Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Calotropis gigantea
(L.) W.T.Aiton, Apocynaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 15 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Asclepias gigantea L.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: niu jiao gua

English: bowstring hemp, calotrope, crown flower, crownplant, giant milkweed, madar

French: arbre à soie, mercure végétal, mudar

Hawaiian: puakalaunu

I-Kiribati: te bumorimori

Spanish: lechoso

Tahitian: tahinu

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Tree to 4 m tall. Leaves sessile or with petiole 0.2-0.7 mm long; lamina elliptic to oblong, to 10 cm long, to 8 cm wide, cordate to auriculate, acute to rounded; colleters 19 or 20. Inflorescence of 1-3 fascicles. Flowers 14-15 mm long, 3-4.5 cm diam.; pedicels 2.5-3.2 cm long. Sepals lanceolate-ovate to ovate, 5-7 mm long. Corolla subrotate; lobes ovate, 15-17 mm long, 10-11 mm wide, cream-tipped internally. Staminal corona lobes 11-12 mm long, 6-6.5 mm wide, broadly flanged, cream, with base elongated into an upturned vesicle ca 5 mm long. Follicles oblong, 7-10 cm long" (Forster et al., 1996; p. 214).

Habitat/ecology:  "Crownflower grows anywhere, but it truly thrives in hot, sunny, dry environments, including areas near the coast that receive salt exposure"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; pp. 140-141).  In Australia, "Found on roadsides, disturbed areas, watercourses, river flats and coastal dunes.  Thrives on poor soils particularly where overgrazing has removed competition from native grasses."  (Smith, 2002; pp. 28-29).

Propagation:  "Seeds spread by wind and water over large distances.  Local stands increased in size by suckering.  Also spread as an ornamental plant."  (Smith, 2002; pp. 28-29).

Native range:  Sri Lanka, India, China and Malesia (Forster et al., 1996; p. 214).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 33)
Not common.
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1959) (voucher ID: BISH 123356)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
American Samoa
Tutuila Islands
Tutuila Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1961) (voucher ID: BISH 123357)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 64)
Federated States of Micronesia
Chuuk Islands
Weno (Moen) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Denslow, Julie S./Nelson, Duane/Mazawa, Thomas R. (2000) (p. 25)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Denslow, Julie S./Nelson, Duane/Waguk, Erick E. (2000) (p. 27)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Ovalau Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 110)
Voucher cited: DA 12172 (L.8255)
Sparingly naturalized.
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1988) (p. 110)
Voucher cited: DA 5677
Sparingly naturalized.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 46)
Voucher cited: Florence 4731
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 4731 (PAP)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1983) (voucher ID: BISH 492643)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 46)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 46)
Voucher cited: Florence 5251
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1983) (voucher ID: BISH 492245)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 46)
Vouchers cited: BRY 24836a, BRY 26338
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 4463 (PAP)
Cultivée. Ornementale assez commune.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1983) (voucher ID: BISH 558156)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Hao (Hau) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Niau Atoll introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 10107 (PAP)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Raro‘ia Atoll introduced
invasive
cultivated
Meyer, Jean-Yves/Fourdrigniez, Marie (2008) (p. 13)
Subspontanée d'introduction européene.
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Tikehau (Tikahau) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Tubuai Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 219)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1966) (voucher ID: BISH 649337)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 238)
Cultivated, possible escapes.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaho‘olawe Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 238)
Cultivated, possible escapes.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wysong, Michael/Hughes, Guy/Wood, K. R. (2007) (p. 2)
Voucher cited: Wysong 763 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2008) (p. 3)
"Naturalized in a dry, grassy road construction site". Voucher cited: A. Lau & D. Frohlich 2007101508 (BISH)
Kiribati
Phoenix Islands
Kanton Island introduced
cultivated
Fosberg, F. R./Stoddart, D. R. (1994) (p. 11)
Vouchers cited: Degener & Hatheway 21294 (BISH), Clegern 4 (BISH)
Kiribati
Phoenix Islands
Kanton Island introduced
Luomala, Katharine (1951) (p. 173)
Kiribati
Tungaru (Gilbert) Islands
Tarawa Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 219)
Kiribati
Tungaru (Gilbert) Islands
Tarawa Atoll introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Imada, Clyde T. (2004) (p. 13)
Kiribati
Tungaru (Gilbert) Islands
Tarawa Atoll   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1967) (voucher ID: PTBG 13244)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea
Kiribati
Tungaru (Gilbert) Islands
Tarawa Atoll   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1967) (voucher ID: PTBG 13245)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Bikini (Pikinni) Atoll   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1985) (voucher ID: BISH 649952)
Taxon name on voucher: Calotropis gigantea (L.) W.T.Aiton
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll   Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. (2013)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 68)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Mili (Mile) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian (2010) (p. A10)
Rare; few shrubs in private yard, southern portion of town, said to have been brought from Majuro.
Nauru
Nauru Island
Nauru Island introduced
cultivated
Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. (1994) (p. 97)
Vouchers cited: Fosberg 58771 (US), Hassall 152 (SUVA)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 48)
Voucher cited: CHR 168881
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 22)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 39)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (pp. 12, 84)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 18)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (pp. 12, 79)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 18)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Ngerkebesang Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (pp. 12, 79)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Peleliu (Beliliou) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar (2003) (pp. 12, 90)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
cultivated
Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 341)
Occasional in hedges, etc., about dwellings, usually or (?) always planted.
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 65)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
cultivated
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 54)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Wake Islands
Wake Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 219)
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
cultivated
Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. (1998) (p. 147)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Northern Territory introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Nicholas M. (2002) (pp. 28-29)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Woods of dry areas, stream banks; 0-1400 m. Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan, Sichuan, Yunnan.
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)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 23)
Cultivated only
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist 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
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 107)
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Malè Atoll   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 30)
"Common". Voucher cited: Fosberg 36827 (US)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Seychelles Islands introduced
invasive
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized

Comments:  An invasive species in Timor. Naturalizing in Northern Territory and northwest Western Australia, Australia (Barbara Waterhouse, pers. com.).


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 15 MAY 2009.