Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

Spermacoce exilis
(L. O. Williams) C. D. Adams, Rubiaceae
Click on an image for links to BIGGER PICTURES


Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Borreria repens DC.; Spermacoce mauritiana Gideon

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: er e feng hua cao

English: Pacific bradleaf false buttonweed, Pacific false buttonweed

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Annual herbs; stems decumbent, 0.2-4 dm long, usually many-branched, sparsely to densely crisped puberulent in lines on the angles.  Leaves opposite, elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, 0.4-3.5 cm long, 0.2-1.6 cm wide, scabridulous near margins and usually crisped puberulent along principal veins on lower surface, apex acute to rounded, base cuneate, petioles 0-5 mm long, stipules ca. 2 mm long, with ca. 7 setae 1-3 mm long.  Flowers few in axillary, dense, sessile clusters, stipule-derived bracteoles with setae 1.8-2 mm long; hypanthium ca. 0.5 mm long; calyx lobes 2 (-4), 0.6-0.8 mm long, ciliate; corolla white, 0.6-0.7 mm long.  Fruit oblong, compressed, ca. 1 mm long, finely transversely wrinkled, puberulent, dehiscent. Seeds chestnut brown or yellowish brown, oblong-ellipsoid, 0.7-1 mm long, minutely reticulate, the areolae transversely wider than high" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 1173-1174).

A key to some Spermacoce species (adapted from Lorence & Flynn, 2006; pp. 4-5):

1.  Mature seed surface with deep transverse grooves, the surface between grooves foveolate:  Spermacoce remota [=Spermacoce assurgens].
1.  Mature seeds with surface variously sculptured but not transversely grooved:  2

2(1).  Calyx lobes consistently 2:  Spermacoce exilis
2.       Calyx lobes 4 (occasionally 2-3 in some flowers of Spermacoce prostrata):  3

3(2).  Leaves, at least the lower ones, distinctly petiolate with petioles 5-10 mm long; corolla tube c. 4-5 mm long; capsule (excluding calyx) 2.5-3.0 mm long; seeds 2.0-2.6 mm long:  Spermacoce latifolia
3.      Leaves sessile or the lower ones with petioles 1-3 (5) mm long; corolla tube 0.5 mm long; capsule (excluding calyx) 1-2 mm long; seeds 0.7-1.8 mm long:  4

4(3).  Calyx lobes 4 (occasionally 2-3 in some flowers), 0.5-0.7 mm long, deltate to narrowly deltate with green midrib and broad pale margins; capsule 1.0-1.1 mm long; seeds 0.7-0.9 mm long, deep purplish-brown, dorsal surface with fewer than 8 vertical rows of deep, circular-rimmed pits:  Spermacoce prostrata
4.      Calyx lobes 4, 0.4-1.1 mm long, narrowly deltate to linear-subulate with green midrib and narrow pale margins; capsule 1.2-2.0 mm long; seeds 1-1.8 mm long, chestnut to purplish-brown, dorsal surface with more than 10 vertical rows of minute, shallow pits:  Spermacoce ovalifolia

Habitat/ecology:  "Disturbed areas in villages, tracksides.  Prefers moist shaded conditions but will grow in sunny sites." (Waterhouse & Mitchell, 1998; pp. 89-90).

In Hawai‘i, "recently naturalized in relatively dry areas" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 1173-1174).  In Fiji, "an occasional weed in villages and gardens between sea level and 200 m" (Smith, 1988; p. 373).  In Samoa, "uncommon in lawns and other sunny, disturbed places" (Whistler, 1988; p. 35).  In Papua New Guinea, "a weed of lawns and gardens, particularly in damp, partly shaded situations"  (Henty & Pritchard, 1975; p. 144).

Propagation:  "Seeds dispersed by water, human activities" (Waterhouse & Mitchell, 1998; pp. 89-90).

Native range:  "Native to Africa and Malesia, now widely naturalized in the Pacific Basin and Central and South America" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 1173-1174).  "Now a pantropical weedy plant, but probably of American origin and an early introduction into the Old World tropics, where it gives the appearance of being indigenous in parts of Africa, Indian Ocean islands, southeastern Asia, and Malesia" (Smith, 1988; p. 373).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy (2010) (p. 24)
Voucher cited: Lorence 7855 (PTBG)
Naturalized
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1996) (voucher ID: PTBG 21110)
Taxon name on voucher: Spermacoce exilis (L. O. Williams) C. Adams
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Nukuoro Atoll   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2005) (voucher ID: PTBG 46117)
Taxon name on voucher: Spermacoce exilis
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 278)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   Glassman, S. F. (1952) (p. 91)
Voucher cited: Glassman 2583 (US)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
invasive
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 131)
Vouchers cited: S.F. Glassman 2583 (BISH), E.Y. Hosaka 3541 (BISH), T. Hosokawa 5572 (BISH), D.H. Lorence 7902 (BISH), D.H. Lorence 8047 (PBG), D.H. Lorence
Naturalized
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1996) (voucher ID: PTBG 21119)
Taxon name on voucher: Spermacoce exilis (L. O. Williams) C. Adams
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1997) (voucher ID: PTBG 29342)
Taxon name on voucher: Spermacoce exilis (M. Martens & Galeoti) Hemsl.
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Yap (Waqab) Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 278)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Kanathea Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Voucher cited: Bryan 571
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Lakemba Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Voucher cited: Garnock-Jones 908
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Ovalau Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Voucher cited: Smith 7473
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Taveuni Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Voucher cited: Gillespie 4400.3
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Vanua Levu Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Vouchers cited: DA 10470, DA 10767
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Vanua Mbalavu Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Voucher cited: Garnock-Jones 983
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Voucher cited: Greenwood 151, DA 9738, Smith 4319, DA 10416, DA 10180, Smith 9444, DA 9521, DA 10006, Gillespie 3424, DA 10622, Meebold 16690
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 1173-1174)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy W./Wagner, Warren L. (1995) (p. 51)
Vouchers cited: D. Lorence et al. 6571 (PTBG), D. Lorence & T. Flynn 6665A (PTBG), W.L. Wagner & S. Mill Arey 6429 (US), D. Lorence et al. 6575 (PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 1173-1174)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 278)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (p. 102)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Tim (2010) (p. 40)
Voucher cited: Lorence 8224 (PTBG)
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. 89-90)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) invasive
Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. (1975) (p. 144)
As Borreria repens DC. At low altitudes, well-established in a few areas but apparently not widespread.
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Western Samoa Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 35)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
invasive
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 373)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
invasive
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Naturalized in disturbed humid sites at low elevations. Hainan, Hong Kong.
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 261)
As Borreria repens DC. In open field or on grassland.
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) 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)
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. 89-90)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country 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)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) uncertain if introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 81)
Weed of uncertain origin
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island introduced
invasive
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Naturalized in disturbed humid sites at low elevations.
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of)   Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (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
Waterhouse, B. M./Mitchell, A. A. (1998) (pp. 89-90)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


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

  [   PIER species lists  ]   [   PIER home  ]

This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 22 JUN 2010.