Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Alternanthera pungens
Kunth, Amaranthaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Reject, score: 17 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: creeping chaffweed, khaki weed, khakibur

Spanish: hierba del pollo

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Perennial herbs; stems prostrate, rarely ascending, sometimes rooting at the nodes, 1-5 dm long, pilose, the hairs multicellular.  Leaves ovate to obovate, 0.5-4.5 cm long, 0.3-2 cm wide, glabrous to sparsely appressed pilose, petioles 2-10 mm long.  Flowers in sessile, sparsely pubescent spikes, bract ca. 4 mm long, tipped with a spine 2-3 mm long, bracteoles 3-4 mm long, acute; sepals unequal, the 2 abaxial ones 4-5 mm long, spine-tipped, the spine usually more than 2 mm long, other sepals not spine-tipped; stamens 5, all fertile.  Utricles 1.2-1.5 mm long, enclosed by the sepals"  (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 183-185).

Habitat/ecology:  "Colonises bare ground and disturbed areas usually forming a dense mat, particularly around houses, lawns, camp sites, stockyards or overgrazed areas. Known to invade native pastures and out-compete more desirable species. Its large taproot makes control difficult." (Smith, 2002; p. 57). In Hawai‘i, "a common weed of beach parks and other low elevation, dry, disturbed areas" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 183-185). In New Guinea, "a weed of pastures; suspected of causing deaths of pigs and digestive disturbances and dermatitis of cattle" (Henty & Pritchard, 1975; p. 52).  In Papua New Guinea, "a weed of dry open habitats at 0-750(?) m altitude"  (Womersley, 1978).

Propagation:  "Burrs carrying seeds are spread when attached to clothing, footwear, swags, tyres, machinery and animals. Water will spread the burrs short distances. Some spread has been recorded by the movement of fodder. Populations can expand by roots forming at the nodes and by fragmentation." (Smith, 2002; p. 57).

Native range:  Neotropics, now widely naturalized in many parts of the world (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 183-185).

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
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 183-184)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David/Flynn, Tim (1999) (p. 3)
Voucher cited: D. Jamieson s.n. (PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, Randal T. (2002) (p. 2)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H109916 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, R. T. (2000) (p. 1)
West Maui. Vouchers cited: Oppenheimer H119810 (BISH), Oppenheimer H119811 (BISH), Oppenheimer H89940 (BISH), Oppenheimer H89909 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Martz, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2002) (p. 17)
East Maui. Vouchers cited: Starr & Martz 000323-1 (BISH), Starr & Martz 000608-1 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 183-184)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 183-184)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 88)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
Tassin, Jacques (2005)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 11)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 16024, MacKee 21692, MacKee 39764
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
invasive
Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. (1975) (p. 52)
Reported from dry lowland areas.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
invasive
Womersley, John S., ed. (1978) (pp. 19-20)
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)
Northern Territory introduced
invasive
Smith, Nicholas M. (2002) (p. 57)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Smith, Nicholas M. (2002) (p. 57)
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 77)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
invasive
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 103)

Comments:  Prohibited in Western Australia and a declared noxious weed in the Northern Territory (Smith, 2002; p. 57).

Control: 

Physical:  "Manual removal can give effective control if the bulk of the taproot is removed, or if roots are cut well below the soil surface"

Chemical:  "Seedlings can be treated with herbicides containing dicamba.  Established plants are treated with amitrole or picloram herbicides, best applied before flowering occurs"  (Weber, 2003; p. 41).


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

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This page was created on 26 JUL 2002 and was last updated on 17 FEB 2007.