packaging

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Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Loose wood packing material
Non-wood
Processed or treated wood
Solid wood packing material with bark
Solid wood packing material without bark

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Animal/plant collections None
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) Negative
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) None
Fisheries / aquaculture None
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna None
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations None
Transport/travel None

Economic Impact

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Holm et al. (1977) consider A. conyzoides and A. houstonianum to be among the commonest weeds in warmer regions of the world. A. conyzoides can be expected to be found as an important weed in all crops in the tropics and subtropics, except in deep shade. It is also a weed of turf in Guangxi Province, China (Ma YueFeng et al., 2002). Year-round flowering (providing soil moisture is adequate) and the production of large quantities of seed allows A. conyzoides to heavily infest crops, often carpeting the soil where conditions are favourable.

In East Africa, Holm et al. (1977) report that A. conyzoides is widespread in arable crops from the coast up to 3125 m. They further list it as an important weed of maize in Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines and Sri Lanka; groundnut in Ghana, Indonesia and Sri Lanka; chillies and upland rice in Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka; cotton in Uganda; tea in Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Mauritius and Sri Lanka; cocoa in Brazil; potatoes in Colombia; oil palm in Nigeria; and over-grazed pasture in Australia, Hawaii and India. A. conyzoides competes with crops as one component of a mixed weed flora.

Roder et al. (1998) demonstrated that upland rice yield is negatively correlated with A. conyzoides density. In agricultural fields of India where A. conyzoides is found as a weed, there is evidence of yield reduction (Kohli et al., 2006). Wesel (2000) also report a reduced crop yield and a high labour input needed for weed management due to A. conyzoides and other weeds in maize fields in Vietnam. Most of the crop yield reduction is reported as due to germination or growth inhibition by allelopathic compouds produced by A. conyzoides and/or by light competition (GISD, 2016). The species is also a seed contaminant in harvested crops (PROTA, 2016).

A. conyzoides is also important as an alternate host of a number of economically important crop pathogens and nematodes, and where fallowing is practised, can provide a source of infection. It is a symptomless carrier of Burkholderia solanacearum [Ralsonia solanacearum], important in potato in India (Sunaina et al., 1989) and is a host of the banana nematodes Radopholus similis and Helicotylenchus multicinctus in Brazil (Zem and Lordello, 1983) and of the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne javanica, in many parts of the world (e.g. Mamaril and Alberto, 1989). It is also the host of the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Tanzania Virus (TYLCTZV) and the Ageratum Yellow Vein Virus (GISD, 2016).

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

A. conyzoides can form monocultures in grasslands, forest, and plantations and fields (Dogra et al., 2009). It is an aggressive short-term colonizer of gaps in vegetation. It can become dominant following overgrazing, a situation reported from Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and Gorumara National Parks in India (Bhowmik et al., 1999; Silori and Mishra, 2001). A. conyzoides can initially dominate as a pioneer where fields are abandoned at shifting cultivation sites in tropical regions.  However, it is rapidly succeeded by pioneer shrub or tree species within a few years (Ohtsuka, 1998). The species is also reported by Dogra et al. (2009) as altering the soil properties by releasing allelochemicals that could inhibit the growth of other species. They also compared the soil composition of areas with native vegetation vs. ones invaded with A. conyzoides, finding a significant increase in organic carbon and other nutrients. They concluded that the increase in soil nutrients and the allelopathic effect promotes the growth of the invasive species.

Impact on Biodiversity

A. conyzoides is one of a number of competitive introduced species which threaten the survival of indigenous species in Hawaii, including Brighamia insignis (Centre for Plant Conservation, 2004). As an alien invader, A. conyzoides is noted to be of special interest in the Kruger National Park in South Africa (National Park Service, 2004). In India, it outcompetes the native grasses in rangelands, causing a shortage of fodder species (Kohli et al., 2006). In the northwestern Himalayas of India, species diversity of areas invaded by A. conyzoides has been drastically affected, with reductions in the number of plant species by 32%, the Margalef’s index of species by 37%, α diversity by 41%, and the evenness index by 15% (Dogra et al., 2009).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Cyanea recta (Kealia cyanea)National list(s); USA ESA listing as threatened speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Cyrtandra limahuliensis (Limahuli cyrtandra)NatureServe; USA ESA listing as threatened speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 1995
Isodendrion longifolium (longleaf isodendrion)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as threatened speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011b
Platydesma rostrataCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Poa mannii (Mann's bluegrass)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Schiedea apokremnos (Kauai schiedea)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010c
Spermolepis hawaiiensis (Hawaii scaleseed)USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010d
Vigna o-wahuensis (Oahu cowpea)EN (IUCN red list: Endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resources; Ecosystem change / habitat alterationUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011a
Wikstroemia villosa.CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered)HawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2012

Social Impact

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Although A. conyzoides is used as a medicinal plant, it is also reported as toxic, capable of producing liver lesions and tumors (GISD, 2016). PROTA (2016) list it as poisonous to vertebrates but without further details. A. conyzoides has been reported as the main reason of a mass poisoning incident in Ethiopia due to grain being contaminated with the species (Encyclopedia of Life, 2016). It can also cause allergic reactions (GISD, 2016).

