Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Senna obtusifolia
(L.) H.S.Irwin & Barneby, Fabaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

Pacific: High risk, score: 7 (Go to the risk assessment)
Australia:  Reject, score: 14 (Go to the risk assessment)
Risk assessment of Senna obtusa from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of Queensland (Australia)

Other Latin names:  Cassia obtusifolia L.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: Chinese senna, coffee weed, habucha, java bean, sicklepod

Japanese: ebisu-gusa

Maori (Cook Islands): pī ‘aungakino

Spanish: dormidera

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Annual or perennial herbs (1-)3-12(-20) dm tall, sometimes somewhat woody toward base, foliage malodorous, roots black with yellow tips.  Leaflets 3 pairs, the distal ones larger, broadly obovate to cuneate-obovate, 1.7-6.5 cm long, 1-4 cm wide, glabrous or pubescent, margins ciliate, apex subtruncate to broadly rounded, apiculate, base with 1 side rounded to cordate, the other cuneate, petiolar nectaries between the lower and occasionally the second pair of leaflets, 1-3 mm long, stipules linear, 3.5-17 mm long, caducous.  Flowers 1-2 in the leaf axils, pedicels filiform at anthesis, greatly thickened in fruit, 7-28 mm long, bracts ovate or lanceolate, 2-5 mm long, deciduous; calyx lobes pale green, inner ones obovate or oblong-obovate, 5.5-9.5 mm long; petals pale yellow, the standard obcordate or cuneate-obcordate, the others oblong-obovate, the longest one 9-15 mm long; filaments of 4 median stamens 1-3 mm long, those of 3 abaxial stamens 1.5-4.5 mm long.  Pods ascending, chartaceous, linear, compressed, 4-angled, usually outwardly curved or sometimes almost straight, attenuate at both ends, 6-18 cm long, 0.2-0.6 cm wide, tardily dehiscent by both sutures, the cavity with well-developed interseminal septa. Seeds brown and glossy, obliquely descending, compressed-rhomboid or irregular, sometimes subcylindrical in narrow fruit, 3.2-6 mm long, crackled with age, the areole 2.5-4.2 mm long"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 700).

Habitat/ecology:  "Grassland, forest edges, riparian habitats, floodplains, disturbed sites.  This plant is a significant agricultural weed that also invades natural plant communities.  It grows in desnse thickets, competing for light, water and nutrients and displacing native vegetation.  The species is not nitrogen-fixing due to a lack of nodulation"  (Weber, 2003; p. 400). 

Common as a weed of open disturbed areas, sea level to 1200 feet. In Hawai‘i, "cultivated and naturalized on the Greenwell Ranch, Hawai‘i"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 700). Arid lowlands in the Galápagos Islands (McMullen, 1999; p. 198).  In Australia, "disturbed areas such as drainage channels, overgrazed pastures; often in dense swards along rivers and flood plains" (Smith, 2002; pp. 38-39).

Propagation:  "Seed is dispersed in mud adhering to vehicles, machinery, animal hooves and fur or as a contaminant of hay, fodder and pasture seed.  Seeds may be eaten by stock with mature seed germinating in the dung." (Smith, 2002; pp. 38-39).

Native range:  Probably neotropics. Widely cultivated for medicinal uses and naturalized. Used by the Japanese for tea. (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 700).

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)
Floreana Group
Floreana Island introduced
invasive
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
invasive
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
invasive
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
invasive
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
invasive
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santiago Group
Santiago Island introduced
invasive
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Chuuk Islands introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 98)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 98)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 96)
Naturalized
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1949) (voucher ID: BISH 153634)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna tora (L.) Roxb.
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Yap (Waqab) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 98)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
As Senna tora (Linnaeus) Roxburgh. Voucher cited: J. Florence 8476 (PAP)
Adventice
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1987) (voucher ID: BISH 540429)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna tora (L.) Roxb.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
As Cassia tora L. Voucher cited: J. Florence 3701 (PAP)
Adventice
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1982) (voucher ID: BISH 491156)
Taxon name on voucher: Cassia tora L.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
As Cassia tora L. Voucher cited: J. Florence 2503 (PAP)
Mauvaise herbe des cultures et le long des chemins.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1982) (voucher ID: BISH 492812)
Taxon name on voucher: Cassia tora L.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1981) (voucher ID: PTBG 37282)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna tora (L.) Roxb.
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Hao (Hau) Atoll introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Adventice
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Makatea (Ma‘atea) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
As Senna tora (Linnaeus) Roxburgh. Voucher cited: J. Florence 9049 (PAP)
Adventice
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Makatea (Ma‘atea) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1988) (voucher ID: BISH 560418)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna tora (L.) Roxb.
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Niau Atoll introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
As Senna tora (Linnaeus) Roxburgh. Voucher cited: J. Florence 10097 (PAP)
Adventice
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Niau Atoll   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1990) (voucher ID: BISH 633898)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna tora (L.) Roxb.
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Rangiroa (Rairoa) Atoll introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Adventice
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 98)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 700)
Voucher cited: Akira s.n. (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank (2011) (p. 7)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H10919 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Staples, George W./Imada, Clyde T./Herbst, Derral R. (2003) (p. 12)
Voucher cited: M.C. Neal & C. Hartt s.n. (BISH 614694)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1982) (voucher ID: PTBG 28356)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna obtusifolia
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 98)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 86)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1978) (voucher ID: BNM 10164)
Taxon name on voucher: Senna obtusifolia L.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 98)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Peleliu (Beliliou) Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 91)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
invasive
Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 68, 78)
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) (pp. 38-39)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Northern Territory introduced
invasive
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Smith, Nicholas M. (2002) (pp. 38-39)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
Australian Biological Resources Study (2013)
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 68, 78)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 184)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) introduced
invasive
Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 68, 78)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 79)
Naturalised
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of) introduced
invasive
Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 68, 78)
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
French Territory of Mayotte
Mayotte Islands
Mayotte Island introduced
invasive
Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France (2013)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
Weber, Ewald (2003) (p. 400)
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) uncertain if native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)

Comments:  Invasive in woodlands in Australia.

A declared noxious weed in Western Australia and the Northern Territory (Smith, 2002; pp. 38-39).

Control: 

Physical:  "Single plants can be grubbed before flowering commences.  Larger colonies are slashed to reduce the plant's vigor"  (Weber, 2003; p. 400).

Chemical:  "Effective herbicides include 2,4-D plus picloram, glyphosate, or dichlorprop.  Seedlings are best sprayed before they set flowers"  (Weber, 2003; p. 400).  "Sensitive to dicamba and triclopyr but not to MCPA"  (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 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 16 MAY 2017.