Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Merremia tuberosa
(L.) Rendle, Convolvulaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 12 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Ipomoea tuberosa L.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chamorro: alarrak

English: Hawaiian wood rose, Spanish arborvine, Spanish woodbine, wood rose, yellow morning-glory

French: liane à tonelle, liane de Gondelour, liane jaune, liane sultane jaune, rose de bois

Hawaiian: pilikai

Samoan: losa vao, losa vao

Habit:  vine

Description:  "Glabrous climber with tuberous roots; leaves 6-20 cm long and wider than long, usually palmately 7-parted, 2 basal lobes smallest, laterals larger, central lobe longest and obovate-acuminate; petiole about as long as blade; peduncles few flowered, as long or longer than petiole; calyx-lobes broad, rounded, obovate, in flower 2-3 cm long, enlarging as fruit matures to 5-7 cm long; corolla about 4-5 cm long, 5-6 cm wide across the limb, bright-yellow; ovary glabrous; capsule 2 cm long, 3 cm wide approximately, pale brown, thin-walled, enclosed in calyx; seeds 1.5 cm long, ovoid, dull black, pubescent on angles"  (Stone, 1970; p. 496).

Habitat/ecology:  This light-loving, perennial vine can smother tall forest canopies. It grows in open mesic forests from sea level to 1,400 m. Often cultivated for its ornamental flowers and fruits (C. W. Smith, 1985; p. 195). "Smothers trees and smaller plants in disturbed lowland forests"  (Motooka et al., 2003).  In Fiji, "infrequently becoming naturalized near sea level" (Smith, 1991; p. 47). In Hawai‘i, "commonly cultivated and sparingly naturalized in disturbed sites, 25-560m" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 563-564). In New Caledonia, "assez commun dans les jardins à Nouméa" (MacKee, 1994; p. 42). "cultivée et subspontanée, c'est une espèce très envahissante, rencontrée aussi dans les haies et en bordure des chemins" (Heine, 1984; p. 36).

Propagation:  Mostly distributed by humans from discarded cuttings and floral arrangements containing seeds. Seeds remain viable for years.

Native range:  Probably Tropical America.

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
Rota Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 227)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Saipan Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 227)
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (US)
Northern Mariana Islands
Tinian Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 227)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 11)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1990) (voucher ID: BISH 664893)
Taxon name on voucher: Merremia tuberosa (L.) Rendle
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
invasive
Josekutty, P. C./Wakuk, E. E./Joseph, M. J. (2002) (p. 63)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1991) (pp. 47-48)
French Polynesia
Clipperton Island
Clipperton (Arue, Avera) Island   Sachet, M.-H. (1962) (p. 94)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Voucher cited: J. Florence 9291 (PAP)
Ornementale rare.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1988) (voucher ID: BISH 558259)
Taxon name on voucher: Merremia tuberosa (L.) Rendle
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
cultivated
Stone, Benjamin C. (1970) (p. 496)
Voucher cited: McGregor 551
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 227)
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1911) (voucher ID: BISH 140392)
Taxon name on voucher: Merremia tuberosa (L.) Rendle
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1918) (voucher ID: BISH 140393)
Taxon name on voucher: Merremia tuberosa (L.) Rendle
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 563-564)
Sparingly naturalized.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 563-564)
Sparingly naturalized.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank (2007) (p. 22)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer & J. Penniman H50624 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 563-564)
Sparingly naturalized.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Oppenheimer, Hank L. (2006) (p. 11)
Voucher cited: Oppenheimer H30417 (BISH, PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 563-564)
Sparingly naturalized.
Kiribati
Phoenix Islands
Kanton Island introduced
cultivated
Fosberg, F. R./Stoddart, D. R. (1994) (p. 20)
Seen in 1975.
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (p. 227)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 100)
Not seen on this survey and may no longer be present.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 42)
Vouchers cited: Pancher 532, Balansa 542, Franc 1373, MacKee 21992
Spontané, "liane cultivé très envahissante"
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 74)
Vouchers cited: CHR 169784, CHR 169789
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2000) (p. 5)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Yuncker, T. G. (1943) (p. 99)
Voucher cited: Yuncker 9967 (BISH)
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
invasive
Space, James C./Waterhouse, Barbara M./Newfield, Melanie/Bull, Cate (2004) (p. 12)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Savai‘i Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. 10)
United States (other Pacific offshore islands)
Johnston Atoll
Johnston Island introduced
cultivated
Amerson, A. Binion, Jr./Shelton, Philip C. (1976) (p. 59)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 224)
Ornamental.
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) 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
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Envahissant"
French Territory of Mayotte
Mayotte Islands
Mayotte Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France (2013)
Envahissant principalement dans les milieux perturbés.
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)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Texas
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  A problem species in Hawai‘i, observed to be weakly to moderately invasive on Guam and Saipan. Usually out-competed in Micronesia by more aggressive invasive species.

