Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Verbena bonariensis
L., Verbenaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Common name(s): [more details]

English: purple top, purple-top vervain, purpletop, purpletop vervain, South American vervain, tall verbena, verbena

Fijian: sekara, vunikuta

Niuean: momili vao

Habit:  herb

Description:  "Coarse, erect annual or perennial herbs 3-20 dm tall, sometimes somewhat woody toward base; stems erect, conspicuously quadrangular, scabrous to hispid.  Leaves decussate, lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 4.5-13 cm long, 0.6-2 cm wide, upper surface rugose and hirtellous, lower surface spreading pubescent, both surfaces occasionally hirsute or scabrous, margins somewhat revolute, unequally serrate, entire toward base, apex acute, base cordate, sessile and somewhat clasping the stem.  Flowers numerous in 4-10 spikes 1-2 (-5) cm long, these in a paniculate arrangement, bracts lanceolate, as long as or slightly longer than calyx; calyx ca. 3 mm long, hispidulous, not glandular pubescent; corolla blue, violet, lavender, or purple, the tube ca. 6-7 mm long" (Wagner et al., 1999; pp. 1325, 1896).

Habitat/ecology:  "Grass- and woodland, riparian habitats, forest edges, disturbed sites.  Were invasive, this plant often forms dense swards that crowd out native plants.  It establishes well in disturbed sites and may persist"  (Weber, 2003; p. 450).

In Fiji, "sometimes grown in gardens as an ornamental but is more often considered a weed in settlements and waste places from near sea level to about 850 m" (Smith, 1991; pp. 166-167). In New Guinea, "a weed of waste land and pastures; not aggressive, but persistent, and sometimes prominent after prolonged heavy grazing. At altitudes from 1000 to 2500 m" (Henty & Pritchard, 1975; p. 161).

Propagation:  Seed.  "The long-lived seeds are accumulated in a soil seed bank"  (Weber, 2003; p. 450).

Native range:  Brazil and Bolivia to Argentina and Chile, now widespread in South America and many other parts of the world (Wagner et al., 1999; p. 1325).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island introduced
Pickard, J. (1984) (p. 208)
Australia (Pacific offshore islands)
Norfolk Islands
Norfolk Island introduced
invasive
Orchard, Anthony E., ed. (1994) (p. 11)
"Presumably introduced as a garden ornamental, now commonly naturalised and spreading on the Island". Voucher cited: W.R. Sykes NI 161 (CHR)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1991) (pp. 166-167)
Vouchers cited: DA 2465, Meebold Aug. 1932, Vakaloloma & Lambel (CHR 307758)
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rapa Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (2002) (voucher ID: PTBG 42103)
Taxon name on voucher: Verbena bonariensis
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy W./Wagner, Warren L. (1995) (p. 55)
Vouchers cited: T. Flynn & W.L. Wagner 3980 (BISH, MO, PTBG, US), W.L. Wagner & T. Flynn 6757 (BISH, PTBG, US)
Probably introduced as a grass seed contaminant.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Lāna‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1325)
Voucher cited: Munro 352 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1325)
Voucher cited: Hobdy 2817 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Moloka‘i Island introduced
invasive
Wagner, Warren L./Herbst, Derral R./Sohmer, S. H. (1999) (p. 1325)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2008) (pp. 9-10)
Voucher cited: K. Kawelo s.n. (BISH 727457). Plants removed by O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Islands   Swarbrick, John T. (1997) (p. 98)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
invasive
Tassin, Jacques (2005)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 140)
Vouchers cited: Le Rat 330, Däniker 114, MacKee 7874, MacKee 36675, Koyama & al. 4238
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) introduced
invasive
Tassin, Jacques (2005)
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île des Pins (Isle of Pines) introduced
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 140)
Voucher cited: Germain s.n.
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Sykes, W. R. (1977) (pp. 150-151)
New Zealand (offshore islands)
Kermadec Islands
Raoul Island introduced
invasive
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 1277)
"Roadsides, waste places in and around settlements, open and modified habitats".
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 215)
Not common per Sykes. Voucher cited: CHR 169881
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island)
Papua New Guinea (eastern New Guinea Island) introduced
invasive
Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. (1975) (p. 161)
Reported from several localities, at altitudes from 1000 to 2500 m.
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Island introduced
invasive
St. John, H. (1987) (p. 48)
Vouchers cited: R. A. Young 8, St. John 14993, J. P. Chapin 947
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Islands
Pitcairn Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Paulay, Gustav/Spencer, T./Oliver, Royce (1989) (p. 15)
Voucher cited: Paulay, Spencer & Schuster 681 (US)
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) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Naturalized
Chile (continental)
Chile
Chile (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 232)
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 188)
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand (country) introduced
invasive
cultivated
Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. (1988) (p. 1277)
"Roadsides, waste places in and around settlements, open and modified habitats".
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Mascarene Islands
Mascarene Islands (Mauritius, La Reunion, Rodrigues)
Mascarene Islands introduced
Weber, Ewald (2003) (p. 450)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island   Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. (1979) (p. 378)

Control: 

Physical:  Hand pull or dig out seedlings and scattered plants.

Chemical:  Treat large stands with herbicide (Weber, 2003; p. 450).

Additional information:
Additional online information about Verbena bonariensis is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

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

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

References:

Fosberg, F. R./Paulay, Gustav/Spencer, T./Oliver, Royce. 1989. New collections and notes on the plants of Henderson, Pitcairn, Oeno, and Ducie Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin No. 329. Smithsonian Institution, Washington. 18 pp.

Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex. 2008. New plant records from O‘ahu for 2007. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucias G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2007. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 100:3-12.

Henty, E. E./Pritchard, G. H. 1975. Weeds of New Guinea and their control. 2nd edition. Department of Forests, Division of Botany, Botany Bull. No. 7. Lae, Papua New Guinea. 180 pp.

Holm, Leroy/Pancho, Juan V./Herberger, James P./Plucknett, Donald L. 1979. A geographical atlas of world weeds. John Wiley & Sons, New York. 391 pp.

Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy W./Wagner, Warren L. 1995. Contributions to the flora of Hawai‘i. III. New additions, range extensions, and rediscoveries of flowering plants. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Miller, Scott, E., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 1994. Part 1: Articles. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 41:19-58.

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

Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro. 2004. Invasive alien species in Japan: the status quo and the new regulation for prevention of their adverse effects. Global Environmental Research 8(2)/2004: 171-191.

Orchard, Anthony E., ed. 1994. Flora of Australia. Vol. 49, Oceanic islands 1. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

Pickard, J. 1984. Exotic plants on Lord Howe Island: Distribution in space and time, 1853-1981. J. of Biogeography 11:181-208.

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

St. John, H. 1987. An account of the flora of Pitcairn Island with new Pandanus species. Pacific Plant Studies 46. Honolulu, 65 pp. [Privately published].

Swarbrick, John T. 1997. Weeds of the Pacific Islands. Technical paper no. 209. South Pacific Commission, Noumea, New Caledonia. 124 pp.

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

Sykes, W. R. 1977. Kermadec Islands flora: an annotated checklist. New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research Bulletin 219, Wellington. 216 pp.

Tassin, Jacques. 2005. Jacques Tassin (IAC-CIRAD), personal communication.

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

Webb, C. J./Sykes, W. R./Garnock-Jones, P. J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch. 1365 pp.

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


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

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This page was created on 8 AUG 2002 and was last updated on 24 AUG 2011.