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
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Loss of medicinal resources
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts human health
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Negatively impacts trade/international relations
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Causes allergic responses
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
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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Social Benefit

Apart from use as a garden ornamental, A. conyzoides plays a role in folk medicine over much of its range, being used to treat a diversity of ailments including skin complaints, cuts, wounds, burns pneumonia, sleeping sickness, stomach ache, malaria, coughs, colds, diarrhoea, as a purgative enema, a painkiller during childbirth and to treat snakebites (Johnson, 1971; PROTA, 2016). It has been reported as having anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties, as well as being attributed magical and superstitious properties by some cultures (PROTA, 2016). Its essential oils are used for treating dandruff and as a hair wash (PROTA, 2016). Although cited as poisonous, it is also used as a fodder for cattle, guinea-pigs, horses and goats (PROTA, 2016).

Environmental Services

Maintaining a ground cover of A. conyzoides in citrus orchards is a valuable component of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of citrus mite as the weed provides refuge for predators of the mites (Zhou et al., 1994). It is also planted as a ground cover in rubber plantations (PROTA, 2016). There is considerable interest in the insecticidal and fungicidal properties of extracts from A. conyzoides, which have shown potential for controlling Dysdercus flavidus, which transmits diseases in cotton in Mauritius, the potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) and the rice disease (Cochliobolus miyabeanus) (Fagoonee and Umrit, 1980; Asthana et al., 1982; Pandey et al., 1982). Bouda et al. (2001) found that essential oils of A. conyzoides were effective as an insecticide for the control of Sitophilus zeamais, the maize grain weevil. It is attacked easily by the nematode Heterodera radicola [Meloidogyne arenaria], and because of that A. conyzoides is suggested to be planted near other susceptible plants (PROTA, 2016).

Uses List

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General

  • Ornamental
  • Ritual uses

Human food and beverage

  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Essential oils
  • Pesticide
  • Poisonous to mammals

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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The closely related species Ageratum houstonianum is often confused in the herbarium or field with A. conyzoides. The habits, fruit and the strong smell of freshly crushed foliage of both species are similar. However, the combination of ovate leaves with cordate bases and narrowly lanceolate, conspicuously pilose involucre bracts with glandular hairs on the gradually acuminate apex distinguishes A. houstonianum. This species also has larger flower heads of 75-100 flowers compared with 60-75 in A. conyzoides. In the former species the styles are clearly visible extending above the line of the involucral bracts, whereas the flowers of A. conyzoides scarcely extend above the involucre. 

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.

Prevention

The species is included in the list of noxious weeds for South Africa, acknowledging it as a prohibited plant that needs to be controlled (BioNet-EAFRINET, 2016).

Control

Cultural control

Short periods of flooding provide effective control in Eucalyptus plantations in India (Paradkar et al., 1998). In field crops in the dry tropics, the density of the weed is reduced by minimum tillage systems (Zelaya et al., 1997).

Mechanical control

A. conyzoides is shallow-rooted and relatively easy to control using mechanical means. As it is a prolific seeder, it is important to destroy plants before they flower. 

Chemical control

A wide range of herbicides have been used to control the weed selectively in major crops. Bentazone, butachlor, 2,4-D, MCPA and oxidiazon are effective treatments in rice (Ampong-Nyarko and de Datta, 1991); nicosulphuron is used in maize (Ferreira et al., 1996); cyanazine, metolachlor, metribuzin and cinmethylin are used in soyabean (de Souza, 1988), acetochlor gives good control in maize (Silva et al., 1986); and atrazine and simazine are used in peaches (Gautam and Chauhan, 1984). Metribuzin provides residual control in tea (Satyanarayana et al., 1981) and terbutryne with ametryne are selective in sugarcane (Reddi et al., 1977). Imazethapyr provides effective control in soybean (Angiras and Rana, 1995).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Research on the quantitative measurements of the impact of the species on biodiversity is recommended (GISD, 2016).

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

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD)http://www.barcodinglife.org
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.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Invasive Species South Africahttp://www.invasives.org.za/

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15/09/2016 Updated by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

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