Quite prevalent and aggressive on Niue (Space & Flynn, 2000).

Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Hunsberger, 2001).

Control: 

Physical:  Seedlings can be hand pulled.

Chemical:  Basal application of a triclopyr herbicide mixed with an oil diluent (Randall & Marinelli, 1996; p. 149). Remove seed pods to prevent reinfestation and recheck periodically for new seedlings.  "Probably susceptible to hormone-type herbicides, as this family tends to be"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Additional information:
Excerpt from the book "Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide" (Motooka et al., 2003). (PDF format).

Additional online information about Merremia tuberosa is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

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

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

References:

Amerson, A. Binion, Jr./Shelton, Philip C. 1976. The natural history of Johnston Atoll. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 192. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 479 pp.

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1911. Voucher specimen #BISH 140392 (McGregor, R.C. 551).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1918. Voucher specimen #BISH 140393 (Nelson, P. 527).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1988. Voucher specimen #BISH 558259 (Florence, J. 9291).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1990. Voucher specimen #BISH 664893 (Sykes, W.R. 473852).

Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France. 2013. Les espéces envahissantes en outre-mer (online resource).

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./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.

Heine, Heino. 1984. 13. Convolvulacées. In: Morat, Ph.. et H. S. MacKee. Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et Dépendances. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Hunsberger, A. G. B. 2001. Invasive and banned plants of Miami-Dade County. U. of Fl. Extension. 3 pp.

Josekutty, P. C./Wakuk, E. E./Joseph, M. J. 2002. Invasive/weedy angiosperms in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia. In: Invasive species and their management. Micronesica Suppl. 6:61-65.

Lavergne, Christophe. 2006. List des especes exotiques envahissantes a La Reunion. Unpublished manuscript (Excel file). .

MacKee, H. S. 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 164 p.

Motooka, Philip/Castro, Luisa/Nelson, Duane/Nagai, Guy/Ching, Lincoln. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa. 184 pp.

Oppenheimer, Hank. 2007. New plant records from Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i for 2006. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2006. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 96:17-34.

Oppenheimer, Hank L. 2006. New Hawai‘i plant records for 2004. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2004-2005. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 88:10-15.

Randall, J. M./Marinelli, J. (eds.). 1996. Invasive plants: weeds of the global garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbook 149. 111 pp.

Sachet, M.-H. 1962. Geography and land ecology of Clipperton Island. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 86. Pacific Science Board, National Academy of Sciences, Washington. 115 pp.

Smith, Albert C. 1991. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 5. 626 pp.

Smith, Clifford W. 1985. Impact of Alien Plants on Hawai‘i's Native Biota. In: Stone, Charles P. and Scott, J. Michael, eds. Hawai‘i's terrestrial ecosystems: preservation and Management. Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii, Manoa.

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./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.

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

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

U. S. Government. 2013. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (on-line resource).

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

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

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).

Whistler, W. A. 2000. Plants in Samoan culture: The ethnobotany of Samoa. Isle Botanica. 234 pp. ISB: 0-9645426-6-8.

Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. 1999. Botanical survey of the United States of America Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Islands. Prepared for Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and the U. S. Army Environmental Center. 111 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.

Yuncker, T. G. 1943. The flora of Niue Island. Bishop Mus. Bull. 178. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 126 pp.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.