Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Tithonia diversifolia
(Tithonia)

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Datasheet

Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tithonia diversifolia
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Tithonia
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • T. diversifolia, commonly known as the tree marigold, is a herbaceous flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. Native to Mexico and Central America, it has been introduced and is now naturalized in tropical pa...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
TitleFlowers and leaves
CaptionTithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
Flowers and leavesTithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2009.
TitleHabit
CaptionTithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2009.
HabitTithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); habit. Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. May, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); habit, bush growing along a foot path in Uganda. February, 2014.
TitleHabit
CaptionTithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); habit, bush growing along a foot path in Uganda. February, 2014.
Copyright©Winnifred Aool-2014
Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); habit, bush growing along a foot path in Uganda. February, 2014.
HabitTithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); habit, bush growing along a foot path in Uganda. February, 2014.©Winnifred Aool-2014
Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.
TitleLeaves
CaptionTithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.
Copyright©Winnifred Aool-2014
Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.
LeavesTithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.©Winnifred Aool-2014
Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.
TitleFlowers and leaves
CaptionTithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.
Copyright©Winnifred Aool-2014
Tithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.
Flowers and leavesTithonia diversifolia (tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and leaves. Uganda. February, 2014.©Winnifred Aool-2014
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and developing seed heads. Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
TitleFlowers and seed heads
CaptionTithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and developing seed heads. Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
Copyright©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and developing seed heads. Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.
Flowers and seed headsTithonia diversifolia (Tithonia or tree marigold); flowers and developing seed heads. Haliimaile, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April, 2009.©Forest Starr & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tithonia diversifolia (Hemsley) A. Gray

Preferred Common Name

  • Tithonia

Other Scientific Names

  • Mirasolia diversifolia (Hemsley) A. Gray

International Common Names

  • English: Bolivian sunflower; Mexican sunflower; Nitobe chrysanthemum; shrub sunflower; tree marigold
  • Spanish: guasmara; jalacate

Local Common Names

  • Cuba: árnica de la tierra; girasolillo; margarita gigante; margarita isleña; margaritona
  • Germany: Verschiedenblaettrige Fackelblume
  • Indonesia: harsaga; kembang mbulan
  • Indonesia/Java: kembang mbulan
  • Japan: Japanese sunflower
  • Kenya: wild sunflower
  • South Africa: Mexikaanse sonneblom
  • Thailand: daoruang-yipun; denchamat-nam; thantawan-nu
  • Uganda: wild sunflower

EPPO code

  • TITDI (Tithonia diversifolia)

Summary of Invasiveness

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T. diversifolia, commonly known as the tree marigold, is a herbaceous flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. Native to Mexico and Central America, it has been introduced and is now naturalized in tropical parts of Asia and Africa. It is also naturalized in some Pacific islands, where it is found along roadsides and in disturbed areas. T. diversifolia tolerates heat and drought and can rapidly form large herbaceous shrubs. Rapid vegetative reproduction and significant production of lightweight seeds, which can be dormant in the soil for up to four months, allow T. diversifolia to quickly invade disturbed habitats. By forming dense stands it prevents the growth of young native plants. Depending on the area, T. diversifolia may be either annual or perennial. Being able to produce flowers and seeds throughout the year, coupled with the ability of seeds to be dispersed by wind, water and animals, makes it particularly easy for T. diversifolia to quickly colonize new areas. Shoot and root growth and nutrient uptake of several plants may be adversely affected by T. diversifolia.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Tithonia is made up of 11 species all of which originate from Mexico, Central America and Cuba (Arias et al., 1982). Although Agnew (1974) reported that the only member of the genus found in Africa is T. diversifolia, Muoghalu and Chuba (2005) reported the presence of T. rotundifolia in Zambia. As members of the daisy family, Tithonia spp. are related to the sunflower.

The specific name ‘diversifolia’ means ‘separated leaves’, from the Latin ‘diversus’ (divergent) and ‘folium’ (leaf). Its area of origin gives it its common name ‘Mexican sunflower’.

Description

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Plant: T. diversifolia is 2-3 m tall with upright and sometimes ligneous stalks. It forms woody shrubs.

Leaves: The sub-ovate, rough, hairy leaves are opposite or alternate with 3 to a maximum of 7 lobes. Leaf base attenuate or decurrent, apex acute or acuminate, margin crenate, 5-17 x 3.5-12 cm, densely pubescent and slightly grayish beneath; venation palmate; occasionally the upper leaves are unlobed.

Seeds: The ‘seeds’ are actually achenes; 4-8 mm long and topped with a ring (pappus) of scales and two awns (about 5 mm long). They are covered in close-lying, appressed pubescent hairs, blackish, are somewhat four-angled and are spread by wind.

