Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Commelina benghalensis
L., Commelinaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Reject, score: 17 (Go to the risk assessment).

Common name(s): [more details]

Cebuano: sabilau

Chinese: fan bao cao

English: Benghal dayflower, dayflower, hairy wandering Jew, Indian dayflower, tropical spiderwort, wandering Jew

French: commeline du Bengale, herbe aux cochons

Hawaiian: hairy honohono

Ibatan: kuhasi

Iloko: kulkulasi

Japanese: tsuyukusa

Pampangan: bias-bias

Samoan: mau‘u Toga, mau‘u toga

Spanish: golondrina, matalí

Tagalog: alikbangon

Tongan: kaningi, kanini, musie matala pulu

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Annual herbs. Roots fibrous. Stems branched, prostrate at base, erect above, rooting at nodes, densely uncinate. Leaves sessile to subpetiolate; blade ovate, 5-7.5 cm long, 3-4 cm wide, apex acute, base obtuse to truncate, puberulous and uncinate above, uncinate beneath; sheath cylindrical, with red stripes, densely uncinate, pilose at margins. Prophyll ca. 1.5 cm long, diameter 3 mm. 1-5 flowering shoots branch from the axils of the leaves, upper cincinnus with 1 enserted male flower; lower cincinnus with 1-3 bisexual flowers; some flowering shoots branch from the prostrate stems, with a single cleistogamous flower enveloped by a bract; spathes infundibuliform, dimorphic: in cleistogamous flowers the bract smaller, obtriangular, ca. 3-5 mm long, uncinate; in chasmogamous flowers the bract larger, obliquely obtriangular, ca. 1.9-1.3 cm long, uncinate; peduncles 0.3-1 cm long; pedicels ca. 1-2 mm long. Flowers zygomorphic, dimorphic: in functionally male flowers pistil abortive and usually lacking or vestigial; in bisexual flowers the pistil ca. 6.5 mm long; sepals 3, greenish, persistent, elliptic, concave, unequal, the anticous 2, basally fused, elliptic, the margins sometimes blue and petaloid, ca. 2-3 mm long, ca.1.4 mm across, glabrous; the posticous one lanceolate, 2 mm long, ca. 1.2 mm wide; petals 3, free, unequal: the lateral petals 2, blue to indigo, equal, planar, clawed, the limb broadly rounded-ovate, 4 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, apex obtuse, base cuneate-cordate, the claw ca. 2 mm long; the medial petal white or blue, small, ca. 3 mm long, ca. 1.8 mm wide; fertile stamens 3, anticous, unequal, the lateral two, anther yellow, triangular, hastate, ca. 0.5 mm long, filament ca. 5.5 mm long; the medial one anther trianglular, hastate, ca. 1 mm long, filament ca. 4 mm long; staminodes 3, subequal, the medial staminodes antesepalous, usually lacking or vestigial, the lateral ones antepetalous, antherodes cruciate, ca. 0.6 mm long, filament ca. 4 mm long; ovary ellipsoid-globose, ca. 1 mm long; style ca. 5.5 cm long. Capsules trilocular, 2-valved, brown, ovoid to ellipsoid, 4-5 mm long, 2-3.5 mm across, the ventral locule 2 seeded, dehiscent, the dorsal locule 1 seeded, usually indehiscent, glabrous. Seeds dimorphic: one in dorsal, brown, elliptic in outline, 2.8-3.5 mm long, 1.9-2.2 mm wide, two in ventral locules black, deltoid in outline, smaller, 1.5-2.2 mm long, 1.5-1.8 mm across, dorsiventral, ventral surface planar, dorsal convex, reticulate, densely with small farinose granules and sparse with large farinose granules"  (Digital Flora of Taiwan).

"Creeping herb with ascending stems; leaves broadly ovate, up to 5 cm long and 4 cm wide, pubescent, narrowed at base but not distinctly petiolate; spathe funnel-shaped, about 1-1.4 cm wide, green, flattened, flowers bright blue"  (Stone, 1970; p. 104).

