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Miconia calvescens (Melastomataceae)

Miconia (Miconia calvescens) is the Oahu Invasive Species Committee's (OISC) number one priority species for control because of the severity of the threat it poses to Hawaii's natural areas and watersheds.

All species of Miconia are included in the list of plant species designated as noxious weeds PDF icon by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated miconia as one of Hawaii's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants.

Miconia, a native of tropical America, is a member of the melastome family (Melastomataceae) and is closely related to other invasive plants such as Clidemia and Tibouchina. In Tahiti, miconia dominates nearly 70% of the forests and causes significant erosion problems. Miconia was originally introduced to Hawaii in the 1960s as an ornamental plant and was transported by botanical gardens and commercial nurseries throughout the state. From those planted individuals, birds have dispersed the small, fleshy berries of miconia into nearby forested areas.

In Hawaii, the worst infestation occurs on the Big Island, with approximately 25,000 acres infested. On Maui, the infestation extends over approximately 12,000 acres. Approximately 1,000 acres on each of these islands consist of dense, monotypic miconia stands. This species is known to occur in Kalihi, Manoa, Tantalus-Makiki, Nuuanu, Maunawili, Waimanalo, and Kahaluu on Oahu.

Control has been conducted by the Sierra Club and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture in Kalihi and Manoa Valleys for over five years, and is ongoing in conjunction with paid OISC staff members.

For more information:

miconia (Miconia calvescens)
(Miconia calvescens)

map of miconia (Miconia calvescens) distribution on Oahu (2002)

map of miconia (Miconia calvescens) distribution on Oahu (2002)

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The Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) project is currently funded by the Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) through PIERC (USGS) with support from HCSU (UH-Hilo). More details are available online. Pacific Basin Information Node (PBIN) National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII)

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The source material for the content of this page was provided by the OISC and edited by HEAR . Image credits: Both the Miconia calvescens image and Oahu range map are from OISC. This page was created on 05 June 2003 by PT, and was last updated on 27 March 2007 by LF. Valid HTML 4.01!