Flowers: The large, showy flowers are yellow; their ray size is approximately 3-6 cm by 0.5-1.8 cm. The flower heads are solitary on a peduncle 6-13 cm long. Each mature stem may bear several flowers at the top of branches.

Plant Type

Top of page Annual
Biennial
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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T. diversifolia is native to Mexico and Central America but has been introduced widely throughout the tropics (USDA-ARS, 2018).

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

ChinaPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
-YunnanWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Wang et al., 2004Currently distributed in at least 64 counties in Yunnan Province. The whole extent of its geographic distribution is ca. 234,673 km 2 (about 60 % of Yunnan’s total territory).
IndiaWidespreadIntroducedBlake, 1921
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
MyanmarPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
NepalPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
PhilippinesWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Merrill, 1922
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
TaiwanPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
ThailandPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
VietnamPresentIntroducedNgo and Khuc, 2012

Africa

BurundiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Bamps and Farron, 1967
CameroonWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Chukwuka, 2003
Central African RepublicPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
ChadPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
CongoWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Bamps and Farron, 1967
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
EgyptWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Chukwuka, 2003
EritreaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Hedberg and Edwards, 2014
EthiopiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Hedberg and Edwards, 2014
GuineaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
KenyaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Tropical Biology Association, 2010
MalawiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Chukwuka, 2003
MauritiusPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
MayottePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
MozambiquePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
NigeriaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Akobundu and Agyakwa, 1987It is suggested that the plant gained entrance into Nigeria through Ogbomoso with imported seeds of Zea mays.
RéunionWidespreadIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
RwandaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Bamps and Farron, 1967; USDA-ARS, 2018
RwandaPresentIntroducedBamps and Farron, 1967; USDA-ARS, 2018
South AfricaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Germishuizen and Meyer, 2003KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresent, few occurrencesIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
SwazilandPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
TanzaniaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Tropical Biology Association, 2010
-ZanzibarWidespread Invasive Williams, 1949
TogoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
UgandaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Tropical Biology Association, 2010
ZambiaWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Muoghalu and Chuba, 2005
ZimbabweWidespreadIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018

North America

MexicoPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2018
USARestricted distributionIntroducedUSDA-NRCS, 2018
-FloridaPresentIntroducedRadford, 1980; USDA-NRCS, 2018
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedWagner et al., 1999; USDA-NRCS, 2018
-TexasPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018

Central America and Caribbean

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
BahamasPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
BarbadosPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
BelizeWidespreadNative Invasive Natural Balick, 2000
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Costa RicaPresentNative Natural USDA-ARS, 2018
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012; USDA-ARS, 2018
DominicaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
El SalvadorPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2018
GrenadaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
GuatemalaWidespreadNative Invasive Natural Standley and Steyermark, 1946
HondurasPresentNative Natural USDA-ARS, 2018
JamaicaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2018
MartiniquePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
MontserratPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
NicaraguaWidespreadNative Natural Stevens, 2001
PanamaWidespreadNative Natural Woodson and Schery, 1980
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018

South America

BrazilPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
ChileRestricted distributionIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
-Easter IslandPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
ColombiaPresentUSDA-ARS, 2018
EcuadorPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018

Europe

SpainRestricted distributionIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018Adventive in Canary Islands

Oceania

AustraliaWidespreadIntroducedHnatiuk, 1990
-New South WalesWidespreadIntroducedHnatiuk, 1990
-QueenslandWidespreadIntroducedHnatiuk, 1990
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
FijiPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
NiuePresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
SamoaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
TongaPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018
VanuatuPresentIntroducedUSDA-ARS, 2018

History of Introduction and Spread

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T. diversifolia was first recorded in China as an ornamental in Banna, a county in Yunnan province, in 1936 (Wang et al., 2004). By the 1950s T. diversifolia was planted in villages and along the roadsides for landscaping in Banna, Luxi, Gengma and Cangyuan counties (all in Yunnan Province). Wang et al. (2004) reported it as naturalized in Yunnan province as early as the 1930s. T. diversifolia is currently distributed in up to 64 counties. In the 1970s, farmers grew more T. diversifolia as green manure but abandoned it with the emergence of chemical fertilizers. Populations have expanded northward to latitude 25º45´N in Yunnan, where they are now commonly established at altitudes of 76–2000 m. It is now found in 60% of Yunnan.

