Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Piper aduncum
(spiked pepper)

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Datasheet

Piper aduncum (spiked pepper)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 February 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Piper aduncum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • spiked pepper
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • P. aduncum is a shade-tolerant shrub and tree native to the West Indies and tropical America. It was both intentionally (as an ornamental species) and accidentally (on packing material) introduced into a number...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); leaves and fruits.
TitleLeaves and fruits
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); leaves and fruits.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); leaves and fruits.
Leaves and fruitsPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); leaves and fruits.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit along drive. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October, 2014.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit along drive. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October, 2014.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit along drive. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October, 2014.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit along drive. Nahiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October, 2014.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. P. aduncum can reach 8m (26').
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. P. aduncum can reach 8m (26').
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. P. aduncum can reach 8m (26').
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. P. aduncum can reach 8m (26').©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing a small tree with a dimater of ca.10cm (ca.4").
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing a small tree with a dimater of ca.10cm (ca.4").
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing a small tree with a dimater of ca.10cm (ca.4").
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing a small tree with a dimater of ca.10cm (ca.4").©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); trunk and bark. Small trees can reach more than 10cm (ca.4") in diameter.
TitleTrunk and bark
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); trunk and bark. Small trees can reach more than 10cm (ca.4") in diameter.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); trunk and bark. Small trees can reach more than 10cm (ca.4") in diameter.
Trunk and barkPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); trunk and bark. Small trees can reach more than 10cm (ca.4") in diameter.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, showing stems which can grow as individual plants or clumps.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. An old logging road densely covered by P. aduncum. East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. November 2008.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. An old logging road densely covered by P. aduncum. East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. November 2008.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. An old logging road densely covered by P. aduncum. East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. November 2008.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit. An old logging road densely covered by P. aduncum. East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. November 2008.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit on logging road. Logging roads provide access for P. aduncum to spread and invade, including into rich, intact forest.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit on logging road. Logging roads provide access for P. aduncum to spread and invade, including into rich, intact forest.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit on logging road. Logging roads provide access for P. aduncum to spread and invade, including into rich, intact forest.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit on logging road. Logging roads provide access for P. aduncum to spread and invade, including into rich, intact forest.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat. Opened landscape is a preferred habitat for P. aduncum to grow and spread.
TitleHabit and habitat
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat. Opened landscape is a preferred habitat for P. aduncum to grow and spread.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat. Opened landscape is a preferred habitat for P. aduncum to grow and spread.
Habit and habitatPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat. Opened landscape is a preferred habitat for P. aduncum to grow and spread.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat, around students dormitory. XTBG, China. March 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat, around students dormitory. XTBG, China. March 2016.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat, around students dormitory. XTBG, China. March 2016.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit and habitat, around students dormitory. XTBG, China. March 2016.©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, spreading along road in XTBG, China. March 2016.
TitleHabit
CaptionPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, spreading along road in XTBG, China. March 2016.
Copyright©Michael Padmanaba
Piper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, spreading along road in XTBG, China. March 2016.
HabitPiper aduncum (spiked pepper); habit, spreading along road in XTBG, China. March 2016.©Michael Padmanaba

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Piper aduncum L.

