Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

Senecio madagascariensis
(Asteraceae)

fireweed

  
image of Senecio madagascariensis
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Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) is a daisy-like herb that grows upright and branched, up to 20 inches tall. Its yellow flowers each have 13 petals and look like small daisies about the size of a nickel which mature into white thistle balls.  Since its introduction to Hawaii, Senecio madagascariensis has invaded thousands of acres of pastures. Fireweed displaces forage grasses and is toxic to livestock. Fireweed is a serious pasture weed in numerous locations outside of its Afro-Madagascan native ranges.   Accidentally introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1980s fireweed is now widely distributed on Hawaii and Maui where it is currently the target of a biological control programme. It appears that fireweed reached the archipelago secondarily from Australia and that Hawaiian populations most closely resemble native populations from eastern South Africa.  It has large distribution ranges in highland areas in Kenya and Colombia and areas in Argentina, Hawaii and south-eastern Australia.  Senecio madagascariensis is native to eastern South Africa, Madagascar. 


Featured items

New herbicides in fireweed management (video)
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) herbicide trials on windy Waimea ranchland, Hawaii Island, using a modified spray system for high wind conditions, test various products. Results after 30 days are shown in a YouTube video posted by James Leary of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (9/28/2009).


Species description or overview

Senecio madagascariensis information from CTAHR (Motooka et al.) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Information about Senecio madagascariensis from "Weeds of Hawaii's pastures and natural areas: an identification and management guide" (Motooka et al. 2003) is provided by the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

Senecio madagascariensis information from PIER
Information on Senecio madagascariensis as relevant to Pacific Islands is provided by the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project (PIER).


Taxonomy & nomenclature

GRIN nomenclature info for Senecio madagascariensis
Nomenclatural information about Senecio madagascariensis is provided by USDA/ARS/NGRP/GRIN.

Senecio madagascariensis information from the Smithsonian's Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Senecio madagascariensis--including nomenclature and synonymy, and status and distribution in Hawaii--is provided by the "Flora of the Hawaiian Islands" website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Links from this page include descriptive information about the species, as well as worldwide distributional information and general information about the genus.

Senecio madagascariensis information from ITIS
The Integrated Taxonomic Information System ITIS provides authoritative taxonomic information on Senecio madagascariensis, as well as other plants, animals, fungi, and microbes of North America and the world.

IPNI nomenclature info for Senecio madagascariensis
Nomenclatural information about Senecio madagascariensis is provided by The International Plant Names Index (IPNI).


Pest alerts

Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) found on Molokai
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) has apparently been found on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai (February 2010). Rapid response is encouraged to try to prevent this pest species from becoming well-estabished.

1-page info sheets View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) pest alert flyer


Impacts

Senecio madagascariensis (Asteraceae): species information from GCW
Information on Senecio madagascariensis as relevant to Pacific Islands is provided by the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).


Risk assessments

Senecio madagascariensis weed risk assessment for Hawaii-Pacific
Results of a weed risk assessment for Senecio madagascariensis for the Hawaii-Pacific region are presented by the Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment team.


Control methods

1-page info sheets View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) pest alert flyer

Fireweed biocontrol - 2006 report
Two of three promising fireweed biocontrol agents perished in captivity, according to this report from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Introductions for biological control in Hawaii 1997-2001 View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The introduction of 16 insect and five fungal species to control six weeds and four insect pests in Hawaii from 1997-2001 is discussed in a paper by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (Proceedings Hawaiian Entomological Society, 2003).

Senecio madagascariensis information from CTAHR (Motooka et al.) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Information about Senecio madagascariensis from "Weeds of Hawaii's pastures and natural areas: an identification and management guide" (Motooka et al. 2003) is provided by the University of Hawaii's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

New herbicides in fireweed management (video)
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) herbicide trials on windy Waimea ranchland, Hawaii Island, using a modified spray system for high wind conditions, test various products. Results after 30 days are shown in a YouTube video posted by James Leary of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (9/28/2009).

Utilizing "Wet Blade" to control fireweed (video)
The "Wet Blade" chemical delivery system to control fireweed is evaluated using various herbicides under high wind conditions on Maui (YouTube video posted by James Leary of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, 11/24/2009).

Control of Madagascar ragwort (aka Madagascar fireweed, Senecio madagascariensis) View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Cultural and chemical measures to control fireweed are discussed in a pest alert issued by the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Department of Agriculture (2004).

Herbicidal weed control methods for pastures and natural areas of Hawaii View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
This comprehensive review of herbicide application methods includes calculations for formulations, and appendices listing herbicides registered for use in Hawaii and their toxicities (University of Hawaii, 2002).


Biocontrol efforts

State proposes introduction of moth to control invasive fireweed plant
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture proposes the introduction of a moth (Secusio extensa) into Hawaii as a natural enemy and biological control agent for the fireweed plant (MauiNow article with images, 9/10/2010).

Ranchers battling an invasive and poisonous weed will soon receive help
A caterpillar that is a natural enemy of fireweed was located in Madagascar and approval is being sought to have it released in Hawaii to control the fireweed infestation (KHON 2 news, video, 8/23/2010).

2006 Annual Report for Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) Plant Pest Control Branch View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
New insect introductions and projects involving invasive species are reviewed in Appendix IV of the 2006 HDOA annual report.

Annual report for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for FY2008 View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The annual report for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture for fiscal year 2008 includes information on--among other things--new pest detections and identification, and projects of the branch's Biological Control and Chemical/Mechanical (CM) Sections.

Field release of Secusio extensa (Butler) (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae), for biological control of fireweed, Senecio madagascariensis Poiret (Asterales: Asteraceae), in Hawaii View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
The draft environmental assessment regarding biological control of fireweed was prepared by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (January 2008).

