Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Bocconia frutescens
L., Papaveraceae
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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: bocconia, parrotweed, plume poppy, tree celandine, tree poppy

French: bois codine

Spanish: palo de toro, pan cimarrón

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Branched shrubs; stems 2-6 m long, pith white.  Leaves often somewhat congested toward the tips of the branches, oblong-obovate to oblong-lanceolate, 10-45 cm long, 4-20 cm wide, pinnately cleft ca. 1/2 to midrib, upper surface sparsely strigillose, lower surface glaucous and puberulent, especially along veins.  Panicles densely branched, 20-60 cm long, bracts lanceolate, 2-5 mm long, pedicels 3-10 mm long; sepals erect, elliptic, 8-10 mm long; stamens 8-10; filaments filiform; anthers linear, pendent by the filaments at anthesis.  Capsules grayish at maturity, pulp pale yellow, ca. 12 mm long, stipe ca. 5 mm long.  Seed 1, black, 6-7 mm long, the surface smooth and glossy, the lower 1/2-1/3 covered with a red, pulpy aril." (Wagner et al, 1999; p. 1006).

Habitat/ecology:  "Pan cimarrón grows in a wide variety of soil types at middle elevations up to 2,150 m in Mexico (Secretaría de Madio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales 2002). In Puerto Rico, it grows in subtropical dry forest along streams (750 to 1000 mm/year precipitation), in subtropical moist forest (1000 to 2000 mm/year precipitation), and in subtropical wet forests (2000 to 3000 mm/year precipitation). In Nicaragua, the species grows even in the cloud forests (Stevens and others 2001). In Puerto Rico, pan cimarrón is most common along streams, road cuts, and landslides. The species also grows widely scattered in brush lands, which develop from abandoned fields and pastures, and in secondary forest. Pan cimarrón is intolerant of shade. It competes vigorously with herbs and brush after establishment  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

This evergreen shrub to small tree forms dense stands in dry habitats.  It grows at elevations between 300-1,000 m in dry habitats (Smith, 1985; p. 186).

"Because bocconia is able to flourish in a broad range of environmental conditions and along a large elevational gradient within its home range it appears to have the potential to invade native and non-native habitats in dry and mesic environments in Hawai‘i. Given its potential to reach tree-sized stature and its ability to form thick stands, bocconia is expected to be a serious competitor with native or other desirable species.   In the Wood Valley area of Hawaii, bocconia quickly spread from one landscape planting near to occupy in excess of 3,500 acres of abandoned cane land.  This recent population explosion coincides with the demise of active cane farming in the area that allowed bocconia to reach maturity and rapidly increase its range. Bocconia is now considered a major weed in small agricultural lots in the area. On Maui, bocconia has been observed at 5800' elevation.  Art Medeiros (U.S. Geological Survey) considers bocconia to be one of the most threatening weeds in the Kanaio Natural Area Reserve"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Propagation:  "Bocconia produces large numbers of seed with a red fleshy aril at the base that attracts birds, which disperse seed over long distances." (Motooka et al., 2002)

Native range:  Central America and the West Indies; also cultivated and naturalized (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1006)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1006)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (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)
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)
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 introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized

Comments:  On the State of Hawai‘i noxious weed list.

Control: 

Physical:  "Medeiros recommended a strategy of removal of all flowering trees with periodic follow-up to remove new seedlings emerging from the soil seed bank" (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical:  "Good control with 2,4-D and fair control with triclopyr applied basal bark. Very little other work on bocconia management.  Aerial spot spraying with the "spray ball" applicator would be an effective way to kill emerging trees in pastures and abandoned sugarcane land.  Trials are needed to determine an effective herbicide and rate for this method" (Motooka et al., 2003).

Additional information:
Report (PDF format) from US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Haleakala Field Station, Hawaii "Plants of Hawaii".
Excerpt from the book "Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide" (Motooka et al., 2003). (PDF format).
Fact sheet from "Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories: thamnic descriptions" (PDF format).

Additional online information about Bocconia frutescens is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Bocconia frutescens as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Bocconia frutescens may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Francis, John K., ed. 2009. Wildland Shrubs of the United States and its Territories: Thamnic Descriptions General Technical Report IITF-WB-1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry and Shrub Sciences Laboratory (online resource).

Meyer, Jean-Yves. 2000. Preliminary review of the invasive plants in the Pacific islands (SPREP Member Countries). In: Sherley, G. (tech. ed.). Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Samoa. 190 pp.

Motooka, Philip/Castro, Luisa/Nelson, Duane/Nagai, Guy/Ching, Lincoln. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa. 184 pp.

Motooka, Philip/Ching, Lincoln/Nagai, Guy. 2002. Herbicidal Weed Control Methods for Pasture and Natural Areas of Hawaii. Cooperative Extension Service, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawai‘i. CTAHR free publication WC-8.

Smith, Clifford W. 1985. Impact of Alien Plants on Hawai‘i's Native Biota. In: Stone, Charles P. and Scott, J. Michael, eds. Hawai‘i's terrestrial ecosystems: preservation and Management. Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii, Manoa.

U. S. Government. 2013. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (on-line resource).

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. 1999. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Revised edition. Bernice P. Bishop Museum special publication. University of Hawai‘i Press/Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1919 pp. (two volumes).


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 3 MAR 2013.