Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Tibouchina urvilleana
(princessflower)

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Datasheet

Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 27 September 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tibouchina urvilleana
  • Preferred Common Name
  • princessflower
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • T. urvilleana is an evergreen shrub or small tree with large purple flowers and soft hairy leaves. It is native to Brazil but has been introduced and naturalized into a number of countries around the world as i...

  • Principal Source
  • Draft datasheet under review

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit, with flowers and foliage.  Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2001.
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit, with flowers and foliage. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2001.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit, with flowers and foliage.  Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2001.
HabitTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit, with flowers and foliage. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2001.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit as a roadside bush. Kula, Maui. April 23, 2001
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit as a roadside bush. Kula, Maui. April 23, 2001
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit as a roadside bush. Kula, Maui. April 23, 2001
HabitTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); habit as a roadside bush. Kula, Maui. April 23, 2001©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); roadside habit at Volcano, Hawaii. February 20, 2004
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); roadside habit at Volcano, Hawaii. February 20, 2004
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); roadside habit at Volcano, Hawaii. February 20, 2004
HabitTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); roadside habit at Volcano, Hawaii. February 20, 2004©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowering habit. Waipoli Rd Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
TitleHabit
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowering habit. Waipoli Rd Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowering habit. Waipoli Rd Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
HabitTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowering habit. Waipoli Rd Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui. March 07, 2011
TitleLeaves
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui. March 07, 2011
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui. March 07, 2011
LeavesTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui. March 07, 2011©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); red leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens, Kula, Maui. April 30, 2009
TitleRed leaves
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); red leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens, Kula, Maui. April 30, 2009
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); red leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens, Kula, Maui. April 30, 2009
Red leavesTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); red leaves. Enchanting Floral Gardens, Kula, Maui. April 30, 2009©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); close-up of a red leaf. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
TitleRed leaf
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); close-up of a red leaf. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); close-up of a red leaf. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
Red leafTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); close-up of a red leaf. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowers and leaves. Hana Hwy, Maui. March 21, 2007
TitleFlowers and foliage
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowers and leaves. Hana Hwy, Maui. March 21, 2007
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowers and leaves. Hana Hwy, Maui. March 21, 2007
Flowers and foliageTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); flowers and leaves. Hana Hwy, Maui. March 21, 2007©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves and seed capsules. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
TitleSeed capsules
CaptionTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves and seed capsules. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves and seed capsules. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010
Seed capsulesTibouchina urvilleana (princessflower or glory bush); leaves and seed capsules. Waipoli Rd., Kula, Maui. June 16, 2010©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tibouchina urvilleana Cogn.

Preferred Common Name

  • princessflower

Other Scientific Names

  • Lasiandra urvilleana DC.
  • Pleroma grandiflora Hort.
  • Pleroma splendens Hort.
  • Rhexia viminea D. Don
  • Tibouchina semidecandra Cogn.
  • Tibouchina urvilleana var. glandulifera Wurdack
  • Tibouchina viminea (D. Don) Cogn.

International Common Names

  • English: Brazilian spider flower; glory bush; glory flower; Hawaiian glory bush; lasiandra; pleroma; purple glory bush; purple glory tree

Local Common Names

  • France: balmane; doudoul; griffe du diable; pensée malgache; tibouchina
  • Germany: Glänzende Tibouche
  • Mexico: nazareno; planta de la gloria
  • Netherlands: spinnenbloem
  • Réunion: lisandra
  • Spain: arbusto de gloria; capuchina; tibutina
  • Sweden: diadembuske

EPPO code

  • TIBSE (Tibouchina semidecandra)
  • TIBUR (Tibouchina urvilleana)

