Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Hamelia patens
Jacq., Rubiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 7 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Hamelia erecta Jacq.; Hamelia nodosa M. Martens & Galeotti

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: chang ge mu

English: firebush, hummingbird bush, redhead, scarletbush

French: fleur-corail

Spanish: bálsamo, busunuvo, Doña Julia, pata de pájaro

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Shrub or treelet usually 6-12 (-20) feet tall.  Leaves often whorled; blades ovate-elliptic to obovate-elliptic, 2-7 inches long, membranous to papery, secondary veins 7-10 on each side of midrib; stipules triangular to awl-shaped, to 0.25 inch long.  Inflorescence many-flowered.  Flowers 0.5-1 inch long; calyx lobes ovate, corolla tubular, orange to red, lobes narrow, erect or spreading.  Fruit ca 0.25 inch long, red or black" (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 490).

"A showy, fast-growing, semi-woody evergreen shrub that can get up to 15 ft (4.6 m) tall under ideal conditions, but usually stays much smaller. It has whorled leaves, usually with three but occasionally as many as seven at each node. The leaves are elliptic to oval, about 6 in (15 cm) long, and gray-pubescent underneath with reddish veins and petioles. They are reflexed upward from the midvein. Throughout the year produces showy terminal clusters (cymes) of bright reddish-orange or scarlet tubular flowers, each about 0.75 in (1.9 cm), long. Even the flower stems are red. The clusters of fruit also are showy. Each fruit is a juicy berry with many small seeds, ripening from green to yellow to red and finally to black"  (Floridata).

Description from Flora of China online.

Habitat/ecology:  "Firebush grows in deforested areas, in thickets with other brushy species, in forest openings, or in the understory of low basal-area forest stands. The species is found in moist and wet areas that receive from about 1600 to about 3000 mm of precipitation. Firebush prefers loamy or clayey soil. It grows on soils derived from volcanic and sedimentary parent materials and is most common in areas with limestone rocks"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

"Hardy and adaptable, it grows in a wide array of soil types and pH ranges, including alkaline limestone soils, and is moderately fast growing when watered well and fertilized.  It tolerates light salt spray if planted back from the beachfront and prefers full or filtered sun"  (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 490).

Propagation:  Seed, cuttings or air layers (Staples & Herbst, 2005; p. 490).  The berries are eaten by birds (Floridata).  "Layering occurs whenever stems come in contact with the ground"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Native range:  "The native range of firebush extends from southern Florida and Bermuda, through the Bahamas, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, Trinidad and Tobego, and from Mexico through Central America and South America to Paraguay and Argentina (Little and others 1974)"  (Wildland shrubs of the United States and its territories).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Raulerson, L. (2006) (p. 65)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (1927) (voucher ID: BISH 66638)
Taxon name on voucher: Hamelia patens Jacq.
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 119)
Potted plant.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 3)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Peleliu (Beliliou) Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. 3)
Voucher cited: Lorence 9745 (PTBG, BISH, BNM, NY, US)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Peleliu (Beliliou) Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2008) (voucher ID: PTBG 37)
Taxon name on voucher: Hamelia patens
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Guatemala (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Honduras (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Central America
Central America (Pacific rim)
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong (2013)
Cultivated in gardens in Fujian, Yunnan, Xinjiang. "In S. China and in cultivation in general this species does not set fruit".
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 263)
Ornamental.
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) 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. 47)
Cultivated only
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
South America (Pacific rim)
South America (Pacific rim)
Perú (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
Maldives
Maldive Islands
Malè Atoll   Fosberg, F. R. (1957) (p. 34)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)


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This page was created on 13 APR 2008 and was last updated on 30 DEC 2012.