Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Bauhinia tomentosa
(yellow bauhinia)

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Datasheet

Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 21 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Bauhinia tomentosa
  • Preferred Common Name
  • yellow bauhinia
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Bauhinia tomentosa is a fast-growing shrub or small tree that has been introduced outside its native range to be used principally as an ornamental (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); close view of flower. 15.9 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.
TitleFlower
CaptionBauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); close view of flower. 15.9 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.
Copyright©V.R. Vinayaraj-2012/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); close view of flower. 15.9 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.
FlowerBauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); close view of flower. 15.9 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.©V.R. Vinayaraj-2012/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.
TitleFoliage
CaptionBauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.
Copyright©V.R. Vinayaraj-2012/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.
FoliageBauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012.©V.R. Vinayaraj-2012/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage and unripe seed pods. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012
TitleFoliage
CaptionBauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage and unripe seed pods. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012
Copyright©V.R. Vinayaraj-2012/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0
Bauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage and unripe seed pods. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012
FoliageBauhinia tomentosa (yellow bauhinia); foliage and unripe seed pods. 16.1 km E of Mattanūr, northern Kerala, India. November 2012©V.R. Vinayaraj-2012/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bauhinia tomentosa L.

Preferred Common Name

  • yellow bauhinia

Other Scientific Names

  • Alvesia bauhinioides Welw.
  • Alvesia tomentosa (L.) Britton & Rose
  • Bauhinia pubescens DC.
  • Bauhinia tomentosa var. glabrata Hook. f.
  • Bauhinia volkensii Taub.
  • Bauhinia wituensis Harms
  • Pauletia tomentosa (L.) A.Schmitz

International Common Names

  • English: bell bauhinia; St. Thomas tree
  • Spanish: bauhinia amarilla; flor de azufre; guacamaya americana; mariposa; petán
  • French: fleur du sacré-coeur
  • Chinese: huang hua yang ti jia

Local Common Names

  • Cuba: bauhinia; gorro de Napoleón; guacamaya americana
  • India: kachnar
  • South Africa: Geelbeesklou; IsiThibathibana
  • Sri Lanka: kaha-petan; petan

Summary of Invasiveness

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Bauhinia tomentosa is a fast-growing shrub or small tree that has been introduced outside its native range to be used principally as an ornamental (USDA-ARS, 2015). It has escaped from cultivation and successfully established in a wide variety of habitats such as disturbed sites, roadsides, coastal forests, riverine forests and thickets (PROTA, 2015). Species traits such as the high production of seeds, a high germination rate, and the ability to grow in shade or in sunny areas are factors enabling the establishment and colonization of this species into new areas (Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2015). Once established, it grows displacing native vegetation (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012). Currently, B. tomentosa is listed as invasive only in Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012) but it is widely cultivated and naturalized across the West Indies (Broome et al., 2007; Acevedo and Strong, 2012). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
  •                                 Genus: Bauhinia
  •                                     Species: Bauhinia tomentosa

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Fabaceae is one of the largest families of flowering plants, including about 745 genera and 19,500 species distributed worldwide growing in a great variety of climates and environments (Stevens, 2012). Bauhinia is listed within the tribe Cercideae in the Caesalpinoideae subfamily. This genus comprises about 250 species of trees, lianas, and shrubs distributed principally in tropical and temperate regions of the world (Connor, 2001; Stevens, 2012). Bauhinia species are frequently planted as ornamentals for their showy flowers and foliage (Connor, 2001).

The genus name "Bauhinia" honours herbalist brothers from the 16th century, Johann and Caspar Bauhin. They were identical twin brothers, making it a very apt name, as the two lobes of the leaves, when folded together, are identical. The name of the species “tomentosa” is derived from tomentose meaning dense, interwoven hairs (Roux, 2005; Orwa et al., 2009). 

