Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Tetrastigma pubinerve
Merr. & Chun, Vitaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 8 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: mao mai ya pa teng

Habit:  vine

Description:  Lianas, woody. Branchlets terete, with longitudinal ridges, transversely corrugated when dry, pubescent, then glabrescent; tendrils unbranched. Leaves pedately 5-foliolate; petiole 4-10.5 (-15) cm; central petiolule 1-2.5 cm, petiolules of lateral leaflet complex 1-2.5 cm, lateral petiolules 0.5-2 cm, transversely corrugated when dry, sparsely pubescent, then glabrescent; leaflets only pubescent abaxially on veins, then glabrescent, lateral veins 7-9 pairs, veinlets raised abaxially; central leaflet elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, 12-25 x 4-7 cm, base broadly cuneate, margin 6-8-toothed on each side, apex acute or acuminate; lateral leaflets ovate-lanceolate or ovate-elliptic, 6-20 x 2.5-7 cm, base cuneate or subrounded, margin 4-7-toothed on each side, apex acute, acuminate, or obtuse. Inflorescence umbelliform, axillary, with nodes and bracts at lower portion; peduncle 1.3-2 cm, pubescent. Pedicel (2-) 3-4 mm, pubescent. Buds obovoid, 2.5-3.5 mm, apex subtruncate. Calyx shallow and saucer-shaped, papillose, teeth inconspicuous. Petals elliptic, 2-3 mm, apex corniculate, papillose. Anthers yellow, elliptic. Disk inconspicuous and annular in female flowers. Ovary ovoid, lower part of ovary adnate to disk; style inconspicuous; stigma 4-lobed. Berry globose, 1-1.2 cm in diameter, 2 (or 3)-seeded. Seeds obovoid, base sharp, apex retuse, ventral holes furrowed upward from middle to apex" (Flora of China online).

Habitat/ecology:  In its native China, "forests in valleys, shrublands on hillsides; 300-600 m" (Flora of China online).

In Hawai‘i, "the known infestation covers approximately 4 acres, where it claims into the canopy of mixed non-native trees, sometimes smothering them"  (Oppenheimer & Bartlett, 2000; p. 9).  "This climber thrives in hot, sunny conditions and can drape a tree or fence, forming a dense screen of clossy foliage"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 573).

Propagation:  Seed, spread by birds; also vegetatively (Staples et al., 2000; p. 31).

Native range:  China  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 573). China, Cambodia and Vietnam (GRIN).


Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2012) (p. 49)
Voucher cited: D. Frohlich & A. Lau 2010033101 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
Oppenheimer, Hank L./Bartlett, R. T. (2000) (p. 9)
West Maui. Voucher cited: Oppenheimer & Annable H29910 (BISH)

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This page was created on 11 DEC 2007 and was last updated on 8 AUG 2009.