Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Piper aduncum
L., Piperaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 18 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: bamboo piper, matico, spiked pepper

Fijian: Honolulu yaqon, yanggona ni Onolulu, yaqona ni Onolulu

Spanish: cordoncillo, higuillo

Habit:  shrub/tree

Description:  "Small tree to 7 m tall, with short silt roots and soft, brittle wood; foliage and twigs aromatic.  Branches erect, but with drooping twigs and swollen, purplish nodes.  Leaves alternate, distichous, elliptic, 12-22 cm long, shortly petiolate; lamina scabrid above, with sunken nerves, softly hairy beneath.  Inflorescence a leaf-opposed, curved spike on a 12-17 cm peduncle, white to pale yellow, turning green with maturity.  Flowers crowded in regular transverse ranks.  Perianth absent; usually 4 stamens.  Fruit a 1-seeded berry, blackish when ripe.  Seeds brown to black, 0.7 -1.25 mm long, compressed, with a reticulate surface"  (Waterhouse and Mitchell, 1998; pp. 59-60).

Habitat/ecology:  "Disturbed rainforest and margins at low elevation, particularly moderate to high rainfall areas.  Aggressive coloniser of clearings.  A serious weed of grazing land and abandoned gardens in Papua New Guinea.  Environmental weed after forestry operations." (Waterhouse & Mitchell, 1998).  "Tropical hammocks, forests and forest edges, slopes, disturbed sites.  In the native range, this plant is found in evergreen forests, humid woodland, and riparian habitats, occurring from sea level to 2,000 m elevation.  It is a fast growing pioneer shrub that establishes well in disturbed sites and quickly builds up dense thickets that impede growth and regeneration of native species.  The dense canopies reduce light and shade out herbaceous species.  The invasion of secondary forests and cleared areas can suppress natural forest regeneration as native tree and shrub species are unable to establish seedlings in these dense thickets"  (Weber, 2003; p. 331).

In Fiji, an aggressive weed from sea level to 400 m, most often "along roadsides and in thickets, but also sometimes in secondary forest or on forested ridges, rarely in intact rain forest" (Smith, 1981).  "P. aduncum is definitely an emerging problem on the Indonesian side of New Guinea (now known as Papua). We find it throughout Jayapura regency along all roadsides - especially quick to colonise non-metalled roads - seeds traveling in the mud on wheels. This plant forms total monocultures invading agricultural fields near roads to the point where farmers are forced to abandon the areas and open up new plot from primary rain forest. (Neville Kemp, communications to Aliens listserver). In New Guinea, "an aggressive coloniser of clearings, and a serious weed of grazing land; avoided by livestock. Widespread at low altitudes" (Henty & Pritchard, 1975; p. 134).

Propagation:  Tiny seeds dispersed by birds and flying foxes. May be introduced into new areas on machinery, particularly logging equipment. Locally, it spreads by suckers, forming large clumps. "Individual fruiting spikes contain huge numbers of tiny seeds that are dispersed by birds and mammals, and as contaminants of vehicles and logging equipment" (Waterhouse and Mitchell, 1998; pp. 59-60).

Native range:  "Native to the Greater and Lesser Antilles and on the mainland from Mexico to northern Argentina. The species has been widely planted as an ornamental and has spread by the movement of equipment between land masses"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

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)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1981) (p. 58)
Vouchers cited: Smith 8819, Greenwood 1028, DF 425, DA 9591, Meebold 16884, DA 11302, DA 3149, DA 8387, Parks 20282, DA 9410, Smith 7248, Webster & Hildreth 14082, Gillespie 2079, DA 9225 (McKee 2790), Tothill 835
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1955) (voucher ID: BISH 33695)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1936) (voucher ID: BISH 169650)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1927) (voucher ID: BISH 169653)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1927) (voucher ID: BISH 169654)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1927) (voucher ID: BISH 169655)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1953) (voucher ID: BISH 169656)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1927) (voucher ID: BISH 169657)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1937) (voucher ID: BISH 169658)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1926) (voucher ID: BISH 169660)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1943) (voucher ID: BISH 169661)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1953) (voucher ID: BISH 169662)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Starr, Forest/Starr, Kim/Loope, Lloyd L. (2004) (pp. 25-26)
East Maui. Voucher cited: Starr, Starr & Fukada 020913-2 (BISH).
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2010) (p. 14)
Voucher cited: A. Lau & D. Orr 2008070301 (BISH)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
invasive
Waterhouse, B. M./Mitchell, A. A. (1998) (pp. 59-60)
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. 134)
Widespread at low altitudes.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Mbanika Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1991) (voucher ID: BISH 597802)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Mbanika Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1991) (voucher ID: BISH 1002372)
Taxon name on voucher: Piper aduncum L.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 95)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 99)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
invasive
Orapa, Warea (2005)
Munda and Noro
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) probably native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (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)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Waterhouse, B. M./Mitchell, A. A. (1998) (pp. 59-60)
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)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 70)
Naturalised
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
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 123)
Garden remnant.
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)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
Francis, John K., ed. (2009)

Comments:  A major invasive species on disturbed areas in Papua New Guinea: "Piper aduncum is increasingly coming to the attention of those of us concerned with identification of 'new' or threatening weeds and I would predict that you will hear more about it in the future. In Papua New Guinea it rapidly invades fallow land, apparently causing almost complete exclusion of native species at some sites. There is cause for concern over the impact that it will have on forest regeneration in recently logged areas and I believe that in some places it is even giving that other scourge Chromolaena odorata a 'run for its money'.

"In the light of reports of the status of Piper aduncum in Fiji, this species was added to the revised Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy weed "target list" (Waterhouse and Mitchell, 1998; pp. 59-60). It has been pre-emptively prohibited entry to Australia, and just in case it is already lurking here it is to be one of the additional species added to the new Land Protection legislation in Queensland. I believe it is covered under similar legislation elsewhere in tropical Australia."  (Barbara Waterhouse, communication to the Pestnet listserver)

Control:  "Specific control methods for this species are not available.  Seedlings and saplings may be pulled or dug out.  Larger shrub can be cut and the cut stumps treated with herbicide"  (Weber, 2003; p. 331).


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 23 AUG 2011.