Preferred Common Name

  • spiked pepper

Other Scientific Names

  • aduncum
  • Artanthe adunca (L.) Miq.
  • Artanthe adunca f. angustifolia Miq.
  • Artanthe cearensis Miq.
  • Artanthe celtidifolia (Kunth) Miq.
  • Artanthe elongata (Vahl) Miq.
  • Artanthe elongata f. brasiliensis Miq.
  • Artanthe elongata f. brasiliensis Miq.
  • Artanthe elongata f. glabrior Miq.
  • Artanthe galeottii Miq.
  • Artanthe galleoti Miq.
  • Artanthe granulosa Miq.
  • Artanthe vellozoana Miq.
  • Piper acutifolium var. membranaceum C. DC.
  • Piper aduncifolium Trel.
  • Piper aduncum var. aduncum
  • Piper aduncum var. laevifolium C. DC.
  • Piper anguillaespicum Trel.
  • Piper cardenasii Trel.
  • Piper celtidifolium Kunth
  • Piper disparispicum Trel.
  • Piper elongatifolium Trel.
  • Piper elongatum Vahl
  • Piper elongatum var. elongatum
  • Piper elongatum var. laevifolium (C. DC.) Trel.
  • Piper elongatum var. pampayacusum Trel.
  • Piper fatoanum C.DC.
  • Piper flavescens (C.DC.) Trel.
  • Piper guanaianum C. DC.
  • Piper herzogii C. DC.
  • Piper intersitum f. porcecitense Trel.
  • Piper kuntzei C. DC.
  • Piper lineatum var. hirtipetiolatum Trel.
  • Piper multinervium M.Martens & Galeotti
  • Piper multinervium var. amplum Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. flavicans Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. hirsuticaule Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. kantelolense Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. paralense Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. peracutum Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. productipes Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. protractifolium Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. puberulipedunculum Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. pubescenticaule Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. skutchii Trel.
  • Piper multinervium var. telanum Trel.
  • Piper nonconformans Trel.
  • Piper oblanceolatum var. fragilicaule Trel.
  • Piper pseudovelutinum var. flavescens C.DC.
  • Piper purpurascens D. Dietr.
  • Piper reciprocum Trel.
  • Piper submolle Trel.
  • Steffensia adunca (L.) Kunth
  • Steffensia angustifolia Kunth
  • Steffensia celtidifolia (Kunth) Kunth
  • Steffensia elongata (Vahl) Kunth

International Common Names

  • English: anisillo; bamboo piper; cow's foot; false kava; false matico; higuillo; jointwood; matico; matico; piper; spiked pepperbush; spiked pepperbush
  • Spanish: cordoncillo; higuillo; higuillo de hoja menuda; higuillo oloroso; matico
  • Portuguese: pimenta-de-macaco

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: aperta-João; aperta-ruao; jaborandi-do-mato; jaborandi-falso; pimenta-do-fruto-ganchoso
  • Cuba: platanillo de Cuba
  • Fiji: yaqona ni Onolulu
  • Germany: Pfefferstrauch, Haken-
  • Mexico: cordoncillo blanco

EPPO code

  • PIPAD (Piper aduncum)

Summary of Invasiveness

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P. aduncum is a shade-tolerant shrub and tree native to the West Indies and tropical America. It was both intentionally (as an ornamental species) and accidentally (on packing material) introduced into a number of countries outside of its native range where it has naturalized and become invasive. P. aduncum is a pioneer species colonising areas of bare ground, with high levels of sunlight. For example, disturbed areas such as roadsides, forest margins and clearings of often colonised. In comparison to other pioneer species, P. aduncum produces a large number of seeds and has rapid growth rates. This gives it a competitive advantage leading to the formation of dense thickets which outcompete native species and decrease biodiversity. P. aduncum also has an impact on the cultivation of P. methysticum (kava) by acting as a host for pests and pathogens and lowering the quality of the crop. Control of this species is difficult and care must be taken to ensure all parts of the root are removed to prevent regrowth.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Piperales
  •                         Family: Piperaceae
  •                             Genus: Piper
  •                                 Species: Piper aduncum

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Piper contains more than 2,000 species of shrubs, climbers and small trees of pantropical distribution (Starr et al., 2003). The genus name Piper comes from the Greek word peperi, meaning pepper, linked to its peppery taste (Wagner et al., 1999). As such P. aduncum (Piperaceae) is commonly known as spiked pepper.

The genus Piper contains a number of invasive species such as P. auritum, however, P. aduncum is considered to be the most invasive (Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014). P. aduncum was first described scientifically in 1753 by Linnaeus but was however, known before then (Hartemink, 2010). More than 50 synonyms for this species are listed (The Plant List, 2013).