Akobundu and Agyakwa (1987) suggested that T. diversifolia entered Nigeria through Ogbomoso, a city in southwest Nigeria, with imported seeds of Zea mays. In Vietnam, T. diversifolia grows wild in the highlands. In Kenya it was first introduced as an ornamental plant in the 1940s, and has now spread to western and central provinces, coastal regions and parts of the Rift Valley.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Kenya Central America ? Ornamental purposes (pathway cause) Yes No
Nigeria Israel Late 1970's Seed trade (pathway cause) Yes No Akobundu and Agyakwa (1987); Lordbanju (1991) Imported in maize seeds
Yunnan Mexico 1930's Yes No Wang et al. (2004)

Risk of Introduction

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T. diversifolia is able to proliferate strongly both vegetatively and sexually (from seeds), which can allow it to spread throughout areas where some plants are already established. There is a risk that seeds may be introduced via important crop or ornamental seeds; Akobundu and Agyakwa (1987) suggested that T. diversifolia entered Nigeria via imported seeds of Zea mays.

Habitat

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The most common locations of T. diversifolia are roadsides, wastelands, hedges around crop fields, along narrow paths and around homesteads (Ng’inja et al., 1998). In Yunnan, China, T. diversifolia commonly establishes at altitudes of 76-2000 m.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Other
Soil Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Cultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Principal habitat Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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Imeokpara and Okusanya (1994) observed that most farmers found it difficult to manage T. diversifolia infestation in most crop fields, but particularly rice and maize fields. T. diversifolia has been reported to contain some allelochemicals and therefore may be capable of posing a serious phytotoxicity threat to agricultural crops. Goffin et al. (2002) isolated tagitinin C, a known sesquiterpene lactone (Pal et al., 1977; Baruah et al., 1994), from the aerial parts of T. diversifolia. According to Ayeni et al. (1997) several studies have indicated that these allelochemicals and their derivatives are toxic and may inhibit shoot and root growth and nutrient uptake of several plants. Ilori et al. (2007) similarly observed that the radical growth of Oryza sativa was inhibited by aqueous extract of T. diversifolia.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Amaranthus cruentus (redshank)AmaranthaceaeOther
Chromolaena odorata (Siam weed)AsteraceaeWild host
Imperata cylindrica (cogon grass)PoaceaeOther
Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeOther
Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)PoaceaeOther
Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeOther

Growth Stages

Top of page Pre-emergence, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

In the genus Tithonia, a chromosome count of 2n = 34 and x = 17 is dominant, and polyploidy has not been found (Goldblatt and Johnson, 2012).

Reproductive biology

The plant flowers and produces seeds throughout the year. Typically mature plants produce 80,000 to 160,000 seeds per square meter annually, 70% of which fully develop.

Field observations indicated that T. diversifolia has a great capacity to grow clonally. The clonal growth is especially common during rainy reason, when adventitious roots and young shoots rapidly emerge from nodes on lower or prostrate branches and clonal growth contributes to extensive horizontal expansion of patches, which together leads to the creation of dense stands.

It is believed that an invasivion of T. diversifolia might first develop from the limited seeds or young branches in the new ranges, from which a small population gradually establishes. After several growth cycles the population expands through both strong clonal proliferation and seedling regeneration, forming a large mono-dominant community. Eventually, this community acts as a source for further spread of T. diversifolia into new regions.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 15 31

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall1002000mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)

The pubescent seed with a pappus can be dispersed by wind, and can also be carried over large areas by water currents. Field observations (Wang et al. 2004) indicated that clonal proliferation was common, especially during the rainy reason.

Vectors

Humans and livestock can carry T. diversifolia seeds over large distances.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AircraftSeed in luggage to be planted as ornamental Yes Yes
Bulk freight or cargo Yes Akobundu and Agyakwa, 1987
Mulch, straw, baskets and sod Yes
Wind Yes Yes Roothaert and Paterson, 1997

Impact Summary

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

Economic Impact

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Farmers can lose a lot of money controlling T. diversifolia in their crop fields. The plant also destroys grazing land for domestic animals.

Environmental Impact

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Areas highly infested by T. divesifolia experience a reduction in biodiversity since grass species growing beneath it are destroyed due to the allelopathic effect of the plant.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
  • Has high genetic variability
Impact outcomes
  • Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
  • Conflict
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Increases vulnerability to invasions
  • Loss of medicinal resources
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
  • Negatively impacts forestry
  • Negatively impacts animal health
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
  • Negatively impacts tourism
  • Reduced amenity values
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
  • Negatively impacts animal/plant collections
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition
  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
  • Hybridization
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses

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Fodder

Many studies suggest that T. diversifolia can be used as feed for a variety of animals, such as cows, goats (Pathoummalangsy and Preston, 2008) and fish. The leaves, soft branches and even the plant’s yellow flowers are eaten. T. diversifolia has a high nutritive-quality index.

Fuel

Tithonia is used by some farmers as a source of firewood.