Summary of Invasiveness

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T. urvilleana is an evergreen shrub or small tree with large purple flowers and soft hairy leaves. It is native to Brazil but has been introduced and naturalized into a number of countries around the world as it is a very popular landscape plant. It has been reported as invasive in New Caledonia, La Réunion, Samoa, South Africa and on a number of islands in Hawaii. In New Zealand, Webb et al. (1988) describe it as ‘only a minor escape from cultivation’. T. urvilleana can form large dense thickets in wet habitats and disturbed areas in forests where it outcompetes indigenous species. In Hawaii it is reported as threatening the native rainforest. T. urvilleana grows vigorously, spreading vegetatively from roots and cut branches. Plants in the genus Tibouchina are listed as Hawaii State noxious weeds, yet T. urvilleana is still widely cultivated. This species received a high risk score of 10 in the Weed Risk Assessment for the Pacific region (PIER, 2016).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Melastomataceae
  •                             Genus: Tibouchina
  •                                 Species: Tibouchina urvilleana

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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T. urvilleana belongs to the Melastomataceae family, found mostly in the tropics. The genus Tibouchina comprises about 350 evergreen herb, shrub and tree species, many native to Brazil, but also ranging from southern Mexico and the West Indies to northern Argentina (Renner, 1993; Wagner et al., 1999).

The generic name is derived from a native name of the plants in Guiana (Wagner, 1999). The epithet urvilleana comes from D'Urville Island, which is named in honour of Jules Dumont d'Urville. D'Urville was a French explorer and botanist who explored the south and western Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica (Gardner, 1992). The most used common name in English is princessflower. But it is also known as glory bush or variations thereof, like purple glory bush, glory tree or glory flower.

T. urvilleana was formerly identified as Tibouchina semidecandra Cogn., a related species also of Brazil (Little Jr. and Skolmen, 2003).

Description

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The following description of T. urvilleana is taken from Little Jr. and Skolmen (2003), Henderson (2016) and PIER (2016).

Evergreen sprawling shrubs or small trees 1-4 m tall. Bark light gray to pale brown, smoothish, thin. Twigs four-angled and slightly winged, stout, light green, with long greenish or pinkish spreading hairs, ringed at nodes; older twigs shedding hairy bark and becoming round.

Leaves opposite, elliptic-ovate to lanceolate, with very hairy leafstalk 6–19 mm long. Blades elliptical, 3–13 cm long and 2.5–6 cm wide, longpointed at apex, blunt or rounded at base, edges straight, with five (sometimes seven) main veins from base; these and curved smaller veins sunken on upper surface and raised beneath. Upper surface dull mid to dark (yellow) green, covered with pressed hairs; lower surface silvery or light green, velvety hairy. Dying leaves turning red above, silvery orange beneath.

Flower clusters (panicles) terminal, erect, large, branched, 7.5–13 cm long. Flowers several but not opening together, very large and showy, on short hairy stalks, composed of two large hairy pointed pinkish bracts or scales 2.5 cm long and rose-red buds; densely hairy calyx with narrow tube 1.5 cm long, five narrow spreading hairy, reddish-tinged lobes almost as long, lobes shedding; five violet or purple petals about 4 cm long and nearly as broad, oblong, broad and straight at apex, widely spreading and falling early; 10 long threadlike purple stamens of two sizes, bent in middle, with narrow curved anthers; and pistil with hairy five-celled ovary, many tiny ovules and long threadlike curved purple style.

Fruits are egg-shaped pale brownish capsules 8-14 mm long, five-celled, with many small round seeds. Mature seeds not seen. The wood is reddish brown, hard, strong and difficult to cut. 

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Shrub
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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T. urvilleana is native to southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul to Sao Paulo) (Global Invasive Species Database, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016). Gryzenhout et al. (2006) state that the species is also native to Colombia. But there are no other records confirming this.

According to the USDA-ARS (2016)T. urvilleana was introduced and has since naturalized in New Zealand, Hawaii, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. However, there are quite a few other sources that report on introductions into other countries. These include Malaysia (Faravani and Bakar, 2007), La Réunion (PIER, 2016), South Africa (Henderson, 2016), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia (Almeda, 2007), El Salvador (Berendsohn, 1989), Nicaragua (Almeda, 2001), Venezuela (Hokche et al., 2008) and Samoa (PIER, 2016).

There are some contradictory reports on the presence of T. urvilleana in New Caledonia. According to PIER (2016) it is only present in captivity/cultivation. But Henderson (2016) states that it also occurs in the wild and that it is invasive.