Description

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Shrubs, erect, to 4 m tall. Young branches puberulent. Stipules linear, ca. 1 cm; petiole 1.5-3 cm, slender; leaf blade sub­orbicular, 3-7 × 4-8 cm, papery, abaxially tomentose, adaxially glabrous, base cordate, 7-9-veined, apex bifid, lobes rounded at apex. Inflorescence a lateral raceme, 1-3-flowered; pedicel short; bracts and bracteoles linear, 4-7 mm. Flower buds fusiform, 2 cm, puberulent. Hypanthium turbinate, 5 mm. Calyx split spathaceously at anthesis. Petals light yellowish, subequal, broadly obovate, 4-5.5 × 3-4 cm, subsessile. Fertile stamens 10, unequal; filaments 1-2 cm, puberulent at base. Ovary stalked, tomentose; style slender, glabrous; stigma peltate, small. Legume flat, linear, 7-15 × 1.2-1.5 cm, sutures not ridged; valves leathery, splitting on the tree to release 6-12 seeds. Seeds brownish, compressed, 6-8 mm in diameter (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Shrub
Woody

Distribution

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B. tomentosa is native to India, Sri Lanka, and parts of tropical and Southern Africa from Ethiopia southwards to KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa (see distribution table for details; Roux, 2005; PROTA, 2015; USDA-ARS, 2015). 

Distribution Table

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

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

Africa

AngolaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
BeninPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
Burkina FasoPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
CameroonPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
Central African RepublicPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015)
ChadPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentCABI (Undated b)
DjiboutiPresentPROTA (2015)
EgyptPresentPROTA (2015)
EthiopiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
GambiaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
GhanaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
GuineaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
KenyaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
LiberiaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
MadagascarPresentPROTA (2015)
MalawiPresentPROTA (2015)
MaliPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
MauritaniaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
MozambiquePresentNativePROTA (2015)
NigerPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
NigeriaPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
RwandaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
SenegalPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
Sierra LeonePresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
SomaliaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
South AfricaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
SudanPresentPROTA (2015)
TanzaniaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
TogoPresentIntroducedPROTA (2015)Cultivated
UgandaPresentPROTA (2015)
ZambiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
ZimbabwePresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)

Asia

ChinaPresentCABI (Undated a)Present based on regional distribution.
-FujianPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Cultivated
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Cultivated
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Cultivated
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Cultivated
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Cultivated
IndiaPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015); CABI (Undated)
-KarnatakaPresentNativeIndia Biodiversity Portal (2016)
-KeralaPresentNativeIndia Biodiversity Portal (2016)
-MaharashtraPresentNativeIndia Biodiversity Portal (2016)
-Tamil NaduPresentNativeIndia Biodiversity Portal (2016)
PakistanPresentIntroducedIndia Biodiversity Portal (2016)Cultivated
Sri LankaPresentNativeOrwa et al. (2009)
TaiwanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee (2015)Cultivated
YemenPresentNativeUSDA-ARS (2015)

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
BarbadosPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)Tortola
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasiveOviedo Prieto et al. (2012)
DominicaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
HaitiPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
MartiniquePresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
MontserratPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedBroome et al. (2007)
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodríguez and Strong (2012)St Croix, St Thomas

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of B. tomentosa is moderate to high, principally in disturbed areas near cultivation. This species is widely commercialized as an ornamental, and mature plants produce large amounts of seeds which may facilitate the establishment and colonization of this species into new areas (Orwa et al., 2009). 

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
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 Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Scrub / shrublands Present, no further details 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

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for B. tomentosa is 2n = 28 (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Reproductive Biology

The flowers of B. tomentosa are bisexual, rich in pollen and nectar, and attract various insects such as butterflies and bees (Roux, 2005).

Physiology and Phenology

In Africa, B. tomentosa trees start flowering when they are two year-old and are usually very floriferous, bearing flowers during most months of the year. In southern Africa, flowering can be observed from December to March; young fruits appear in January and mature in June or later (PROTA, 2015). In China, B. tomentosa produces flowers and fruits almost year-round (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015).

Associations

In South Africa, B. tomentosa is a host plant for many butterfly species, with the larvae feeding on the leaves (Roux, 2005).

Environmental Requirements

B. tomentosa grows in dry and moist habitats from sea level up to 1500 metres. It grows best on soils with pH ranging from 5.6 to 6.5. It has the potential to grow in both shaded and full sunny areas. Adult plants can tolerate a moderate amount of frost, but seedlings and younger plants do not tolerate frost (Roux, 2005; Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2015). 