Introductions for biological control in Hawaii 1997-2001
Culliney, Thomas W., Walter T. Nagamine, and Kenneth K. Teramoto. 2003. Introductions for biological control in Hawaii 1997-2001. Proc. Hawaiian Entomol. Soc. (2003) 36:145-153.

Evaluation of Puccinia lagenophorae as a biocontrol agent for Senecio madagascariensis in Hawaii
Rust agent Puccinia lagenophorae infects fireweed, but also native Hawaiian members of Asteraceae (abstract, Phytopathology, 2001).

Senecio madagascariensis as a biocontrol target in Hawaii
Information and references regarding Senecio madagascariensis as a biocontrol target in Hawaii--including the status of each of its biocontrol agents--are provided by the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).


Videos

Ranchers battling an invasive and poisonous weed will soon receive help
A caterpillar that is a natural enemy of fireweed was located in Madagascar and approval is being sought to have it released in Hawaii to control the fireweed infestation (KHON 2 news, video, 8/23/2010).

New herbicides in fireweed management (video)
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) herbicide trials on windy Waimea ranchland, Hawaii Island, using a modified spray system for high wind conditions, test various products. Results after 30 days are shown in a YouTube video posted by James Leary of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (9/28/2009).

Utilizing "Wet Blade" to control fireweed (video)
The "Wet Blade" chemical delivery system to control fireweed is evaluated using various herbicides under high wind conditions on Maui (YouTube video posted by James Leary of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, 11/24/2009).


Images

Images of Senecio madagascariensis from HEAR
Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR)

1-page info sheets View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) pest alert flyer

Images of Senecio madagascariensis (Asteraceae) (fireweed)
Links to high-resolution free images of Senecio madagascariensis (Asteraceae) (fireweed) by Forest & Kim Starr (USGS) are available here.

Senecio madagascariensis information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Senecio madagascariensis in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

Senecio madagascariensis images from PIER
Images of Senecio madagascariensis provided by the Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk project (PIER).


Distribution

Senecio madagascariensis information from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Senecio madagascariensis in Hawaii is available from the Smithsonian Flora of the Hawaiian Islands.

Senecio madagascariensis information from the Smithsonian's Flora of the Hawaiian Islands
Information about Senecio madagascariensis--including nomenclature and synonymy, and status and distribution in Hawaii--is provided by the "Flora of the Hawaiian Islands" website of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Links from this page include descriptive information about the species, as well as worldwide distributional information and general information about the genus.

Fireweed - 2006 report
Fireweed infestations on the Islands of Kauai and Oahu are contained, according to this 2006 report from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

New plant records from East Maui for 1998 View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
Eleven new species are reported for East Maui.

Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) found on Molokai
Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) has apparently been found on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai (February 2010). Rapid response is encouraged to try to prevent this pest species from becoming well-estabished.


Books

Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide
Motooka, Philip, Luisa Castro, Duane Nelson, Guy Nagai, and Lincoln Ching. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (University of Hawaii--Manoa), Honolulu. 184 pp. color illus. ISBN: 1-929325-14-2.


In the news

State proposes introduction of moth to control invasive fireweed plant
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture proposes the introduction of a moth (Secusio extensa) into Hawaii as a natural enemy and biological control agent for the fireweed plant (MauiNow article with images, 9/10/2010).

Ranchers battling an invasive and poisonous weed will soon receive help
A caterpillar that is a natural enemy of fireweed was located in Madagascar and approval is being sought to have it released in Hawaii to control the fireweed infestation (KHON 2 news, video, 8/23/2010).

Fireweed pretty, toxic
Cooperation and vigilence are needed to combat fireweed on Maui, according to the editorial from the publisher of the Maui News (Maui News, 4/2/2009).

Biological fix for invasive species: State wants larvae to take bite out of fireweed
The potential for controlling fireweed in Hawaii by introducing the Secusio extensa moth is discussed in a Maui News article (6/15/2008).

Bugs readied for eco-battle
The erythrina gall wasp, nettle caterpillar, and Madagascar fireweed are Hawaii pests that may be combatted by biocontrol agents if Hawaii receives federal approval for their release (Honolulu Advertiser, 5/11/2008).

Fighting invasive species with biocontrol (Maui News, 5/29/2005)
The battle against some of the most destructive invasive species in Hawaii might be won only with the help of the biocontrol, the introduction of more species. Various experts comment on changing attitudes toward this method.


Full-text articles

Resolving the native provenance of invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) Poir.) in the Hawaiian Islands as inferred from phylogenetic analysis View info about Adobe Acrobat PDF format
DNA sequence data indicate Hawaiian fireweed is most closely related to populations from the KwaZulu-Natal region in South Africa, where host-specific natural enemies are most likely to be found (Diversity and Distributions, 2006).

Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide
Motooka, Philip, Luisa Castro, Duane Nelson, Guy Nagai, and Lincoln Ching. 2003. Weeds of Hawaii's Pastures and Natural Areas: An Identification and Management Guide. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (University of Hawaii--Manoa), Honolulu. 184 pp. color illus. ISBN: 1-929325-14-2.

Maui Offshore Islet Botanical Survey
Starr, F., K. Starr, and Wood K. 2006. Maui Offshore Islet Botanical Survey. Report prepared for State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Offshore Islet Restoration Committee, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Introductions for biological control in Hawaii 1997-2001
Culliney, Thomas W., Walter T. Nagamine, and Kenneth K. Teramoto. 2003. Introductions for biological control in Hawaii 1997-2001. Proc. Hawaiian Entomol. Soc. (2003) 36:145-153.


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