Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Terminalia catappa
(Singapore almond)

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Datasheet

Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 18 December 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Terminalia catappa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Singapore almond
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • T. catappa is a perennial tree species that has been extensively introduced into littoral habitats, coastal forests, gardens and parks to be used as an ornamental, shade tree, and sand-dune stabilizer (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); habit. In exposed coastal situations, the stem may become crooked and/or lean. In sheltered situations the stem is more or less cylindrical and straight.
TitleMature tree
CaptionTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); habit. In exposed coastal situations, the stem may become crooked and/or lean. In sheltered situations the stem is more or less cylindrical and straight.
Copyright©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); habit. In exposed coastal situations, the stem may become crooked and/or lean. In sheltered situations the stem is more or less cylindrical and straight.
Mature treeTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); habit. In exposed coastal situations, the stem may become crooked and/or lean. In sheltered situations the stem is more or less cylindrical and straight.©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); base of mature coastline tree, showing bark and exposed root system
TitleBole
CaptionTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); base of mature coastline tree, showing bark and exposed root system
Copyright©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); base of mature coastline tree, showing bark and exposed root system
BoleTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); base of mature coastline tree, showing bark and exposed root system©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); bark.
TitleBark
CaptionTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); bark.
Copyright©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); bark.
BarkTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); bark.©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage.
TitleFoliage
CaptionTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage.
Copyright©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage.
FoliageTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage.©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); inflorescence.
TitleInflorescence
CaptionTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); inflorescence.
Copyright©A.R. Pittaway
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); inflorescence.
InflorescenceTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); inflorescence.©A.R. Pittaway
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage and maturing fruits.
TitleFruits and foliage
CaptionTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage and maturing fruits.
Copyright©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre
Terminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage and maturing fruits.
Fruits and foliageTerminalia catappa (Singapore almond); foliage and maturing fruits.©CSIRO/Australian Tree Seed Centre

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Terminalia catappa L.

Preferred Common Name

  • Singapore almond

Other Scientific Names

  • Badamia commersonii Gaertn.
  • Buceras catappa (L.) Hitchc.
  • Juglans catappa (L.) Lour.
  • Myrobalanus catappa (L.) Kuntze
  • Phytolacca javanica Osbeck
  • Terminalia badamia DC.
  • Terminalia intermedia Bertero ex Spreng.
  • Terminalia latifolia Blanco
  • Terminalia mauritiana Blanco
  • Terminalia moluccana Lam.
  • Terminalia myrobalana Roth
  • Terminalia ovatifolia Noronha
  • Terminalia paraensis Mart.
  • Terminalia procera Roxb.
  • Terminalia rubrigemmis Tul.
  • Terminalia subcordata Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.

International Common Names

  • English: beach almond; country almond; Indian almond; Malabar almond; sea almond; tropical almond
  • Spanish: almendra; almendrillo; almendro; almendro de playa
  • French: amandier de la Martinique; amandier des Indes; badamier; myrobolan
  • Chinese: lan ren shu
  • Portuguese: amendoeira; amendoeira da India