Two subspecies of P. aduncum have been reported, P. aduncum var. cordulatum and P. aduncum var. ossanum (The Plant List, 2013). In addition to this, according to GBIF (2016) several varieties of this species are recognised. These include P. aduncum brachyarthrum, P. aduncum cordulatum, P. aduncum laevifolium, P. aduncum garcia-barrigae and P. aduncum laevilimbum (GBIF, 2016).

Description

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The following description is taken from ISSG (2016).

P. aduncum “is a shrub or small tree up to 7 m tall and 10 cm or more in stem diameter, with short silt roots and medium-hard, brittle wood; foliage and twigs aromatic. Can grow as individual plants or in thickets. Branches are erect, but with drooping twigs and swollen, purplish nodes. Leaves alternate, distichous, elliptic, 12-22 cm long, shortly petiolate; lamina scabrid above, with sunken nerves, softly hairy beneath. Inflorescence a leaf-opposed, curved spike on a 12-17 cm peduncle, white to pale yellow, turning green with maturity. Flowers crowded in regular transverse ranks. Perianth absent; usually 4 stamens. Fruit a 1-seeded berry, compressed into greyish, wormlike spikes. Seeds brown to black, 0.7 -1.25 mm long, compressed, with a reticulate surface.”

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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P. aduncum is native to the West Indies and tropical America (PIER, 2016). Countries in its native range include Mexico, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela (Starr et al., 2003).

P. aduncum has also become widely established outside its native range in southern Florida, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Hawaii, Micronesia, American Samoa, Niue, the Marianas, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Palau (Hartemink, 2006). It is also reported as naturalized on the Christmas Islands and Tanzania (Queensland Government, 2016). The distribution of P. aduncum in Southeast Asia is however thought to be wider than reported in the published literature. 

Distribution Table

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

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)WidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
IndonesiaWidespreadIntroduced1860sHartemink, 2006; Yoneda, 2006; Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014; PIER, 2016
-Irian JayaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014
-JavaWidespreadIntroduced1860s Invasive Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014
-KalimantanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014
-MoluccasWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Hartemink, 2006
-SulawesiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Hartemink, 2006
-SumatraWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Yoneda, 2006
MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaWidespreadIntroduced1960s Invasive Hartemink, 2006
PhilippinesWidespreadIntroduced1929 Invasive Hartemink, 2006
SingaporeWidespreadIntroduced2003 Invasive Hartemink, 2006; Tan et al., 2008

Africa

TanzaniaPresentIntroduced Invasive Queensland Government, 2016; Witt and Luke, 2017

North America

MexicoPresentNativePIER, 2016
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Hartemink, 2010
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Hartemink, 2006; PIER, 2016Present on Oahu and Maui Islands

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
BelizePresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
Costa RicaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
CubaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
DominicaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
Dominican RepublicPresentNativeHartemink, 2006
El SalvadorPresentNativePIER, 2016
GrenadaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
GuatemalaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
HondurasPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
JamaicaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
MartiniquePresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
NicaraguaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
PanamaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
Puerto RicoPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeHartemink, 2006

South America

BoliviaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
BrazilPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
ColombiaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
EcuadorPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003Present on Isabela and San Cristóbal islands
French GuianaPresent Natural Starr et al., 2003
GuyanaPresent Natural Starr et al., 2003
PeruPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
SurinamePresentNativeStarr et al., 2003
VenezuelaPresentNativeStarr et al., 2003

Oceania

American SamoaWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
Cook IslandsWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
FijiWidespreadIntroduced1926Hartemink, 2006; PIER, 2016Present on Viti Levu Island
NiueWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
PalauWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
Papua New GuineaWidespreadIntroduced1935 Invasive Hartemink, 2006; PIER, 2016Present on Eastern New Guinea Island
SamoaWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
Solomon IslandsWidespread1969Hartemink, 2006; PIER, 2016Present on Mbanika and Solomon Islands
TongaWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006
VanuatuWidespreadIntroducedHartemink, 2006

History of Introduction and Spread

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The earliest introduction record of P. aduncum in Asia is into Bogor Botanical Garden, West Java, Indonesia in the 1860s for, presumably, ornamental purposes (Rogers and Hartemink, 2000; Hartemink, 2010). By the 1920s, P. aduncum had spread dramatically from this site to a radius of up to 100 km (Hartemink, 2010).