"Stems prostrate or ascending, often rooting at the nodes, up to 4 dm long, pubescent.  Leaf blades ovate to broadly ovate, 3-5 cm long, 1.5-3 cm wide, puberulent and more or less appressed pilose, apex obtuse, abruptly contracted at base, sheaths 1-2 cm long, pilose and usually long-ciliate in upper part, the hairs rust-colored.  Hypogeous flowers sometimes present, margins of spathe connate at base, 1-1.5 cm long, peduncles more or less exserted from spathe; petals pale blue, 4-5 mm long.  Seeds 5 per capsule, transversely wrinkled"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1379).

Distinguishing characteristics.

Illustration by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) courtesy Ecoport.

Habitat/ecology:  "The plant is a serious weed of cultivated crops and is common in plantations and orchards.  It grows best where fertility, soil and air moisture are all high, but will also tolerate dry conditions"  (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 16).

In Hawai‘i, "naturalized in shaded, dry to mesic, disturbed sites, 3-200 m" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1379).  "Common to abundant in croplands of Tonga, but only occasional in Samoa" (Whistler, 1988; p. 40). In Tonga, "occasional plantation and waste area weed" (Yuncker, 1959; p. 77).  In Papua New Guinea "A weed of gardens, plantations, waste-land, particularly troublesome in fertile soil under humid conditions"  (Henty & Pritchard, 1975; p. 24).

Propagation:  "It can produce up to 1600 seeds per plant, roots readily at the nodes of creeping stems and regenerates rapidly in this fashion when broken or cut"  (Waterhouse, 1994; p. 56).

Native range:  Tropical Africa and Asia to the Philippines; widely naturalized elsewhere (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Alamagan Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 97)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Alamagan Island introduced
invasive
Fosberg, F. R./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. (1975) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: Fosberg 31723 (US)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Rota Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 97)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Saipan Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 97)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Sarigan Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 97)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Sarigan Island introduced
invasive
Fosberg, F. R./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. (1975) (p. 18)
Voucher cited: Evans 2397 (US, BISH, Fo, NY)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Tinian Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 97)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Adventice
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island native
Stone, Benjamin C. (1970) (p. 104)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (p. 97)
Native per Stone, introduced per Fosberg et al.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1379)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1379)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1379)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2003) (pp. 9-10)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H110134 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1379)
Voucher cited: Forbes 1221.O (BISH)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands   Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 90)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) invasive
Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. (1975) (p. 24)
At low altitudes, not widely established, but in places very common.
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
Merrill, Elmer D. (1925) (p. 195)
In open grasslands and waste places in the settled areas at low and medium altitudes, often common.
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Western Samoa Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1988) (p. 40)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 90)
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 59)
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Ha‘apai Islands   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 83)
Vouchers cited: Soakai 832, Soakai 838
Tonga
Ha‘apai Group
Tofua Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 83)
Voucher cited: Scarth-Johnson 57
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
‘Eua Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 83)
Voucher cited: Soakai 899 (EI)
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island   Whistler, W. A. (1992) (p. 83)
Vouchers cited: Lawrence 11, Soakai 539, Soakai 542, Soakai 591, Soakai 739
Tonga
Tongatapu Group
Tongatapu Island   Yuncker, T. G. (1959) (p. 77)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 15213, Hürlmann 47
Vanuatu
New Hebrides Islands
Vanuatu (Republic of)   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 90)
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)
New South Wales introduced
invasive
National Herbarium of New South Wales (2013)
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
National Herbarium of New South Wales (2013)
Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia (Kingdom of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Wet places; near sea level to 2300 m. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang.
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku
Malaysia
Malaysia
Malaysia (country of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 64, 76)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States)   Hafliger, E. (1092) (p. plate)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) uncertain if introduced
invasive
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 28)
Weed of uncertain origin
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island native
Ching-I Peng, ed. (2013)
"In semishady and waste places, usually found in rotation crop farms, forest edge and seashore at low altitude".
Thailand
Thailand
Thailand (Kingdom of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 64, 76)
Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam (Socialist Republic of)   Waterhouse, D. F. (1993) (pp. 64, 76)
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
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 110)
British Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago
Diego Garcia Island   Stoddart, D. R./Taylor, J. D., eds. (1971) (p. 147)
Actually Commelina diffusa? See Whistler 1996.
British Indian Ocean Territory
Chagos Archipelago
Diego Garcia Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Rivers, Julie (2004) (pp. 1, 6)
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Maldive Islands   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 14)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island   Holm, Leroy G./Plucknett, D. L./Pancho, J. V./Herberger, J. P. (1977) (p. 234)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Coetivy Island   Robertson, S. A./Fosberg, F. R. (1983) (p. 147)
Voucher cited: Robertson 3141 (K)
Seychelles
Seychelles Islands
Marie-Louise Island   Wilson, J. R. (1983) (p. 190)