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 12 28

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall450900mm; lower/upper limits

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • light
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The butterfly Deudorix diocles breeds in the pods of species including B. tomentosa, and larvae feed on the fruits and seeds. The flower buds and mature flowers are consumed by the grey lourie bird (Corythaixoides concolor). (Orwa et al., 2009). 

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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B. tomentosa spreads by seeds. Fruits split on the tree to release 6-12 seeds/legume. Seeds can also be dispersed by water and by humans (Roux, 2005; Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2015).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
DisturbanceNaturalized in disturbed sites Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Hedges and windbreaksPlanted as hedge plant in gardens and agricultural lands Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Medicinal useUsed in Asian and African traditional medicine Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2015
Nursery tradeWidely cultivated as ornamental Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Ornamental purposesWidely cultivated as ornamental Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Timber tradeWood used to make rafters for huts Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesCultivated as ornamental. Seeds escaped from gardens Yes Yes Orwa et al., 2009
Soil, sand and gravelSeeds Yes Yes PROTA, 2015
WaterSeeds Yes Yes

Impact Summary

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

Environmental Impact

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B. tomentosa is a fast growing shrub with the potential to invade and displace native vegetation: it is now invading insular forests in Cuba (Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012

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
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - smothering
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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B. tomentosa is primarily cultivated as an ornamental shrub. It is also used as a hedge plant along fences or between blocks on agricultural lands. Trees yield a fibre suitable for making baskets. The wood of B. tomentosa is used to make rafters for huts. Leaves are used to manufacture a yellow dye and as a fodder for goats.

This species also has widespread medicinal uses including as a febrifugal, antidiarrhoeal and antidysenteric remedy, and it is also used as an astringent. The fruit is said to be diuretic, and the seed is eaten in India as a tonic and aphrodisiac (Orwa et al., 2009).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Fodder/animal feed

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Boundary, barrier or support

General

  • Ornamental

Materials

  • Dyestuffs
  • Fibre

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Propagation material

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez P; Strong MT, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, 98:1192 pp. Washington DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Broome R; Sabir K; Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

Connor KF, 2001. Bauhinia variegata. In: Tropical Tree Seed Manual, Agriculture Handbook 721 [ed. by Vozzo, J. A.]. Washington, USA: USDA Forest Service.

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of China. St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

ILDIS, 2015. International Legume Database and Information Service. Reading, UK: School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading. http://www.ildis.org/

India Biodiversity Portal, 2016. Online Portal of India Biodiversity. http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

Orwa C; Mutua A; Kindt R; Jamnadass R; Simons A, 2009. Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. World Agroforestry Centre. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af/treedb/

Oviedo Prieto R; Herrera Oliver P; Caluff MG, et al. , 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 6(Special Issue 1):22-96.

PROTA, 2015. PROTA4U web database. Grubben GJH, Denton OA, eds. Wageningen, Netherlands: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. http://www.prota4u.info

Roux LNLe, 2005. Bauhinia tomentosa in PlantZAfrica.com., South Africa: Lowveld National Botanical Garden. http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantab/bauhintoment.htm

Stevens PF, 2012. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/

USDA-ARS, 2015. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysearch.aspx

Distribution References

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Broome R, Sabir K, Carrington S, 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean., Barbados: University of the West Indies. http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated b. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2015. Flora of China., St. Louis, Missouri; Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria. http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

India Biodiversity Portal, 2016. Online Portal of India Biodiversity., http://indiabiodiversity.org/species/list

Orwa C, Mutua A, Kindt R, Jamnadass R, Simons A, 2009. Agroforestree Database: a tree reference and selection guide version 4.0. In: World Agroforestry Centre, http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af/treedb/

Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PROTA, 2015. PROTA4U web database., [ed. by Grubben GJH, Denton OA]. Wageningen, Netherlands: Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. http://www.prota4u.info

USDA-ARS, 2015. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online Database. Beltsville, Maryland, USA: National Germplasm Resources Laboratory. https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomysimple.aspx

Contributors

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03/05/16 Original text by:

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

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