T. urvilleana is widely cultivated in warm areas with mild climates. It is cultivated in southern parts of the USA, Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific (Starr et al., 2003). PIER (2016) reports that T. urvilleana is also cultivated on the Cook Islands (Rorotonga), French Polynesia (Taravai Island, Nuku Hiva Island, Moorea Island, Tahiti Island, Makatea Island, Rurutu Island), New Caledonia (Île Grande Terre), New Zealand, Mayotte and Singapore. According to Fournet (2002) the plant is also cultivated on the Lesser Antilles (Guadeloupe and Martinique).

Distribution Table

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

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

MalaysiaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedFaravani and Bakar, 2007
SingaporePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2016

Africa

MayottePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedBarthelat, 2005; PIER, 2016
RéunionPresentIntroducedConservatoire Botanique National De Mascarin, CBNM; PIER, 2016
South AfricaPresentIntroduced Invasive Henderson, 2016

North America

USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1910 Invasive PIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentAlmeda, 2007
El SalvadorPresentBerendsohn, 1989
GuadeloupePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Fournet, 2002
GuatemalaPresentAlmeda, 2007
JamaicaPresentIntroducedAlmeda, 2007; USDA-ARS, 2016
MartiniquePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced Not invasive Fournet, 2002
NicaraguaPresentAlmeda, 2001
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2016

South America

BrazilPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-ParanaPresentNativeGuimarães, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeGuimarães, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeGuimarães, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
-Sao PauloPresentNativeGuimarães, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
ColombiaPresentGryzenhout et al., 2006; Almeda, 2007
VenezuelaPresentHokche et al., 2008

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced Invasive Space and Flynn, 2002; Henderson, 2016; PIER, 2016
AustraliaPresentIntroduced1938Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2016
-New South WalesPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2016
-QueenslandPresentIntroducedCouncil of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2016
Cook IslandsPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedPIER, 2016
French PolynesiaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedFlorence et al., 2007; PIER, 2016
New CaledoniaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedHenderson, 2016; PIER, 2016
New ZealandPresentIntroduced1977 Invasive Webb et al., 1988; PIER, 2016; USDA-ARS, 2016
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced2006Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, 2016

History of Introduction and Spread

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Degener (1930) stated that T. urvilleana was introduced into Hawaii about 1910 from South America, traced to an estate near Kurtistown, Hawaii. According to Santos et al. (1988) it was brought to Hawaii as an ornamental. The first herbarium specimen was collected by Rock in August 1917 at Kalanilehua, Kilauea, Hawaii. The plant was spread by amateur horticulturists who took cuttings to their gardens. By 1930 this weed was observed in a garden near Honolulu. Degener then predicted the spread and also the replacement of native vegetation, which has since occurred (Little Jr. and Skolmen, 2003).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Australia 1938 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria (2016)
Hawaii South America 1910 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Degener (1930)
New Zealand 1977 Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes Webb et al. (1988) Spready vegetatively since viable seed rarely produced

Risk of Introduction

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T. urvilleana is currently cultivated as an important ornamental shrub in mostly frost free areas around the world. As such, further intentional introduction of this species into new areas is likely. Plants in the genus Tibouchina are listed as Hawaii State noxious weeds (Hawaii Department of Agriculture, 2002), yet T. urvilleana is still widely cultivated. According to PIER (2016)T. urvilleana is on a list of plants to be excluded from French Polynesia. T. urvilleana received a high risk score of 10 in the Weed Risk Assessment for the Pacific region (PIER, 2016). Although plants are available for sale, T. urvilleana should not be introduced to new areas (Starr et al., 2003).

Habitat

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The native habitat of T. urvilleana is the tropical rain forest (Guimarães, 2016). But it also grows in agricultural areas, natural/planted forests, ruderal/disturbed areas, scrub/shrublands and urban areas (Global Invasive Species Database, 2016). It can form thickets in wet habitats, disturbed areas in forests and along roadsides. In Hawaii T. urvilleana can be found from 200 to 1700 m (Little Jr. and Skolmen, 2003; PIER, 2016).