Control: 

Physical: "Germination is difficult to prevent by mulches.  Susceptible to hand weeding, chapping and cultivation, but stems may root if left in contact with soil or plant debris.  May be palatable to pigs.  Can be controlled by competition from tall leafy crops and especially pasture species, but fairly tolerant of shade.  Tolerates dry air and soil conditions" (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 24).

Chemical: Susceptible to: 1) residual herbicides, including simazine, diuron, bromacil and terbacil at standard rates; 2) translocated herbicides, including fluroxypyr at standard rates (Swarbrick, 1997; p. 24).

Biological:  Waterhouse (1994, pp. 56-58) lists natural enemies of this species.

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

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

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

References:

Ching-I Peng, ed. 2013. Digital flora of Taiwan (online resource).

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.

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).

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./Falanruw, M. V. C./Sachet, M.-H. 1975. Vascular flora of the northern Marianas Islands. Smithsonian Contrib. Bot. 22:1-45.

Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce. 1987. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian monocotyledonae. Micronesica 20:1-126.

Hafliger, E. 1092. Monocot Weeds 3. CIBA-GEIGY Ltd., Basle, Switzerland. 132 pp. plus plates.

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

Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. 1975. Weeds of New Guinea and their control. 2nd edition. Department of Forests, Division of Botany, Botany Bull. No. 7. Lae, Papua New Guinea. 180 pp.

Holm, Leroy G./Plucknett, D. L./Pancho, J. V./Herberger, J. P. 1977. The world’s worst weeds: distribution and biology. East-West Center/University Press of Hawaii. 609 pp.

Kato, Hidetoshi. 2007. Herbarium records of Makino Herbarium, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Personal communication.

Merrill, Elmer D. 1925. An enumeration of Philippine flowering plants, vol. 1 [reprint]. Bureau of Printing, Manila. 463 pp.

National Herbarium of New South Wales. 2013. PlantNet: New South Wales Flora online. The Plant Information Network System of the Botanic Gardens Trust Version 2.0. Online resource.

Oppenheimer, Hank L. 2003. New plant records from Maui and Hawai‘i Counties. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2001-2002. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 73:3-30.

Rivers, Julie. 2004. Botanical survey update of Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipeligo, British Indian Ocean Territory. Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific. 16 pp. plus "List of the higher plants of Diego Garcia".

Robertson, S. A./Fosberg, F. R. 1983. List of plants collected on Coetivy Island, Seychelles. In: Sachet, M. H., D. R. Stoddart, and F. R. Fosberg. Floristics and ecology of Western Indian Ocean islands. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 273. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 253 pp.

Stoddart, D. R./Taylor, J. D., eds. 1971. Geography and ecology of Diego Garcia Atoll, Chagos Archipelago. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 149. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 237 pp.

Stone, Benjamin C. 1970. The flora of Guam. Micronesica 6:1-659.

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

Swarbrick, John T. 1997. Weeds of the Pacific Islands. Technical paper no. 209. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 124 pp.

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

Waterhouse, D. F. 1993. The major arthropod pests and weeds of agriculture in Southeast Asia. The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 141 pp.

Waterhouse, D. F. 1994. Biological control of weeds: Southeast Asian prospects. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 302 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1983. Weed Handbook of Western Polynesia. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, Eschborn. 151 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1984. Annotated list of Samoan plant names. Economic Botany 38:464.489.

Whistler, W. A. 1988. Checklist of the weed flora of western Polynesia. Technical Paper No. 194, South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 69 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1992. Flora of Tonga [unpublished checklist]. 107 pp.

Wilson, J. R. 1983. Ecology of Marie-Louise, Amirantes Islands. In: Sachet, M. H., D. R. Stoddart, and F. R. Fosberg. Floristics and ecology of Western Indian Ocean islands. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 273. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 253 pp.

Yuncker, T. G. 1959. Plants of Tonga. Bishop Museum Bull. 220. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 343 pp.

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 14 MAR 2013.