Local Common Names

  • Australia: kotamba
  • Brazil: amendoeira-da-India; amendoeira-da-praia; castanha da praia; castanhola; chapéu-de-sol; guarda-sol; sombreiro
  • Brunei Darussalam: telisai; terminalia
  • Cambodia: barang; châmbak barang; kapang; pareang prang
  • Colombia: kotamba
  • Cuba: almendro de la India
  • Fiji: tavali; tivi
  • Germany: etangen baum; indischer Mandelbaum; Katappenbaum
  • Haiti: amadier tropical; amandier des Indes; badannier; zamanne; zammande
  • India: adamaram; badam; badambo; badami; badan; bangla-badam; deshi-bandam; hindi-badam; jangli-badam; patti-badam; vathakottai natavadom; white bombwe
  • India/Andaman and Nicobar Islands: white Bombay; white bombway
  • Indonesia: ketapang
  • Indonesia/Java: katapang
  • Indonesia/Nusa Tenggara: ai calesse catapo
  • Kiribati: te kunikun; te ntarine
  • Laos: hou kouang; hu kwang; huu kwaang; sômz moox dông
  • Lesser Antilles: Barbados almond; Z’amande; zanmann
  • Malaysia: jelawai ketapang; ketapang
  • Malaysia/Peninsular Malaysia: lingkak
  • Malaysia/Sabah: telisai
  • Myanmar: badan
  • Netherlands: amandel boom; wilde amandel
  • Papua New Guinea: jara almond; reddish-brown Terminalia; talis
  • Peru: castana
  • Philippines: dalinsi; kalumpit; logo; talisai
  • Samoa: talie
  • Solomon Islands: saori
  • Sri Lanka: kottamba
  • Thailand: dat mue; hukwang; khon; taa-pang
  • Tonga: telie
  • Tuvalu: talie
  • USA/Hawaii: false kamani; haole; kamani-haole
  • Vanuatu: natapoa
  • Vietnam: b[af]ng; b[af]ng nh[os]c; bang bien; bang nu'o'c; mo c[uws]a

EPPO code

  • TEMCA (Terminalia catappa)

Trade name

  • Andaman badam
  • Indian almond

Summary of Invasiveness

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T. catappa is a perennial tree species that has been extensively introduced into littoral habitats, coastal forests, gardens and parks to be used as an ornamental, shade tree, and sand-dune stabilizer (Orwa et al., 2009; ISSG, 2017). This species has become of the most common trees in littoral habitats and beaches across tropical and subtropical regions of America, India, southeastern Asia, and the Pacific Ocean, due in part to human-mediated introductions, the adaptation of its fruits to be dispersed over long-distances by sea currents and its tolerance to salt-spray, coastal-winds and drought conditions (Thomson and Evans, 2006; Brown and Cooprider, 2013). T. catappa is a prolific seed producer and fruits may remain viable for a long time, even after floating in salt water for considerable time periods. 

This species naturalizes readily in littoral habitats and has been listed as invasive in the United States (Florida and Hawaii), Brazil, the Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands where it is displacing native vegetation and altering coastal dynamics (Smith, 2010; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012; Mir, 2012; Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015; FLEPPC, 2017; I3N-Brazil, 2017; ISSG, 2017). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Combretaceae
  •                             Genus: Terminalia
  •                                 Species: Terminalia catappa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Combretaceae is a family of flowering plants comprising 14 genera and about 500 species distributed largely across tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The genus Terminalia includes 190 species some of them with economic importance as ornamentals and timber yielding plants (Orwa et al., 2009). The generic name is derived from the characteristic clustered spirals of leaves at the twig tips. Terminalia and other tree species within the Combretaceae often look rather pagoda-like, the branches are often arranged in whorls and consisting of flattened sprays of leaf rosettes (Stevens, 2012). Key references to the genus include Exell (1954), Coode (1969, 1973, 1978) and Smith (1971, 1985). 

Terminalia catappa is the type species for the genus and the specific epithet 'catappa' is taken from its name in Malaysia, viz. ketapang (Wheatley, 1992). Closely related species in the South Pacific include T. glabrata Forst. f., T. litoralis Seem. and T. samoensis Rechinger (Fosberg and Sachet, 1981). The species has a vast number of common names, but is most widely known as beach, Indian or sea almond.

T. procera is considered by some to be a synonym of T. catappa (see, for example, Sosef et al., 1995). However, other authors consider T. procera (which has a limited distribution in the Andaman Islands and Myanmar) to be a separate species (Mabberley, 1997; Troup and Joshi, 1984). 

