Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

Basella alba
L., Basellaceae
Click on an image for links to BIGGER PICTURES


Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 8 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Basella cordifolia Lam.; Basella rubra L.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: luo kui

English: Ceylon spinach, Indian spinach, Malabar nightshade, Malabar spinach, vine spinach

French: baselle, brède d'Angola, brède de Malabar, épinard de Malabar

Hawaiian: ‘īnika

Japanese: tsuru-murasaki

Spanish: espinaca blanca, espinaca de Malabar

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Glabrous annual or shortly lived perennial, succulent tangled twiner; stems much branched, 2-10 m long, sometimes almost leafless, greenish or reddish.  Leaf-lamina ovate to suborbicular, (2-) 5-15 cm long, (1.25-) 5-13.5 cm broad, acute or acuminate (less commonly obtuse), usually widely cordate at the base; lateral nerves 4-5 on either side; petiole (1-) 2.5-6.5 cm long.  Flowers white, rose or purplish, (3-) 4-5 mm long, in long-peduncled spikes, 2.5-15 (-25) cm long, usually unbranched (in African specimens at least) but branched in some cultivated forms.  Perianth fleshy, urceolate, somewhat saccate at bhe base; lobes short, ovate, about one-third the length of the tube, not opening.  Fruits ± 0.5 cm in diameter (4-7 x 5-10) mm (according to van Steenis), red, white or black; surface crinkly in the dry state" (Verdcourt, 1968; p. 2).

Habitat/ecology:  In Africa, "in thickets, forest edges, margins of cultivated land and swampy ground, frequently by rivers or streams; 0 (cultivated)-2450 m" (Verdcourt, 1968; p. 2).

Propagation:  Seed and locally by underground rhizomes  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 173).

Native range:  "Precise native range not known, but is presumed to be Africa or somewhere in Asia.  Today it is cultivated as a food plant throughout warm regions of the world"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 173).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cook Islands
Cook Islands
Cook Islands introduced
cultivated
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 48)
Voucher cited: H.M. Smith 87
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J. (2004) (p. 86)
Adventive.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Adventice
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Nagata, Kenneth M. (1995) (pp. 11-12)
Voucher cited: Nagata 3948 (BISH, HLA)
Naturalized
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 103)
Voucher cited: Thaman & Manner 138 (SUVA)
New Guinea (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea)
New Guinea Island
New Guinea Island introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Palau Islands (main island group)   Lorence, David H./Flynn, Tim (2010) (p. 23)
Palau
Rock Islands (Chelbacheb)
Ngeanges Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 62)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
invasive
cultivated
abo. intro.
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 137)
In the settled areas, in hedges, old cultivated areas, etc.; often Planted. A prehistoric introduction.
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Midway Atoll
Midway Atoll introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1864)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia (Kingdom of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
China
China
China (People's Republic of) possibly native
invasive
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
"Widely cultivated. Naturalized in S. China. Sometimes regarded as native, this species has long been cultivated as a vegetable and an ornamental".
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 80)
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Java, Sumatra
Naturalized
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 181)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) introduced
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 18)
Cultivated only
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of) introduced
invasive
cultivated
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
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
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1993) (p. 17)


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

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

This page was created on 10 MAY 2005 and was last updated on 2 MAR 2013.