Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Alphitonia excelsa
(Fenzl.) Benth., Rhamnaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Colubrina excelsa A. Cunn. ex Fenzl

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Cooper's-wood, leather-jacket, mountain-ash, pink-almond, red ash, red tweedie, red-almond, soaptree, white-myrtle, whiteleaf

Habit:  tree

Description:  "This tree...is characterized by ovate-elliptic leaves with white undersides, even in the seedling stage.  Damaged young shoots emit an odor of sarsaparilla.  The fruit is a bluish black drupe, ca. 1.3 cm in diameter"  (Daehler & Baker, 2006; p. 10).

"Small to medium-sized tree with buds and young stems grey to golden-brown hairy. Leaves elliptic or ovate to oblong, mostly 5-14 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, dark green, glossy and finely reticulate above, densely white-hairy below with the veins raised and brownish green; petiole 5-10 mm long: stipules 2-10 mm long. Fruit ovoid to globose, 5-10 mm in diameter, black"  (New South Wales Flora Online).

"Alphitonia ponderosa Hillebr. [native to Hawai‘i] can be distinguished from A. excelsa, A. Zizyphoides, and A. franguloides only in the size of the fruit and its lack of or tardy dehiscence.  Rock may have made the most reasonable interpretation in placing them all together; however, until further study can be done on this group, which ranges nearly throughout the Pacific region, the large-fruited Hawaiian populations should be maintained as an endemic species"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1092).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i (O‘ahu), naturalized in Lyon Arboretum where  "dozens of saplings and mature trees were found in Haukulu along with hundreds of seedlings"  (Daehler & Baker, 2006; p. 10).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Malesia and Australia (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (year unknown) (voucher ID: BISH 637308)
Taxon name on voucher: Alphitonia excelsa (Fenzl.) Benth.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Daehler, Curtis C./Baker, Raymond F. (2006) (pp. 10-11)
Vouchers cited: C. Daehler 1088 (BISH), K. Nagata 534 (BISH)
Papua New Guinea
Bismarck Archipelago
Bismarck Archipelago   Peekel, P. G. [translated by E. E. Henty] (1984) (pp. 345-346)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Australia (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Western Australia
Australia
Australia (continental)
New South Wales native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Northern Territory native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 20 FEB 2010 and was last updated on 21 APR 2010.