Description

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Trees to 20 m tall; trunk to 2 m dbh. Bark brownish black, longitudinally peeling. Branches spreading, forming tiers. Branchlets densely brownish yellow tomentose near apex, densely covered with conspicuous leaf scars. Leaves alternate, crowded into pseudo-whorls at apices of branchlets; petiole 0.5–2 cm, stout, tomentose; leaf blade obovate to oblanceolate, narrowed in proximal half, 12–30 × 8–15 cm, both surfaces glabrous or abaxially sparsely softly hairy when young, base narrow, cordate or truncate, apex obtuse or mucronate; lateral veins in 10–12 pairs. Inflorescences axillary, simple, long, slender spikes, 15–20 cm, numerous flowered; axis shortly white tomentose. Flowers fragrant. Calyx tube distally cupular, 7–8 mm, abaxially white tomentose, densely so on ovary, sparsely so on cupular part, adaxially glabrous; lobes 5. Stamens 10, exserted, 2–3 mm. Fruit not stipitate, red or blackish green when ripe, ellipsoid, slightly to strongly compressed, strongly 2-ridged to narrowly 2-winged (wings to 3 mm wide), 3–5.5 × 2–3.5 cm, glabrous; pericarp woody, rigid (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017).

Plant Type

Top of page Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Woody

Distribution

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T. catappa is native to the Malaysian Peninsula, Southeast Asia and the Andaman Islands. This species together with Casuarina trees and coconut palms is one of the most common trees across tropical and subtropical coastal habitats (Brown and Cooprider, 2013). It can be found naturalized across tropical and subtropical America, the West Indies, tropical and temperate Asia, and East and West Africa (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2017; USDA-ARS, 2017).

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

AfghanistanPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
BangladeshPresentOrwa et al., 2009
Brunei DarussalamPresent Natural
CambodiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
ChinaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
IndiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006Native and cultivated
-Indian PunjabPresent Planted
-KarnatakaPresent Planted
-KeralaPresentPlanted, Natural
-MaharashtraPresent Planted
-OdishaPresentPlanted, Natural
-Tamil NaduPresentPlanted, Natural
-Uttar PradeshPresent Planted
-West BengalPresentPlanted, Natural
IndonesiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Irian JayaPresent Natural
-JavaPresent Natural
-KalimantanPresentPlanted, Natural
-MoluccasPresentPlanted, Natural
-SulawesiPresentPlanted, Natural
-SumatraPresentNativeValkenburg and Waluyo, 1991
JapanPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresent Natural
LaosPresentNativeOrwa et al., 2009
MalaysiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentPlanted, Natural
-SabahPresentPlanted, Natural
-SarawakPresentPlanted, Natural
MyanmarPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
NepalPresent Planted
PakistanPresentIntroducedValkenburg and Waluyo, 1991Cultivated
PhilippinesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
SingaporePresentOrwa et al., 2009
Sri LankaPresentOrwa et al., 2009
TaiwanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2017
ThailandPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006Native and cultivated
VietnamPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017

Africa

BotswanaPresentIntroduced Invasive Haysom and Murphy, 2003
BurundiPresent Planted
CameroonIntroducedPROTA, 2017
Cape VerdePresent Planted
CongoPresent Planted
Congo Democratic RepublicPresent Planted
GabonIntroducedPROTA, 2017
GambiaPresent Planted
GhanaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
KenyaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
LiberiaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
MadagascarIntroducedValkenburg and Waluyo, 1991Cultivated
MalawiPresent Planted
NigeriaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
RéunionPresentPlanted, Natural
RwandaPresent Planted
SenegalIntroducedPROTA, 2017
SeychellesNativeThomson and Evans, 2006Native and cultivated
SomaliaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
SudanIntroducedPROTA, 2017
TanzaniaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
-ZanzibarIntroducedPROTA, 2017
UgandaIntroducedPROTA, 2017
ZimbabwePresent Planted

North America

BermudaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
MexicoPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
USARestricted distributionIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017
-CaliforniaPresent Planted
-FloridaPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Haysom and Murphy, 2003; FLEPPC, 2017
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2017

