Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Melochia umbellata
(Houtt.) Stapf, Malvaceae
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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:  Melochia indica Kurz; Visenia umbellata Houtt.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: gunpowder tree, melochia, tangkal bintenoo

Kwara‘ae: kasie bulu

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Small trees or shrubs 2-15 m tall; young stems tomentose with stellate hairs. Leaves broadly ovate, 9-30 (-50) cm long, 3.8-15 (-27) cm long, stellate pubescent, margins irregularly crenate-serrate, base rounded to cordate, petioles 2.5-11 (-20) cm long, stipules ovate to suborbicular, 4-10 mm long, deciduous. Flowers in open corymbiform cymes, the ultimate divisions umbellate, peduncles 3-7 (-11) cm long, pedicels 1-3 mm long; calyx yellowish green to pinkish brown, the lobes deltate, 2-3.5 mm long, pubescent with stellate and also simple or forked hairs; petals pale pink to red, rarely yellow or orange-tinged, pale blue, purple, or violet, obovate to oblanceolate, 6-7 mm long; stamens of 2 lengths in different flowers, 4-5 mm long and 5.5-6.5 mm long; ovaries of 2 lengths in different flowers, 6-7 mm long and 4.5-5 mm long. Capsules green, brown, or purplish red, oblong, 8-10 mm long, incompletely septicidal, deeply grooved between carpels. Seeds brown, 2-3.5 mm long, winged" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1279).

Habitat/ecology:  This small, fast-growing, shrubby tree is often used to produce shade for young forest trees and coffee. It rapidly fills any available space after disturbance, displacing slower growing native species (Smith, 1985; p. 195).

Propagation:  Wind-dispersed seed.

Native range:  India and eastward to New Guinea, including Western Australia; also cultivated and 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
Federated States of Micronesia
Yap Islands
Yap (Waqab) Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1968) (voucher ID: BNM 1414)
Taxon name on voucher: Melochia compacta Hochr.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1279)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2012) (p. 48)
Vouchers cited: A. Lau & D. Frohlich 2010021901 (BISH), G. Clarke, L.W. Cuddihy, L. Yoshida & C. Forn ESP 340 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1279)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1279)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2004) (pp. 17-18)
West Maui. Vouchers cited: Oppenheimer, P. Bily & F. Duvall H50227 (BISH, PTBG), Crosby s.n. (BISH 70257)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1279)
Voucher cited: Ewart III 7 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2007) (p. 11)
Voucher cited: M. Keir s.n. (BISH 695025)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Malakal (Ngemelachel) Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1970) (voucher ID: BNM 770)
Taxon name on voucher: Melochia compacta Hochr.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Malakal (Ngemelachel) Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1967) (voucher ID: BNM 772)
Taxon name on voucher: Melochia compacta Hochr.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Peleliu (Beliliou) Island   Beleu National Museum (Republic of Palau. Koror.) (1967) (voucher ID: BNM 773)
Taxon name on voucher: Melochia compacta Hochr.
Papua New Guinea
Bougainville Islands
Bougainville Island   Foreman, D. B. (1971) (p. 60)
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 47)
A common and characteristic shrub or small tree in old clearings, secondary forests, etc., at low and medium altitudes.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands native
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 91)
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)
Australia (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Western Australia
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)
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 native
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1993) (p. 19)

Comments:  Fosberg et al. (1979; p. 168) list as native to Marianas and Caroline Islands.

Control: 

Chemical:  "Sensitive to 2,4-D and dicamba and probably to other hormone-type herbicides. HAVO staff report control with triclopyr amine at 10% of product in water applied to cut stumps (Chris Zimmer, HAVO). Sensitive to glyphosate" (Motooka et al., 2003).


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 21 MAY 2013.