Miconia is a fast growing weedy tree that reaches 4-15 m (13-50 ft) in height. It has large leaves that average 3' long and 1' wide, and are dark green and felty above, with a distinctive "leaf within a leaf" vein pattern. The underside of the leaves are purple. It produces dark purple fruits that are 1/3" in diameter and contain hundreds of seeds.
Impacts: Miconia trees grow quickly and close together, shading out nearly all other forest plants with their large oval leaves. It also has a shallow root system and can cause increased erosion and landslides. Miconia quickly matures, producing fruit after three to four years and flowers and fruits several times a year. Plants produce ten to twenty million seeds a year, which can remain viable for twelve years and possibly longer
Dispersal Mechanism: Birds and animals (such as rats) spread miconia seed long distances. Seeds, about the size of a sand grain, are unintentionally spread by humans and hitchhike on clothes, boots, gear, pets, and contaminated vehicles, equipment, and soil. Hitckhiking seeds have been moved on hapu'u fern (Cibotium spp.) stumps. Miconia is found on the windward side of the Big Island of Hawaii, and small areas of East Maui, the Koolau range on Oahu, and Wailua State Park area on Kauai. If you see it anywhere else in Hawaii- let someone know!
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