Central America and Caribbean

AnguillaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
BahamasPresentIntroduced Invasive Smith, 2010
BarbadosPresentIntroduced Invasive Haysom and Murphy, 2003; Broome et al., 2007
BelizePresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015Guana, Tortola, Virgin Gorda
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
Costa RicaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
CuraçaoPresent Planted
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Mir, 2012
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
GrenadaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
GuatemalaPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012
HondurasPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
JamaicaPresentIntroduced Invasive Townsend and Newell, 2006
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
MontserratPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
PanamaPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Planted Haysom and Murphy, 2003; Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015
SabaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Sint EustatiusPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Sint MaartenPresentIntroducedBroome et al., 2007Naturalized
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced Invasive Trinidad and Tobago Biodiversity, 2016
United States Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced Invasive Rojas-Sandoval and Acevedo-Rodríguez, 2015St Croix, St Thomas, St John

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
BoliviaPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
BrazilPresentIntroduced Invasive
-AcrePresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-AmazonasPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-BahiaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-CearaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-Distrito FederalPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-Espirito SantoPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-Mato GrossoPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-ParaPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-ParaibaPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-PernambucoPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-PiauiPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-Rio de JaneiroPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-Rio Grande do NortePresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-RoraimaPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
-Santa CatarinaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-SergipePresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2017
-TocantinsPresentIntroducedMarquete and Loiola, 2015Naturalized
ColombiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
EcuadorPresentIntroducedJørgensen and León-Yánez, 1999
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedJørgensen and León-Yánez, 1999
French GuianaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
GuyanaPresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
ParaguayPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
PeruPresentIntroducedDavidse et al., 2009
SurinamePresentIntroducedFunk et al., 2007
VenezuelaPresentIntroducedHokche et al., 2010

Oceania

American SamoaPresentPlanted, Natural
AustraliaPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
-QueenslandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
Cook IslandsPresentPlanted, Natural
FijiPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006
French PolynesiaPresentThomson and Evans, 2006Probably aboriginal introduction
GuamPresent Planted
KiribatiPresentPlanted, Natural
Marshall IslandsPresentPlanted, Natural
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentThomson and Evans, 2006Probably aboriginal introduction
New CaledoniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2017
NiuePresentPlanted, Natural
Northern Mariana IslandsPresent Planted
Papua New GuineaPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006
SamoaPresentThomson and Evans, 2006Probably aboriginal introduction
Solomon IslandsPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006
TokelauPresentPlanted, Natural
TongaPresentThomson and Evans, 2006Probably aboriginal introduction
TuvaluPresentPlanted, Natural
VanuatuPresentNativeThomson and Evans, 2006
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentPlanted, Natural

History of Introduction and Spread

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The rind of the fruit, comprising light, pithy/corky tissue, enables the fruits to float and be naturally dispersed long distances by sea currents (Kadambi, 1954; Nakanishi, 1989; Troup and Joshi, 1984). The extent to which its range has also been extended through movement by humans is difficult to determine.

In Hawaii, T. catappa was introduced probably before 1800. Now it can be found naturalized at low altitudes, mainly near beach shores. Similarly, across the archipelagos of Polynesia and Micronesia it is considered an aboriginal introduction to the eastern parts of its current range, widely naturalized across coastal areas (Thomson and Evans, 2006).

In the West Indies, T. catappa appears in herbarium collections made as early as 1871 in the Dominican Republic, 1880 in Martinique, and 1881 in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (US National Herbarium).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Hawaii 1800 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No Thomson and Evans (2006)
Dominican Republic 1871 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No
Martinique 1880 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No
Puerto Rico 1881 Horticulture (pathway cause) Yes No

Risk of Introduction

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The likelihood of new introductions of T. catappa is very high. This species is extensively commercialized and planted across tropical and subtropical coastal habitats.  Additionally, it is a prolific seed producer and seeds float and can be carried considerable distances by sea currents and still remain viable (Thomson and Evans, 2006; Orwa et al., 2009). A risk assessment carried out for PIER (2017), however, gave the species a low risk score of 4.

Habitat

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T. catappa grows in coastal thickets, beaches, rocky shores, sand dunes, parks, gardens, and edges of mangrove swamps. It is a pioneer species in disturbed sites across littoral habitats and in sandy areas just above the level of high tides (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Thomson and Evans, 2006; Orwa et al., 2009). 