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Natural forests Present, no further details
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

A chromosome number of 2n = 36 has been recorded for T. urvilleana (Almeda, 1997). The rapid vegetative growth and sterility of this species suggests that it might be of hybrid origin. A study by Wu et al. (2009) shows that T. urvilleana is indeed a hybrid, with T. aspera or another closely related species acting as the maternal parent.

Reproductive Biology

T. urvilleana exhibits poor sexual reproduction (Wu, 2009). According to Wagner et al. (1999), cultivated material of T. urvilleana appears to be self-incompatible. No plump seeds have been observed on any of the collections gathered from adventive populations. T. urvilleana seems to spread mostly vegetatively from roots and stem fragments (Motooka et al., 2003; PIER, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

T. urvilleana is a day-neutral plant, it flowers regardless of the length of the period of light it is exposed to (Johansen et al., 1999). Flowers are borne in summer and autumn in South Africa (Henderson, 2016). Wu et al. (2009) report a long flowering period from May to January in China. Depending on the locality it can flower all year round.

Longevity

T. urvilleana is a perennial shrub (USDA-ARS, 2016).

Population Size and Structure

T. urvilleana can form large patches and dense thickets along roadsides, in moist areas and disturbed areas in forests (Smith 1985; Motooka et al., 2003; Starr et al., 2003).

Environmental Requirements

T. urvilleana is a tropical and sub-tropical species preferring moister climates. It is widely cultivated in warm regions. The shrub does best in cool Mediterranean climates, such as coastal southern California and does not like hot summers (Riffle, 1998). With a minimum temperature of 3°C, it requires some winter protection and in temperate areas it is often grown in a conservatory (Encyclopeida of Life, 2016).

T. urvilleana prefers rich fertile soil but it is able to adapt to other soils as well if mulched, fed and periodically watered. The plant prefers sunny situations but also appreciates afternoon shade in areas with high summer temperatures. Though Henderson (2016) reports that T. urvilleana will also grow in fairly dense shade. It likes moisture but not soggy conditions, although the plant will survive short periods of drought (Faravani and Bakar, 2007). The study of Maejima et al. (2014) demonstrates that T. urvilleana has a high tolerance for aluminum.

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])
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
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)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 3
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 7

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral
  • very acid

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Beltrania rhombica Pathogen Leaves not specific N
Chrysoporthe cubensis Pathogen All Stages not specific N
Chrysoporthella hodgesiana Pathogen All Stages not specific N
Holocryphia eucalypti Pathogen All Stages not specific N
Lius poseidon Herbivore Leaves not specific N
Pythium helicoides Pathogen Leaves/Roots not specific N

Notes on Natural Enemies

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A number of pathogens have been reported on T. urvilleana. Heath et al. (2007) report on the discovery of Holocryphia eucalypti, an Eucalyptus pathogen, on diseased stems of T. urvilleana in Australia. Greenhouse pathogenicity tests, including isolates of H. eucalypti from Eucalyptus spp. in Australia and South Africa, showed that species specific isolates of the pathogen exist, with the isolates of H. eucalypti from T. urvilleana being significantly more virulent towards T. urvilleana than isolates from Eucalyptus. In Colombia the fungus Chrysoporthe cubensis, a serious canker pathogen of Eucalyptus spp. and Chrysoporthella hodgesiana, a pathogen of Melastomataceae has been identified on T. urvilleana (Gryzenhout et al., 2006). The leafspot pathogen Beltrania rhombica was observed on approximately 70% of the 5000 potted plants of T. urvilleana in a nursery in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, China (Shi et al., 2012). Huang (2009) reports on root rot of potted T. urvilleana caused by Pythium helicoides at Wufeng, Taichung, Taiwan. The main symptoms were leaf chlorosis followed by defoliation and brown, water-soaked root rot.

In the Hawaii feeding damage by the beetle Lius poseidon has been observed (Starr et al., 2003). 

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

Plants of T. urvilleana spread vegetatively from roots and stem fragments. Fragments or seeds could be dispersed with heavy rain (PIER, 2016).

