Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Spermacoce ocymoides
Burm., Rubiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Other Latin names:  Bigelovia laevicaulis Miq.; Borreria laevicaulis Ridley; Borreria ocymoides (Burm. f.) DC.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: purple-leaved button weed

Habit:  herb

Description: 

Genus: "Annual or perennial herbs or small subshrubs; stems prostrate or erect, usually 4-angled, glabrous to hispid or scabrid. Leaves opposite or pseudowhorled, usually lanceolate to ovate or elliptic, sessile or petiolate, stipules adnate to petioles, forming a sheath, margins with 1 to numerous filiform setae.  Flowers usually small, perfect, sessile, in axillary or terminal, usually many-flowered clusters subtended by 1-2 or more pairs of bract-like leaves, stipule-derived bracteoles with setae; hypanthium obovoid, turbinate, or sometimes with intermediate teeth; corolla funnelform or salverform, the tube usually very slender, the lobes (3) 4, spreading, valvate in bud; stamens 4, inserted on corolla tube or throat, usually exserted; ovary 2-celled, ovules 1 per cell, attached to middle of septum; style filiform, exserted.  Fruit either a 2-walved capsule dehiscing from apex downward and the septum disappearing, or of 2 dimorphic mericarps, one dehiscent, the other indehiscent.  Seeds 2, usually glossy brown, oblong, ellipsoid, or ovoid, usually reticulate, ventrally grooved" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 1171, 1173).

Species:  "Perennial, glabrous or nearly so, stems branched from the base decumbent and ascending, leaves ovate elliptic or lanceolate acute glabrous or scabrid above, calyx glabrous or glabrate, teeth lanceolate, seeds oblong black granulate opaque. Root more or less woody (except in seedlings).  Branches 4-16 in., stout or more often slender, rarely scabrid on the angles and only beneath the leaves.  Leaves much broader than in S. stricta, often membranous, quite glabrous or scabrid above, sometimes petioled.  Flowers fewer and in smaller heads than S. stricta, with usually shorter bracteoles.  Calyx rarely puberulous, teeth often unequal.  Seeds usually broader and shorter than in S. stricta"  (Hooker, 1882; p. 200).

"A weak erect, decumbent or procumbent annual herb, usually ± well-branched, 3-40 cm tall, with fine fibrous roots; stems with sparse to fairly dense crisped hairs on the ± wing-like prominent angles.  Leaf-blades elliptic to elliptic-lanceolate, 0.4-3.6 cm long, 0.25-1.6 cm wide, rounded to ± acute at the apex, concavely narrowed into the petiole at the base, glabrous on both surfaces save for short marginal hairs or ± pubescent on the main nerve beneath; petiole 0-8 mm long, with scattered hairs; stipules with base 2 mm long, bearing ± 7 fimbriae 1-3 mm long.  Flowers in small few-flowered clusters at many of the nodes, attaining 3-6 mm in diameter in the fruiting state; stipule-like bracteoles with fimbriae 1.8-2 mm long.  Calyx-tube transversely oblong, 0.5 mm long; lobes 2 (-4), 0.6-0.8 mm long, ciliate.  Corolla white; tube 0.3 mm long; lobes triangular, 0.35 mm long, 0.3-0.4 mm wide, with a few short hairs inside.  Anthers situated just above the sinuses of the corolla-lobes.  Style ± 0.2 mm long; stigma 0.2 mm wide.  Fruit oblong, 1 mm long, 0.8 mm wide, 0.5-0.7 mm thick, compressed, finely transversely wrinkled and very shortly pubescent.  Seeds chestnut-brown, oblong-ellipsoid, 0.7-0.8 mm long, 0.4 mm wide, 0.3-0.35 mm thick, strongly reticulate with raised ribs, the foveae elongated in the direction of the short axis" (Verdcourt, 1976; p. 361).

Habitat/ecology:  In East Africa: "forest paths and leaf-litter, rocky paths in open grassland, also as an epiphyte on planted Raphia palms; 930-1700 m" (Verdcourt, 1976; p. 361).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Tropical Asia and Africa, Mauritius, Malay Islands (Hooker, 1882; p. 200).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
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)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 574)
As Borreria ocymoides (Burm. f.) DC. In thickets at low altitudes.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 89)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Java
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Malacca
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 81)
Naturalised
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 26 OCT 2006.