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Brackish
Inland saline areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Inland saline areas Present, no further details Natural
Inland saline areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalWetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Mangroves Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Mangroves Present, no further details Natural
Mangroves Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics
The chromosome number reported for T. catappa is 2n = 24 (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991).

Reproductive Biology
T. catappa is an andromonoecious species, with male and perfect flowers occurring on the same tree. Usually perfect flowers occur at the base of the raceme and male flowers directly above. Flowers of both types are greenish-white or light brown. This species yields fruits by autogamy and geitonogamy, but it is also facultatively apomictic. Flowers produce traces of nectar and large quantities of pollen and are visited and pollinated by insects including bees, flies, wasps and ants.

In India the bee genera Trigona and Apis and the fly genera Chrysomya and Sarcophaga are the most important pollinators. Trees growing isolated or in urban areas tend to be totally apomictic (Atluri et al., 2003; Orwa et al., 2009).

Typically 1–5 fruits are formed on the basal part of the flower spike. Fruits are sessile, laterally compressed, ovoid to ovate, smooth-skinned drupes. During maturation, fruits change colour from green, through yellow to bright red or dark purplish-red at full maturity (Coode, 1978; Whistler, 1992a, 1992b; Jensen, 1995). Fruit size varies considerably, e.g. 3.5–7 cm x 2–5.5 cm (Exell, 1954), with Walter and Sam (1993) reporting an exceptional range in length from 2.5 to 10 cm. The kernel consists of two delicate and intricately entwined cotyledons enclosed in an inconspicuous cream-coloured (sometimes red) testa (Evans, 1991).

Physiology and Phenology
T. catappa sheds its leaves all at once, after they have turned yellow/red. In Southeast Asia and Peninsular Malaysia, this process occurs usually twice a year (January–February and July–August). Across tropical America, trees lose their leaves during the dry season (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Brown and Cooprider, 2013). 

Flowers normally appear in early summer and fruits follow quite late in the year in India. In China, T. catappa has been recorded flowering from March to June and in October and fruiting in May and from July to September (Orwa et al., 2009; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2017). Apparently trees never flower when defoliated (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991).

Flowering and fruiting occur sporadically throughout much of the year in Hawaii (Little and Skolmen, 1989), Fiji (Smith, 1985) and Vanuatu (Walter and Sam, 1993), but flowering and fruiting of cultivated trees seem to be more synchronous in Vanuatu. Flowering peaks around October to January and is followed by fruiting around March to June. In the South Pacific, T. catappa produces fruit sporadically throughout the year at lower latitudes, and has heavier crops towards the end of the year at higher latitudes (Evans, 1996). In Samoa, fruiting occurs in June-July and February-March (Foliga and Blaffart, 1995), while in New Guinea the productive period is between November and March, especially December-February (Bourke, 1996).

Longevity
T. catappa is a perennial (deciduous or semi-deciduous) tree (Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Activity patterns
T. catappa is a fast growing tree at juvenile stages, moderating the speed of growth as it ages (Brown and Cooprider, 2013). In cultivation, plants usually start flowering and fruiting within 2 to 3 years after planting. Seeds may remain viable for a long time. They germinate readily, even after floating in salt water for considerable time periods. Germination typically occurs 3–8 weeks after sowing with germination rates >50% (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Associations
T. catappa is a food plant for the larval stages of the brown awl butterfly Badamia exclamationis. The foliage is also used for feeding tasar or katkura silk­worms (Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Within its native distribution rage, T. catappa often grows associated with species such as Acacia simplex, Tournefortia argentea, Barringtonia asiatica, Calophyllum inophyllum, Casuarina equisetifolia, Cocos nucifera, Cordia subcordata, Excoecaria agallocha, Hernandia nymphaeifolia, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Morinda citrifolia, Scaevola taccada, Schleinitzia insularum, Terminalia littoralis, Thespesia populnea, and Vitex trifoliata (Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Environmental Requirements
T. catappa is well-adapted to grow in littoral areas across subtropical and tropical climates with mean annual rainfall ranging from 1000 mm to 3500 mm and mean annual temperatures around 13–36°C. It has the capability to grow in a wide range of soil types, including saline and alkaline sand, sandy loams, loams, and heavy clays with pH ranging from 4.0 to 8.5. Seedlings and saplings tolerate moderate shade levels but require high light levels to grow. Mature trees prefer full sunlight. The species tolerates strong and steady coastal winds, drought, and coastal salt spray (Thomson and Evans, 2006; Brown and Cooprider, 2013).