Accidental Introduction

Propagules of T. urvilleana are likely to be dispersed unintentionally, because plants are growing in heavily trafficked areas (PIER, 2016). Plants may also be spread by the dumping of garden debris (Starr et al., 2003). However, viable seeds are rarely produced as this species is a sterile hybrid (Wagner, 1999; Wu et al., 2009).

Intentional Introduction

The large purple flowers and soft hairy leaves make T. urvilleana a very popular ornamental plant that is currently cultivated in mostly frost free areas around the world (Starr et al., 2003).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Escape from confinement or garden escapeReported as escaped in Genting Highlands, Peninsular Malaysia. Yes Faravani and Bakar, 2007
Garden waste disposalPopular ornamental plant Yes Starr et al., 2003
HitchhikerPropagules are likely to be dispersed unintentionally, because plants growin heavily trafficked area Yes PIER, 2016
Medicinal use Yes Yoshida et al., 1986
Ornamental purposes Yes Starr et al., 2003

Pathway Vectors

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Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Positive

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Biodiversity

T. urvilleana can form dense thickets in wet areas which can outcompete and displace indigenous species. There is a major infestation of T. urvilleana on Hawaii and it is reportedly threatening native rainforest on the islands of Kauai and Hawaii (PIER, 2016).

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value

T. urvilleana has large purple flowers and soft hairy leaves. It is a very popular ornamental plant currently cultivated in mostly frost free areas around the world (Wu et al., 2009).

Social Benefit

Melastomataceous plants have been used as astringents, haemostatics and remedies for diarrhoea, dysentery, leucorrhoea and skin diseases. The beneficial effect of Melastomataceous plants can be ascribed to the high level of tannins; T. urvilleana is also rich in tannins (Yoshida et al., 1986). Though there are very few reports on the medicinal use of T. urvilleana.

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Ornamental

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical

Ornamental

  • Potted plant

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Dissotis princeps (royal dissotis), a plant indigenous to South Africa, also has soft, velvety foliage like T. urvilleana however, it is a smaller shrub and the flowers are a paler shade of purple (Henderson, 2016).

Prevention and Control

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Control

Biological Control

T. urvilleana has not directly been the target of a biological control programme, however it may have indirectly benefitted fom other biological control programmes. Lius poseidon is a beetle in the Buprestidae family that has been reported feeding on leaves of T. urvilleana in Hawaii. The beetle was originally introduced to Oahu in 1990 and Maui in 1994 for the biological control of Clidemia hirta (Hawaii Department of Agriculture, 2002). Feeding damage by these beetles on T. urvilleana was evident, though plants still retained fairly healthy vigor (Starr et al., 2003). Cryptorhynchus melastomae is a stem boring weevil from Costa Rica. It’s under evaluation as a potential biological control agent for the invasive tree Miconia calvescens (Melastomataceae) in Hawaii. No-choice and multi-choice tests with adult C. melastomae revealed a host range restricted to Melastomataceaes, which are all invasive weeds in Hawaii. The adults also fed on T. urvilleana. Ideally, C. melastomae might contribute to management of T. urvilleana and other weedy Melastomataceaes species. But the actual consequences of such interactions with multiple hosts are difficult to predict (Raboin et al., 2011).

Chemical Control

According to PIER (2016)T. urvilleana can be controlled by herbicides. There are several positive reports on the use of triclopyr ester for cut-stump treatments or as foliar spray (Motooka et al., 2003). Santos et al. (1988) also report that undiluted triclopyr ester used for cut-stump treatments caused very good resprout inhibition and cambium mortality. Undiluted triclopyr amine and 50% triclopyr ester (50% triclopyr amine) treatments provided less effective control. Metsulfuron in foliar sprays is also quite effective (80%) but glyphosate is reportedly not (Motooka et al., 2003).

References

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Almeda F, 1997. Chromosome numbers and their evolutionary significance in some neotropical and paleotropical Melastomataceae. BioLlania [A Festschrift in honor of John J. Wurdack.], Edición Especial No. 6:167-190.

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29/01/2016 Original text by:

Ymkje van de Witte, Consultant, Wageningen, The Netherlands

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