Other records of introductions for this species are into Fiji in 1926 (with packing material), the Philippines in 1929, Papua New Guinea in 1935, Malaysia in the 1960s, the Solomon Islands in 1969 and into Singapore in 2003 (Hartemink, 2010).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Fiji 1920s Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No Hartemink (2010) Introduced on packing materials
Java 1860 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes No Padmanaba and Sheil (2014)
Malaysia 1960s Yes No Hartemink (2010)
Papua New Guinea 1930s Yes No Hartemink (2010)
Philippines 1920s Yes No Hartemink (2010)
Singapore 2003 Yes No Tan et al. (2008)

Risk of Introduction

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P. aduncum may be introduced intentionally into an area for its ornamental and medicinal purposes. However, it is more likely to be accidentally introduced as a contaminant of packing for example. Once introduced into an area P. aduncum can spread rapidly to new locations. It can reproduce by the formation of suckers and new shoots and also by the production of a large number of small seeds. The seeds are readily dispersed by vehicles and animals. With a large native geographic range, small seeds, a short juvenile period and a large annual seed production, P. aduncum is considered a successful invasive species in any area where it occurs (Leps et al., 2002). A risk assessment for the Pacific region gave this species a high risk score of 18 (PIER, 2016).

Habitat

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P. aduncum is a shade-intolerant species and thus requires sufficient light to grow. In its native range, the main habitat is evergreen vegetation and around watercourses in seasonally deciduous forests. It commonly occurs at various altitudes ranging from sea level to 2000 m altitude along road sides and in forest clearance areas on well drained soils (Hartemink, 2006). In Ecuador however, P. aduncum has been recorded at 3,356 m (Starr et al., 2003).

P. aduncum is a pioneer species and disturbance, creating high light levels, is necessary for it to establish. This species is found in disturbed areas along roadsides, in light gaps, forest margins and clearings in evergreen vegetation, although it is not found deep into the surrounding forests (Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014). Outside its native range, it has spread into disturbed habitats such as natural tree-fall gaps, landslides and frequently flooded stream banks, along roads and forest margins (Leps et al., 2002; Starr et al., 2003) as well as abandoned places.

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 Natural
Disturbed areas Principal habitat Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Natural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural
Riverbanks Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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In Fiji it has been reported that P. aduncum competes with the crop species P. methysticum (kava) (ISSG, 2016).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Piper methysticum (kava)PiperaceaeMain

Biology and Ecology

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Reproductive Biology

P. aduncum reproduces by producing an abundance of tiny seeds which are dispersed by wind, bats, birds and possibly arboreal rodents (Francis, 2004). It can also reproduce vegetatively, by the production of sprouts and suckers.

Physiology and Phenology

P. aduncum produces white-pale yellow inflorescence spikes which contain many wind pollinated flowers. This species produces flowers and fruits all year round. Mature fruits are produced after approximately 70-80 days after flowering (Yoneda, 2006). Plants reach reproductive maturity after five years or less. Rogers and Hartemink (2000) reported that P. aduncum is a fast growing species with high rates of biomass accumulation. The height can grow rapidly (1.7 m y-1) and the growth rates can reach more than 130 kg dry matter (DM) ha-1 d-1. Seeds of P. aduncum have a low rate of germination.

Longevity

Individual stems of P. aduncum can live from two to several years (ISGG, 2016). However, they often re-sprout enabling plants to live much longer (ISGG, 2016).

Environmental Requirements

P. aduncum is a pioneer species and therefore requires high light levels and bare soil for colonisation (ISSG, 2016). It is typically recorded in areas with an average annual temperature of 20-30°C (in January and July) and an average annual rainfall of 1500-2000 mm (Starr et al., 2003). It has however been recorded in areas that receive > 4000 mm of mean annual rainfall (ISSG, 2016). P. aduncum can colonise most soil types, apart from excessively 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 Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred 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)
28 17

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall15002000mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

P. aduncum can spread naturally, locally, by the formation of suckers (ISGG, 2016). Seeds of this species are also dispersed by wind.