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])

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
25 -30 0 800

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 7
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 20 26
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 32 35
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 15 17

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration06number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall10003500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Anastrepha suspensa Fruits/pods not specific
Bactrocera correcta Whole plant not specific
Bactrocera dorsalis Whole plant not specific
Badamia exclamationis Herbivore Whole plant not specific
Ceratitis capitata Fruits/pods not specific
Cryptotermes brevis Antagonist Whole plant not specific
Ophiusa coronata Fruits/pods not specific
Paecilomyces variotii Pathogen Seedlings not specific
Selenothrips rubrocinctus Herbivore Whole plant not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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T. catappa is susceptible to defoliating insects, especially when young. Seedlings are often defoliated by grasshoppers and beetles in Thailand and Malaysia. In Papua New Guinea, there is a record of trees being killed after attack by beetles of the genus Agrilus which are cambial feeders (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991). In Puerto Rico, the thrip species Selenothrips rubrocintus causes leaf discoloration and premature defoliation of adult trees. Trees are also susceptible to termites (i.e., Cryptotermes brevis). The sapwood is susceptible to attack by Lyctus species. In Asia, the fungus species Paecilomyces variotii causes dieback of seedlings (Orwa et al., 2009).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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T. catappa spreads by seeds. Each tree has the potential to produce large numbers of fruits. The rind of the fruit is a light, pithy, or corky tissue that enables the fruit to float and be dispersed by sea currents. Trees are also found away from coastal areas due to fruits being carried inland and dropped by frugivorous birds and bats, and as a result of deliberate planting by humans (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

Sea currents can disperse fruits of T. catappa over long distances (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Intentional Introduction

T. catappa has been widely planted as an ornamental and shade tree in many coastal habitats across tropical and subtropical regions (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Thomson and Evans, 2006).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosOrnamental and shade tree Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
DisturbanceOften naturalized along roadsides, disturbed littoral habitats Yes Yes Thomson and Evans, 2006
Escape from confinement or garden escape Yes Yes Thomson and Evans, 2006
FoodFruits edible – consumed by humans Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
ForestryTimber species Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Habitat restoration and improvementTrees planted for sand-dune stabilization Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
HorticultureWidely commercialized as ornamental and shade tree Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Medicinal useFruits and leaves Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Ornamental purposesWidely commercialized as ornamental and shade tree Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Timber trade Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Floating vegetation and debrisFruits float- dispersed by sea-currents Yes Yes Thomson and Evans, 2006
WaterFruits float- dispersed by sea-currents Yes Yes Thomson and Evans, 2006

Environmental Impact

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T. cattapa is a fast-growing species that produces many new seedlings with the potential of invading large areas along the littoral and outcompeting and displacing native vegetation (Gilman and Watson, 1994; ISSG, 2017).

T. cattapa has a deep-rooting system that may alter the dynamics of coastal areas by inhibiting the natural movement of sand dunes and changing soil chemistry. Sand dunes provide habitat for highly specialized plants and animals, which are affected by the presence of this alien species (Smith, 2010; ISSG, 2017).

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Panicum fauriei (Carter's panicgrass)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011

Social Impact

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The fruits of T. catappa contain tannic acid that stains cars and other commodities. Trees produce a significant amount of litter, leaves and fruits, which require constant removal from parks and gardens (Brown and Cooprider, 2013). The tree is difficult to manage because of multiple trunks, requiring regular pruning because of its fast growth. Exposed surface root system can also be hazardous to humans, sidewalks and buildings (Gilman and Watson, 1994).

