Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Rhodomyrtus tomentosa
(Aiton) Hassk., Myrtaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 8 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: tao jin niang

English: downy myrtle, downy rose myrtle, Isenberg bush, rhodomyrtus, rose myrtle

French: feijoarte-groseille, myrte-groseille

Spanish: guayabillo forastero

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "A large shrub to small twiggy tree, up to 10 feet high; older branches yellowish, fissured with loose bark. Leaves 2 to 3 inches long, 3-veined from the base, oval, obtuse to sharp pointed at the tip, densely gray or rarely yellowish-hairy beneath, entire, with wide leafstalk. Flowers 3/4 to 1 inch wide, solitary or two to three; petals tinged white outside with purplish-pink or all pink. Fruit purple, round, 3-celled, capped with persistent calyx lobes, about 1/2 inch wide, soft with double row of seeds in each cell, edible. Seeds triangular" (Haselwood, 1966; p. 282).

Habitat/ecology:  "Open forests, woodland, pineland.  This shrub is common in open sandy ground, sea shores, and riverbanks where native.  It is well adapted to dry and hot places, and tolerates saline soils.  It invades pineland in Florida and displaces the native understorey vegetation with dense and impenetrable, pure thickets.  Little is known on the ecology of this plant"  (Weber, 2003; p. 359).  This noxious evergreen shrub rarely grows above 3 m but forms dense thickets (Smith, 1985; p. 201). "Thrives in environments where annual rainfall exceeds 1200 mm.  A weed of pasture, rangeland and untended  areas. Forms impenetrable thickets" (Waterhouse & Mitchell, 1998; pp. 55-56).

In Hawai‘i, "cultivated and naturalized in disturbed mesic forest to wet forest, rearely bog margins, 200-640 m"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 972).

Propagation:  Produces large amounts of seed that are dispersed by frugivorous birds and possibly mammals  (Weber, 2003; p. 359).

Native range:  Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
invasive
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2000) (p. 93)
"Mesic/wet habitats"
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island possibly introduced
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (p. 201)
Vouchers cited: Whistler 4884, BRY 24865, BRY 26622
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
invasive
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Vouchers cited: J. Florence 10448 (PAP), J. Florence 10672 (PAP), J. Florence 11903 (PAP)
Naturalisée, Menace pour la biodiversité
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1990) (voucher ID: BISH 642901)
Taxon name on voucher: Rhodomyrtus tomentosa (Aiton) Hassk.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1993) (voucher ID: BISH 658360)
Taxon name on voucher: Rhodomyrtus tomentosa (Aiton) Hassk.
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (1981) (voucher ID: PTBG 37702)
Taxon name on voucher: Rhodomyrtus tomentosa
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 972-973)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 972-973)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Staples, George W./Imada, Clyde T./Herbst, Derral R. (2002) (p. 13)
Voucher cited: O. & I. Degener 28503 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 972-973)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands   Merrill, Elmer D. (1923) (p. 156)
In thickets at low altitudes.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia (Kingdom of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (pp. 163-164)
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) native
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 75)
Common
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
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)
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) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  On the State of Hawai‘i noxious weed list.

A serious problem on Raiatea, French Polynesia (Meyer, 1998).

Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning, 2010).

Control: 

Physical:  Hand pull or dig out seedlings and young plants. "Not grazed by cattle"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Chemical:  Cut large plants and treat the stumps with herbicide.  "Sensitive to foliar applications of dicamba at 2 lb/acre and triclopyr at 2 lb/acre but requires follow-up treatments.  Sensitive to conventional basal bark applications of 2% triclopyr ester product and to 20% in very-low-volume basal bark applications.  In stump bark applications, 2% 2,4-D or triclopyr ester products in oil by conventional spraying or 20% triclopyr ester product in very-low-volume applications were effective.  Tolerates metsulfuron and soil-applied tebuthiuron"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Additional information:
Report (PDF format) from US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Haleakala Field Station, Hawaii "Plants of Hawaii".
Excerpt from the book "Weeds of Hawaii‘s Pastures and Natural Areas; An Identification and Management Guide" (Motooka et al., 2003). (PDF format).
Information from the World Agroforestry Centre's AgroForestryTree Database.
Information from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information from the book "Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas" (PDF format).

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

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

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

References:

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1990. Voucher specimen #BISH 642901 (Florence 10448).

Bishop Museum (Honolulu). 1993. Voucher specimen #BISH 658360 (Florence 11903).

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.

Délégation à l'Environnement/Délégation à Recherche. 2001. Les plantes envahissantes en Polynésie Française. French Polynesia. 2 p. folder.

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).

Haselwood, E. L./Motter, G. G. 1983. Handbook of Hawaiian Weeds. Second edition, revised and expanded by Robert T. Hirano. University of Hawaii Press. 491 pp.

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

Langeland, K. A./Burks, K. Craddock. eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 pp.

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

Meyer, Jean-Yves. 1998. Mécanismes et gestion des invasions biologiques par des plantes introduites dans des forêts naturales à Hawai‘i et Polynésie Française: une étude de cas [Mechanisms and management of biological invasions by alien plants in Hawaiian and French Polynesian natural forests: a case study]. Dèlégation à la Recherche, B.P. 20981 Papeete, Tahiti, Polynésie Française. Unpublished report.

Meyer, Jean-Yves. 2000. Preliminary review of the invasive plants in the Pacific islands (SPREP Member Countries). In: Sherley, G. (tech. ed.). Invasive species in the Pacific: A technical review and draft regional strategy. South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Samoa. 190 pp.

Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning. 2010. The landscape manual. Draft ninth edition, August 2010. 249 pp.

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.

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.

Staples, George W./Imada, Clyde T./Herbst, Derral R. 2002. New Hawaiian plant records for 2000. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2000. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 68:3-18.

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, 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, B. M./Mitchell, A. A. 1998. Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy: weeds target list. Second edition. Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service, Miscellaneous Publication No. 6/98. 110 pp.

Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plants of the World. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 548 pp.

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.

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.

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


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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