Vector Transmission

Seeds of P. aduncum are dispersed to new locations by birds, bats and arboreal rodents (Francis, 2004). In Fiji, Pycnonotus cafer (red-vented bulbul), has been reported as a major disperser of the seeds (ISSG, 2016).

Accidental Introduction

Seeds of P. aduncum are often dispersed by machinery, in particular logging equipment (ISGG, 2016). A study by Padmanaba and Sheil (2014) found that logging helps to facilitate the spread of this species throughout a forest landscape. This species is common along roadsides. In addition to this, the small seeds can be accidentally introduced on packing materials (ISGG, 2016).

Intentional Introduction

P. aduncum was widely introduced into new areas as an ornamental tree (ISGG, 2016).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoos Yes Yes Hartemink, 2010
Landscape improvementIn Papua New Guinea, P. aduncum was introduced to prevent soil erosion after land clearing in rubber Yes Yes Hartemink, 2010
Ornamental purposes Yes Yes Hartemink, 2010

Impact Summary

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

Economic Impact

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In Fiji, P. aduncum competes with the crops species P. methysticum (kava) by acting as a host for pests and pathogens and lowering the quality of the crop (ISSG, 2016).

Environmental Impact

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P. aduncum produces a large seedbank, in comparison to other pioneer species and has rapid growth rates. As such it is an aggressive species that can form dense thickets which can outcompete native species and therefore decrease biodiversity in an area. It is a major competitor to indigenous tree species and its rapid spread along roadside presents a threat to Papua New Guinea's and Borneo’s rich biodiversity (Rogers and Hartemink, 2000; Padmanaba and Sheil, 2014).

In contrast to this, in Papua New Guinea P. aduncum is reported to have a positive environmental impact as it helps to increase soil fertility, attract wild animals and provides shades and wind breaks (Siges et al., 2005).

Social Impact

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In Papua New Guinea, P. aduncum is used for producing cleaning materials, toilet tissue, fire stick, fuel wood and plant supports (Siges et al., 2005).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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Economic Value

The wood from P. aduncum can be used for construction, fuel and creating stakes and fences (ISGG, 2016). This species is also planted as an ornamental species and in the USA, the leaves and fruits are sold for medicinal purposes (Hartemink, 2010).

Social Benefit

Oil extracted from the leaves of P. aduncum can be used to control Aedes aegypti mosquito and carriers of pathogenic bacteria housefly Musca domestica (Rafael et al., 2008; Kong et al., 2009). Extracts from the leaves can also be used to make a tea to treat diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting and ulcers (ISGG, 2016).

Environmental Services

P. aduncum provides food and cover for native wildlife. It has also been used for improving soil fertility and controlling soil erosion.

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • pesticide, pest repellent

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Materials

  • Essential oils

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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P. aduncum is similar in appearance to both, P. hispidinervum and P. methysticum. However, P. hispidinervum has a short peduncle, scarcely scabrous leaves and a glabrous stem that distinguish it from P. aduncum. P. methysticum has smaller leaves and a darker green colour than P. aduncum (ISSG, 2016).

Prevention and Control

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Prevention

SPS Measures

As a result of its reported impacts and invasiveness in other countries, P. aduncum has been pre-emptively prohibited from entry into Australia (PIER, 2016). In Hawaii it is listed as a sate noxious weed and it is therefore illegal to possess, propagate or sell this species in the state (Starr et al., 2003).

Control

Cultural Control and Sanitary Measures

The likelihood of dispersing seeds of P. aduncum into new areas can be reduced by cleaning clothing, equipment and machinery after its use in infested areas (Starr et al., 2003).

Physical/Mechanical Control

The removal of small seedlings and plants by hand, or using mechanical means for larger plants, is possible (Starr et al., 2003). However, care must be taken to ensure that the entire rhizome is removed from the soil to prevent regrowth from occurring.

