Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Batis maritima
L., Bataceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment).

Common name(s): [more details]

English: pickleweed, saltwort, turtleweed

French: herbe-à-crâbes

Hawaiian: ‘akulikuli kai

Spanish: planta de sal

Habit:  shrub

Description: 

Genus:  "Small, monoecious or dioecious, maritime shrubs 1-1.5 m tall; branches often (3) 4 (5)-angled.  Leaves simple, opposite, succulent, margins entire, sessile, stipules minute and caducous.  Flowers unisexual, in small, strobiloid, axillary or terminal spikes, each flower initially enclosed by a membranous saccate organ (perhaps calyx or bracteoles) that eventually splits into 2 or 4 lobes or only along 1 side; perianth parts 4, distinct (sometimes considered to be staminodes), absent in pistillate flowers; stamens 4, alternate with the perianth; anthers dithecal, opening by longitudinal slits; gynoecium vestigial in staminate flowers, in pistillate flowers the superior ovary 2-carpellate, 4-celled, the 2 primary cells each divided by a partition from the carpel midrib to the central axis, placentation parietal-basal, ovules 1 per cell, anatropous; stigmas 2, sessile.  Fruit drupaceous, adapted to dispersal by flotation in saltwater.  Seeds without endosperm and perisperm"  (Wagner et al., 1999, pp. 381-382).

Species:  "Plants dioecious  Flowers initally enclosed by a membranous saccate organ that eventually splits near the top into 2 or 4 lobes"  (Wagner et al., 1999, p. 382).

"Dioecious, stems prostrate to ascending, < 1.5 m, base woody. Leaf 1-2 cm, ± cylindric, linear-oblanceolate. Inflorescence: staminate 5-10 mm, ovoid-cylindric, bractlets rounded; pistillate < 1 cm in fruit, short peduncled. Staminate flower: perianth parts white, triangular; stamens exserted" (Jepson Manual online).

"Sap salty, smells like pickles"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Habitat/ecology:  "Saltwort is uncommon to abundant in low-laying areas near seashores. It grows in salt marshes, at the upper edge of tidal flats, at the edge of mangrove stands, and between scattered mangroves. It is recognized as a major colonizer after mangroves are destroyed by hurricanes.  Although it is not a water plant, it can endure brief flooding and long periods of waterlogged soils (Nelson 1996). Saltwort grows slowly in soils with high salt concentrations and areas with seawater overwash where it suffers little competition from other plants. The species manages salts by sequestering them in cell vacuoles and eventually shedding the leaves (Barbuda Turf Company 2002). It also grows in soils without salt but is vulnerable to competition from nonhalophytes. The soils are usually sandy, marly, or gravely. Deposits of wrack (dead plant material) by high tides have been shown to be beneficial to the species (Pennings and Richards 1998). Saltwort is intolerant of shade. The species is not seriously affected by insects, disease, or grazing"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

In Hawai‘i, "naturalized in coastal areas"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 382); "common along coastal areas in brackish ponds and marshes and on saline soils.  Smothers low-growing coastal natives and invades anchihaline ponds"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Propagation:  "Flowering and fruiting occurs year-round in Puerto Rico. Little is known about seed production or germination. Most effective reproduction of the species appears to be vegetative. Sprouting from the root crown occurs with and without disturbance. Layering is a constant process of prostrate stems. New plants can be started by cuttings and probably broken pieces of plants are carried to new habitat by water and machinery.  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Native range:  "Coastal regions of tropical and subtropical America and the Galapagos Islands" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 382).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Galápagos Islands
Galápagos Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaho‘olawe Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Ni‘ihau Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 382)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)

Control: 

Physical:  "National Park staff at Koloko-Honokohau remove most of the biomass by hand and treat resprouts with a propane torch"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical: "Sensitive to foliar applications of tryclopyr ester at 1 lb./acre, especially with an oil carrier; glyphosate at 1 lb./acre; sulfometuron at 0.5 lb./acre and soil applications of bromacil at 5 lb./acre and hexazinone at 5 lb/acre.   [National Park staff at Koloko-Honokohau] also reported good control of resprouts with glyphosate at 1.5% Rodeo® applied to wet foliage (Chris Zimmer, HAVO)"  (Motooka et al., 2003).


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

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This page was created on 22 DEC 2007 and was last updated on 30 DEC 2011.