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Have you seen Miconia (Miconia calvescens)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and the Big Island Hawaii


Miconia plant
Miconia plant
Miconia plant
Characteristic arcing vein shape and purple coloration on the underside of the leaf. This leaf is over one half meter (> 1.5 ft) long.
Miconia plant
Broken leaf pieces will resprout!
Images: Forest & Kim Starr

Identification: 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!

More information about this pest external link


Miconia look-alikes:


Clidemia hirta leaf detail

Koster's curse (Clidemia hirta):
Koster's curse is widespread in Hawaii. This shrub 0.5-3 m (4.9-9.8 ft) tall with leaves 5-16 cm (2-6.3 in) long and 3-8 cm (1.2-3.1 in) wide. Leaves are covered in STIFF HAIRS and are SMALLER THAN MICONIA.

Rubber tree (Ficus elastica):
Rubber tree is a shiny, leathery plant with broadly oval leaves 7-20 cm (3.8 in) long. The leaves have smooth edges and blunt pointed tips that are paler below than above and has CIRCULAR SCARS on twigs. This plant contains copious white latex.

Ficus elastica stem detail
Last Updated: Tuesday February 14 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.