Chemical Control

It has been reported that P. aduncum can be controlled using basal bark application of 20% Garlon 4, or cut stump application with 50% Garlon 3A (Starr et al., 2003).

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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More information is required on the impact of P. aduncum on local biodiversity. In addition to this more information is required on the biology and ecology of this species, including the impact of different soil types and microorganisms on the growth of P. aduncum.

References

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Francis JK, 2004. Wildland shrubs of the United States and its Territories: thamnic descriptions: volume 1. General Technical Report - International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, No.IITF-GTR-26: 830 pp

GBIF, 2016. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. http://www.gbif.org/species

Hartemink AE, 2006. Invasion of Piper aduncum in the shifting cultivation systems of Papua New Guinea. Wageningen, The Netherlands: ISRIC - World Soil Information, 235 pp

Hartemink AE, 2010. The invasive shrub Piper aduncum in Papua New Guinea: a review. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 22(2):202-213

ISSG, 2016. Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). Invasive Species Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. http://www.issg.org/database/welcome/

Kong CM, Sulaiman S, Othman H, 2009. Efficacy of Piper aduncum Extract against the Adult Housefly (Musca domestica). Journal of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, 32:52-57

Leps J, Novovotný V, Cízek L, Molem K, Isua B, Boen W, Kutil R, Auga J, Kasbal M, Manumbor M, Hiuk S, 2002. Successful invasion of the neotropical species Piper aduncum in rain forests in Papua New Guinea. Applied Vegetation Science, 5(2):255-262

Padmanaba M, Sheil D, 2014. Spread of the invasive alien species Piper aduncum via logging roads in Borneo. Tropical Conservation Science, 7(1):35-44

PIER, 2016. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Queensland Government, 2016. Weeds of Australia, Biosecurity Queensland edition. Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/

Rafael MS, Hereira-Rojas WJ, Roper JJ, Nunomura SM, Tadei WP, 2008. Potential control of Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) with Piper aduncum L. (Piperaceae) extracts demonstrated by chromosomal biomarkers and toxic effects on interphase nuclei. Genetics and Molecular Research, 7(3):772-781. http://www.funpecrp.com.br/gmr/year2008/vol7-3//pdf/gmr481.pdf

Rogers HM, Hartemink AE, 2000. Soil seed bank and growth rates of an invasive species, Piper aduncum, in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 16(2):243-251

Sheil D, Padmanaba M, 2011. Innocent invaders? A preliminary assessment of Cecropia, an American tree, in Java. Plant Ecology and Diversity, 4(2/3):279-288

Siges TH, Hartemink AE, Hebinck P, Allen BJ, 2005. The invasive shrub Piper aduncum and rural livelihoods in the Finschhafen area of Papua New Guinea. Human Ecology, 33(6):875-893

Starr F, Starr K, Loope L, 2003. Piper aduncum - spiked pepper Piperaceae. Haleakala Field Station, Maui, Hawaii, USA: United States Geological Survey-Biological Resources Division, 8 pp. http://www.hear.org/Pier/pdf/pohreports/piper_aduncum.pdf

Tan HTW, Ali bin Ibrahim, Tan K-x, 2008. A new record of Piper aduncum L. (Piperaceae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 1:55-59

The Plant List, 2013. The Plant List: a working list of all plant species. Version 1.1. London, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. http://www.theplantlist.org

Wagner WL, Herbst DR, Sohmer SH, 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: University of Hawaii Press/Bishop Museum Press, 1919 pp

Witt, A., Luke, Q., 2017. Guide to the naturalized and invasive plants of Eastern Africa, [ed. by Witt, A., Luke, Q.]. Wallingford, UK: CABI.vi + 601 pp. http://www.cabi.org/cabebooks/ebook/20173158959 doi:10.1079/9781786392145.0000

Yoneda T, 2006. Fruit production and leaf longevity in the tropical shrub Piper aduncum L. in Sumatra. Tropics, 15(2):209-217

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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23/02/2016 Original text by:

Michael Padmanaba, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden/Chinese Academy of Sciences (XTBG/CAS), China

Distribution Maps

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