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
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Transportation disruption
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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In the horticultural trade, T. catappa is promoted as an excellent ornamental for coastal areas and valued for its shade, edible fruits and ability to stabilize soils (Brown and Cooprider, 2013). This species has been used medicinally in India, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Caledonia and the leaves are regarded as a contraceptive. The leaves have a sudorific action and are applied to rheumatic joints. The tannin from bark and leaves is used as an astringent in dysentery and thrush. It is also regarded as diuretic and cardiotonic and is applied externally on skin eruptions. In the Philippines a decoction of the leaves is employed as a vermifuge.

The fibrous fruit has a pleasant smell and is edible though not very tasty. Fruit quality can range from sweet to bitter. The kernel is eaten raw or roasted and has an almond-like taste due to the high oil content (Janick and Paull, 2008). The seed is considered delicious and the pale odourless oil it contains is similar to almond oil. The oil is employed in cooking and medicinally as a substitute for true almond oil to relieve abdominal inflammations, and, cooked with the leaves, in treating leprosy, scabies and other skin diseases. The foliage is used as feed for silkworms and other animals (Valkenburg and Waluyo, 1991; Orwa et al., 2009).

T. catappa is often planted for erosion control, land reclamation and soil improvement. This species has a vast root system that binds together both sands and poor soils and it is also a good provider of mulch for the protection of soil and young crops (Thomson and Evans, 2006; Orwa et al., 2009; ISSG, 2017; PROTA, 2017). The tree is often planted in avenues and gardens as a shade tree. It is very well suited for this purpose because of its pagoda-like habit, with long, horizontal branches and large leaves.

The bark and leaves and sometimes roots and green fruits are locally used for tanning leather and provide a black dye, used for dyeing cottons and rattan and as ink. Fruit yield a red dye.

Economic Value
Trees of T. catappa provide a red, good-quality, elastic, cross-grained timber often used for the construction of buildings, boats, bridges, floors, boxes, crates, planks, carts, barrels, wheelbarrows and furniture (Thomson and Evans, 2006; Orwa et al., 2009). The distinctive pagoda-like shape of the tree and the red leaves along with its fast growth make it valuable as an ornamental species (Janick and Paull, 2008).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Invertebrate food for silkworms

Environmental

  • Agroforestry
  • Amenity
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Land reclamation
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Materials

  • Dye/tanning
  • Essential oils
  • Gum/resin
  • Lipids
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Resins
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Christmas tree
  • Cut flower
  • garden plant
  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Wood Products

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Boats

Containers

  • Boxes
  • Crates

Furniture

Roundwood

  • Building poles
  • Posts

Sawn or hewn building timbers

  • Beams
  • Bridges
  • Carpentry/joinery (exterior/interior)
  • Engineering structures
  • Flooring
  • For heavy construction
  • For light construction
  • Hydraulic works

Wood-based materials

  • Plywood

Woodware

  • Industrial and domestic woodware

Prevention and Control

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Biological Control

The ISSG website suggests that bio-control agents could potentially be used in the control and management of T. catappa, but this website does not provide specific information. Beetles, grasshoppers, leaf rollers, leaf miners, fruit flies have been observed to affecting plants at different stages in India, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica and could potentially be used for its bio-control. However, further investigation is needed to establish the effectiveness of such vectors, as well as their possibility of becoming invasive species themselves (ISSG, 2017).

Chemical Control

In Florida (USA) areas invaded by T. catappa are treated with basal applications of herbicides such as triclopyr (Hadden et al., 2005). In Santa Catarina, Brazil, cutting the tree and applying 4% triclopyr to the stump was the most effective treatment for T. catappa (Dechoum and Ziller, 2013).

Bibliography

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Corner EJH, 1988. Wayside trees of Malaya. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. The Malayan Nature Society. United Selangor Press, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 193-194.

Exell WA, 1954. Combretaceae. In: van Steenis CGGJ, ed. Flora Malesiana, Series I, 4(5):566-568.

Morton JF, 1985. Indian almond (Terminalia catappa), salt-tolerant, useful, tropical tree with 'nut' worthy of improvement. Economic Botany, 39(2): 101-112.

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Links to Websites

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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.

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13/04/17 Updated by:

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

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