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.).

Additional information:
Additional online information about Calotropis gigantea is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

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

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

References:

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1959. Voucher specimen #BISH 123356 (Wisner, A.W. 109).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1961. Voucher specimen #BISH 123357 (Comstock, J.A.; collector's voucher number unknown).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1966. Voucher specimen #BISH 649337 (Evans, M. 1518).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1983. Voucher specimen #BISH 492245 (Florence, J. 5251).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1983. Voucher specimen #BISH 492643 (Florence, J. 4731).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1983. Voucher specimen #BISH 558156 (Florence, J. 4463).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1985. Voucher specimen #BISH 649952 (Fosberg, F.R. 65187).

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Csurhes, S./Edwards, R. 1998. Potential environmental weeds in Australia: Candidate species for preventative control. Canberra, Australia. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia. 208 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Forster, P. I./Liddle, D. J./Nicholas, A. 1996. Flora of Australia. Vol. 28, Asclepiadaceae. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Fosberg, F. R. 1957. The Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 58. Pacific Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington. 37 pp.

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce. 1979. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian dicotyledonae. Micronesica 15:1-295.

Fosberg, F. R./Stoddart, D. R. 1994. Flora of the Phoenix Islands, central Pacific. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Atoll Research Bulletin 393. 60 pp.

Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex. 2008. New plant records from O‘ahu for 2007. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2007. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 100:3-12.

Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. 1988. Flora of the Solomon Islands. Research Bulletin No. 7. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Honiara. 203 pp.

Luomala, Katharine. 1951. Plants of Canton Island, Phoenix Islands. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 20(11):157-174.

Merrill, Elmer D. 1923. An enumeration of Philippine flowering plants, vol. 3 [reprint]. Bureau of Printing, Manila. 628 pp.

Meyer, Jean-Yves/Fourdrigniez, Marie. 2008. Rapport de mission sur l'atoll de Raro‘ia (Tuamotu Centre) du 12 au 19 Octobre 2008: Inventaire preliminaire de la flore vasculaire. de l'avifaune terrestre & marine, et recommandations de conservation et de gestion [unpublished report]. Délégation à la Recherche, Ministère de l'Education, l'Enseignement Supérieur et la Recherche, B.P. 20981 Papeete, Tahiti, Polynésie française. 24 pp.

Smith, Albert C. 1988. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 4. 377 pp.

Smith, Nicholas M. 2002. Weeds of the wet/dry tropics of Australia - a field guide. Environment Centre NT, Inc. 112 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2000. Observations on invasive plant species in American Samoa.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 51 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2000. Report to the Government of Niue on invasive plant species of environmental concern.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 34 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2002. Report to the Government of the Cook Islands on invasive plant species of environmental concern. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 146 pp.

Space, James C./Flynn, Tim. 2002. Report to the Government of Samoa on invasive plant species of environmental concern. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 83 pp.

Space, James C./Imada, Clyde T. 2004. Report to the Republic of Kiribati on invasive plant species on the islands of Tarawa, Abemama, Butaritari and Maiana. Cont. no. 2003-006 to the Pac. Biol. Surv. USDA Forest Service and Bishop Museum, Honolulu. 103 pp.

Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie. 2009. Report to the Republic of Palau: 2008 update on Invasive Plant Species. USDA Forest Service, Hilo, Hawai‘i. 227 pp.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate. 2004. Report to the Government of Niue and the United Nations Development Programme: Invasive plant species on Niue following Cyclone Heta. UNDP NIU/98/G31 - Niue Enabling Activity. 80 pp.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Denslow, Julie S./Nelson, Duane/Mazawa, Thomas R. 2000. Invasive plant species in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 41 pp.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Denslow, Julie S./Nelson, Duane/Waguk, Erick E. 2000. Invasive plant species on Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia.  USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 43 pp.

Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara/Miles, Joel E./Tiobech, Joseph/Rengulbai, Kashgar. 2003. Report to the Republic of Palau on invasive plant species of environmental concern. USDA Forest Service, Honolulu. 174 pp.

Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral R. 2005. A tropical garden flora: plants cultivated in the Hawaiian Islands and other tropical places. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 908 pp.

Swarbrick, J. T. 1997. Environmental weeds and exotic plants on Christmas Island, Indian Ocean: a report to Parks Australia. 101 pp. plus appendix.

Sykes, W. R. 1970. Contributions to the flora of Niue. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 200, Wellington. 321 pp.

Thaman, R. R. 1987. Plants of Kiribati: a listing and analysis of vernacular names. Atoll Res. Bull. 296:1-42.

Thaman, R. R./Fosberg, F. R./Manner, H. I./Hassall, D. C. 1994. The flora of Nauru. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Atoll Research Bulletin 392:1-223.

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

Vander Velde, Nancy. 2003. The vascular plants of Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Smithsonian Institution, Atoll Research Bulletin No. 503:1-141.

Vander Velde, Nancy/Vander Velde, Brian. 2010. Survey of Invasive Plant Species and Other Plants of Mili Atoll, Marshall Islands. USDA Forest Resource Management Grant Program. Unpublished report. 6 pp, plus tabulation of plants of Mili Atoll, 23 pp.

Wagner, W. L./ Herbst, D. R./Weitzman, A./Lorence, D.H. 2013. Flora of Micronesia. National Tropical Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian Institution. Online database.

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).

Welsh, S. L. 1998. Flora Societensis: A summary revision of the flowering plants of the Society Islands. E.P.S. Inc., Orem, Utah. 420 pp.

Wysong, Michael/Hughes, Guy/Wood, K. R. 2007. New Hawaiian plant records for the island of Moloka‘i. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2006. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 96:1-8.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


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