Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Tibouchina herbacea
(DC.) Cogn., Melastomataceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 24 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: cane ti, cane tibouchina, glorybush, tibouchina, tibouchinati

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Herbs or subshrubs up to 1 m tall; young branches quadrate, densely covered with spreading, simple, usually gland-tipped hairs.  Leaves ovate to oblong-ovate, 3-7.5 cm long, 1.3-3.5 cm wide, 5 (-7)-nerved with lateral primary veins confluent for 2-4 mm at base of blade, both surfaces moderately strigose, the hairs on upper surface adnate part of their length to the leaf surface, margins serrulate, apex acute, base rounded, petioles 3-10 mm long.  Inflorescences 10-20 cm long (incl. peduncle), bracts and bracteoles elliptic to broadly ovate, 1-3.5 mm long, 1-2 mm wide at base, tardily deciduous, ciliolate; hypanthium covered with spreading, simple, gland-tipped hairs; calyx lobes erect, deltate to ovate, 2-3 mm long, 1-2 mm wide at base, ciliolate; petals 4, pink, 6-11 mm long, 5-6 mm wide; larger anthers yellow, 2.5-4 mm long, with prolonged connective and appendage collectively ca. 0.5 mm long, smaller anthers 2-3 mm long, with shorter connective and appendage but otherwise as in larger anthers.  Fruiting hypanthium 4-5 mm long, 3.5-5 mm wide.  Seeds 0.25-0.5 mm long"  (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 915).

Habitat/ecology:  In Hawai‘i, "naturalized and locally abundant in disturbed mesic to wet forest" (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 915).  "Forms dense stands in pastures and disturbed forest sites.  Displaces native species"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Propagation:  "Prolific seeder, spread by birds"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Native range:  Southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 915).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 914-915)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Herbarium Pacificum Staff (1999) (p. 5)
Voucher cited: C. Imada, H. Oppenheimer, J.S. Meidell & C. Gemmill 98-3 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (pp. 914-915)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wysong, Michael/Hughes, Guy/Wood, K. R. (2007) (p. 5)
Voucher cited: K.R. Wood & Hughes 10685 (PTBG)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2007) (p. 10)
Voucher cited: R. Smith OISC 003 (BISH). "All plants located were controlled after identification".

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

Control: 

Chemical:  "Patty Welton (Haleakala National Park) reported application of undiluted triclopyr ester to the stem base provided 100% kill.  Pat Bily (TNC) reported triclopyr amine effective in foliar sprays with a surfactant and in cut-stump treatments.  Based on work with other melastomes, probably sensitive to 2,4-D, dicamba, triclopyr, and metsulfuron.  HAVO staff reported control with foliar application of glyphosate at 2% product in water (Chris Zimmer, HAVO)"  (Motooka et al., 2003).

Biological:  Some work has been undertaken on biological control in Hawai‘i.  "Syphma ubembensis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) appears to be specific to T. herbacea and one or two other closely related species. It damages the leaves heavily, essentially skeletonizing them. The magnitude of the impact is under investigation. A species of Schmnkensteinia (Lepidoptera: Schrenkensteiniidae), a leaf skeletonizer, is a promising potential biological control agent. There are also two species of Anthonomus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) that appear promising; they now are undergoing life history and impact studies in Brazil. A species of Margamdisa (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) also may prove to be useful but we do not know which plant species the larvae attack"  (Smith et al., 2002; p. 98).

"Researchers in Brazil have identified several natural enemies of Tibouchina herbacea for potential biological control use in Hawaii, the most promising of which is the leaf beetle Syphraea uberabensis (Coleoptera). The beetle is being tested in quarantine by the Institute of Pacific Island Forestry. In 2002 on Maui, the clidemia beetle Lius poseidon was observed on Tibouchina herbacea. The beetle was released in 1988 to control Clidemia hirta, another invasive melastome"  (Biological control in Hawai‘i).

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 Tibouchina herbacea is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

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

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

References:

Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex. 2007. New plant records from O‘ahu 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 96:8-13.

Herbarium Pacificum Staff. 1999. New Hawaiian plant records for 1998. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1998. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 58:3-11.

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.

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./ Denslow, Julie/ Hight, Stephen. 2002. Proceedings of workshop on biological control of native ecosystems in Hawai‘i. Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Botany) Technical Report 129. 122 pages.

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

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).

Wysong, Michael/Hughes, Guy/Wood, K. R. 2007. New Hawaiian plant records for the island of Moloka‘i. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2006. Part 2: Notes. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 96:1-8.


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 11 FEB 2010.