Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Topobea parasitica
Aubl., Melastomataceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk (based on second screen), score: 3 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Blakea parasitica (Aubl.) D. Don

Habit:  shrub

Description:  "Hemiepiphytic shrub.  Young stems inconspicuously quadrangular, young parts pubescent with adpressed bristles about 1 mm in length, also have short trichomes, soon becoming glabrous.  Leaf blades broadly elliptic, 6-12 cm in length, 4-8 cm wide, usually with a short, ca 5 mm acuminate apex, bases acute to obtuse, entire, 5-nerved.  Petioles 1.5-4 cm long.  Axillary flowers borne below foliage, 1 or more per node.  Pedicels about 12-15 mm.  Corolla magenta to pink, petals 1-1.5 cm long, 7-10 mm wide, obovate, recurved at apex.  Clawed stamens about 1 cm long, fused into a collar around the style"  (Imada et al., 2007; pp. 32-33).

Habitat/ecology:  "In its native range it is a gap colonizer.  Species with this life history trait often exhibit biological characteristics such as high germination rates, rapid growth, and early maturity.  They also tend to be efficient at reproduction and dispersal.  These traits also increase a plant's likeliness of becoming invasive.  In addition to these invasive characteristics, T. parasitica is tolerant of shade, meaning it can establish itself in both shaded and open areas"  (Imada et al., 2007; p. 32).

Propagation:  "The small red berries are dispersed by birds.  Conservative estimates by an expert are that one plant can produce hundreds (but probably thousands) of flowers in a season, and that each fruit contains many dozens (but probably well over a hundred) seeds.  It reaches reproductive maturity quickly, within 3 years.  Closely related species are shown to be self-compatible"  (Imada et al., 2007; pp. 32-33).

Native range:  "Costa Rica to Columbia to French Guiana"  (Imada et al., 2007; p. 34).


Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
Imada, Clyde T./Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex/Smith, Ryan (2007) (p. 34)


Chemical:  "No control has been performed on this species previously.  Cut-stump treatments with Garlon 4 (active ingredient triclopyr) would likely be effective.  Since no chemical treatments have been tested, plants treated this way should be monitored closely for effectiveness" 

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This page was created on 28 DEC 2006 and was last updated on 27 APR 2010.