Medicine

An infusion of leaves is used as an anti-malarial (Oyewole et al., 2008), as a medicine for constipation, stomach pains, liver pains, indigestion and sore throats, as an antiviral (Cos et al., 2002; Chiang et al., 2004), antidiabetic, antidiarrhoeal, antimicrobial (Tona et al., 1998), antispasmodic (Goffin et al., 2002), vasorelaxant and cancer-chemopreventive (Agboola et al., 2006).

Pesticide

T. diversifolia is known to contain sesquiterpene lactones and diterpenoids (Chagas et al., 2012), some of which have biological activities against insects such as termites (Adoyo et al., 1997). Most bioassays have been conducted using extracts, although there is no specific information about which compounds are responsible for its insecticidal effect. In Uganda, farmers use it in field and for storage pest management (Mwine et al., 2011).

Soil Improver

Crops such as maize respond well when leaves and cuttings are applied at a rate of 1 t/ha, but best results are obtained with 5 t/ha of leafy dry matter. This is equivalent to about 159 kg N, 15 kg P, 161 kg K, 100 kg Ca and 15 kg Mn per hectare. Yields of kale, French beans, tomatoes and Napier grass all increased when these crops were planted with T. diversifolia (Jama et al., 2000; Olabode et al., 2007).

Ornamental

T. diversifolia is sometimes planted as an ornamental plant.

Boundary or Barrier or Support

T. diversifolia is used for live fencing and boundary demarcation in East Africa (Lusweti et al. 2011).

Environmental Services

Many studies suggest that T. diversifolia can be used for soil erosion control as it forms dense stands that reduce the impact of rain on soil and soil run-off (Nguyen et al., 2010).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed
  • Forage

Environmental

  • Boundary, barrier or support
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Soil conservation
  • Soil improvement

Fuels

  • Fuelwood

General

  • Ornamental
  • Research model
  • Ritual uses

Materials

  • Fertilizer
  • Green manure
  • Manure
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Mulches
  • Pesticide

Ornamental

  • Cut flower
  • Potted plant
  • Propagation material
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Another introduced species of Tithonia, T. rotundifolia (red sunflower) can be confused with T. diversifolia, especially before it flowers. T. rotundifolia can grow to a similar size in similar habitats but has leaves either without lobes or with a maximum of three lobes. The flowers are similar in shape, slightly smaller and bright orange or red.  Very rarely it can have yellow flowers similar to T. diversifolia.

Prevention and Control

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Taken from Lusweti et al., (2011):

T. diversifolia can be dug out when numbers are low. Slashing can result in re-sprouting from uncut stumps. Suitable herbicides can be applied as a foliar spray or a spot spray.

References

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Adoyo F, Mukalama JB, Enyola M, 1997. Using Tithonia concoctions for termite control in Busia District, Kenya. ILEIA Newsletter, 13(4):24-25.

Agnew ADQ, 1974. Upland Kenya wild flowers: a flora of the ferns and herbaceous flowering plants of upland Kenya, Ed. 2:vi + 374 pp.

Akobundu IO, Agyakwa CW, 1987. A Handbook of West African Weeds. Oyo State, Ibadan, Nigeria: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.

Ambasta SP, 1986. The useful plants of India. New Delhi, India: Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, 918pp.

Arias J, Martin ME, Gimenez MJ, 1982. Chemical control of new weed in northern Argentina, Tithonia tubaeformis (Jacq). Maleza, 11:177-181.

Ayeni AO, Lordbanjou DT, Majek BA, 1997. Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower) in south-western Nigeria: occurrence and growth habit. Weed Research, 37:443-449.

Balick MJ, 2000. Checklist of the vascular plants of Belize, with common names and uses. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, 85.

Bamps P, Farron C, 1967. Flora of the Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Spermatophytes. Ochnaceae. (Flore du Congo du Rwanda et du Burundi. Spermatophytes. Ochnaceae.) Flore du Congo du Rwanda et du Burundi. Brussels, Belgium: Jardin botanique national de Belgique, 66 pp.

Baruah NC, Sarma JC, Sharma RP, 1994. Germination and growth inhibitory sesquiterpene lactones and a flavone from Tithonia diversifolia. Phytochemistry, 36:29-36.

Beentje HJ, 1994. National Museums of Kenya., Kenya: National Museums of Kenya.

Blake SF, 1921. Revision of the genus Tithonia. Contributions from the US National Herbarium, 20:428-436.

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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.
Global Invasive Species Databasehttp://www.issg.org/database/welcome

Contributors

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29/01/14 Original text by:

Aool Winnifred, National Agricultural Research Laboratories Kawanda, Kampala, Uganda

Opio Samuel Morris, National Crops Resource Research Institute, Kampala, Uganda

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