Global invasive species database

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  • Leaves, flower and buds of Leucaena leucocephala at Kupang in west Timor, Indonesia (Photo: Colin Wilson)
  • Leaves, flowers and seed pods of Leucaena leucocephala at Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia (Photo: Colin Wilson)
  • Whole plants of Leucaena leucocephala at Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia (Photo: Colin Wilson)
  • Leucaena leucocephala seeds (Photo: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
  • Leucaena leucocephala stand (Photo: William M. Ciesla, Forest Health Management International, Bugwood.org)
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Common name
faux mimosa (French), acacia palida (English, Puerto Rico), guaje (Spanish), zarcilla (English, Puerto Rico), huaxin (Spanish), leucaena (English), uaxim (Spanish), wild mimosa (English, Bermuda), tamarindo silvestre (Spanish), wild tamarind (English, Puerto Rico), graines de lin (French), lino criollo (English, Dominican Republic), jumbie bean (English), tangantangan (Chamorro, CNMI), tangan-tangan (Chamorro, Guam), ganitnityuwan tangantan (Yapese), guaslim (Campeche, Mexico), guaxin (Maya, Yucatan), liliak (Totonaco, Veracruz, Mexico), tuhngantuhngan (English, Kosrae), koa-haole (English, Hawai'i), aroma blanca (English, Cuba), lamtoro (English, Indonesia), ipil-ipil (English, Philippines), kanthum thect (English, Cambodia), kan thin (English, Laos), kra thin (English, Thailand), bo chet (English, Vietnam), rohbohtin (English, Kosrae), subabul (English, India), kratin (English, Cambodia), schemu (English, Vietnam), false koa (English, Hawai'i), telentund (Palauan), lopa samoa (English, American Samoa), fua pepe (Samoan), lusina (Samoan), pepe (Niuean), nito (English, Cook Islands), siale mohemohe (Tongan), vaivai (Fijian), vaivai ni vavalangi (Fijian), vaivai dina (Fijian), balori (Fijian), cassis (English, Vanuatu), te kaitetua (I Kiribati), leucaena (English), horse/wild tamarind (English), lead tree (English), faux-acacia (French)
Synonym
Mimosa leucocephala , Lamark 1783
Acacia leucocephala , (Lamark) Link 1822
Leucaena glabrata , Rose 1897
Leucaena glauca , (L.) Benth. 1842
Similar species
Summary
The fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing tree/shrub Leucaena leucocephala, is cultivated as a fodder plant, for green manure, as a windbreak, for reforestation, as a biofuel crop etc. Leucaena has been widely introduced due to its beneficial qualities; it has become an aggressive invader in disturbed areas in many tropical and sub-tropical locations and is listed as one of the ‘100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species’. This thornless tree can form dense monospecific thickets and is difficult to eradicate once established. It renders extensive areas unusable and inaccessible and threatens native plants.
Species Description
The genus Leucaena is distinguished from all other Mimosoid legumes by its hairy anthers which are easily visible with a hand lens. Leucaena leucocephala is distinguished from other species of Leucaena by its intermediate leaflets and large pods in clusters of 5-20 per flower head. It forms a small to medium-sized thornless tree 3-15 (-20)m tall and 5-50cm bole diameter. The leaves are bipinnate with an elliptic convex extrafloral nectary on the petiole, 4-9 pairs of pinnae and 13-21 pairs of leaflets per pinna. The leaflets are 9-16mm long and 2-4.5mm wide, nearly sessile and strongly asymmetric linear oblong and acute at the apex. The flowers occur in 12-21mm diameter heads, are cream-white, with ten free stamens per flower and hairy anthers. The pods occur in crowded clusters of 5-20 per flower head and are 11-19cm long and 15-21mm wide pendulous, flattened and papery, and passively dehiscent with 8-18 seeds per pod. Three subspecies are recognised, two of which - subsp. leucocephala and subsp. glabrata have been introduced pantropically. These two subspecies correspond to shrubby = subsp. leucocephala variants, sometimes referred to as the Common or Hawai‘ian type, and to the more arborescent = subsp. glabrata variants, sometimes referred to as the Giant or Salvador type.
Lifecycle Stages
Trees are generally short-lived (20-40 years). The hard seed coat means that germination occurs over a prolonged period after seed dispersal and that seed can remain viable for long periods (at least 20 years) in the soil.
Habitat Description
Leucaena leucocephala is a weed of open (often coastal or riverine) habitats, semi-natural, disturbed, degraded habitats and other ruderal sites. It was assigned to the category of 'a serious or widespread weed invading semi-natural or natural habitats which are of some conservation interest' by Cronk and Fuller (1995) and as a Category II weed (a species which has a local distribution but either expanding populations, or known potential to invade and disrupt native vegetation elsewhere) in Florida by Gordon and Thomas (1997). It is not known to invade undisturbed closed forest habitats. It tolerates a wide range of rainfall from 500 - 3500mm and withstands strongly seasonal (6-8 month dry season) climates. However, it is not frost hardy and grows poorly, setting less seed in cooler tropical highland sites. The species also grows poorly on the acid soils with high Aluminium saturation that prevail in many humid tropical areas. In broad terms, it thus adapts well to a wide range of tropical and subtropical environments, especially seasonally dry tropical areas.
Reproduction
Self-fertile (promoting seed production even on isolated individuals), some outcrossing, pollinated by a wide range of generalist insects including large and small bees. Resprouts after cutting.
Flowering and seeding continually thoughout the year as long as moisture permits combined with self-fertility promotes abundant pod and seed set.
Pathway
Widely promoted by national and international agricultrual and forestry development agencies for agroforestry and agricultural use.Introduced by acclimatisation societies.

Principal source: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), 2011. Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) De wit\r\n

Compiler: IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review: Dr. Colin Hughes, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, OXFORD, UK.

Publication date: 2010-08-16

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Leucaena leucocephala. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=23 on 27-09-2016.

General Impacts
Leucaena leucocephala is spreading naturally and has been reported as a weed in more then 20 countries across all continents except Europe and Antarctica. It is a weed of open, often coastal or riverine habitats, semi-natural, and other disturbed or ruderal sites and occasionally in agricultural land. It can form dense monospecific thickets which are reported to be replacing native forest in some areas and threatening endemic species of conservation concern in some areas. Dense thickets, even if not of immediate conservation concern can render extensive areas of disturbed ground unusuable and inaccessible.
Management Info
Preventative measures: In Queensland, Australia, management practices aimed at minimising the risk of spread and invasion are being promoted under a code of good practice for livestock farmers who cultivate Leucaena. The policy endorsed in November 2004 \"addresses the need for land use management recommendations over the location, design and management of plantings of the shrub legume leucaena to reduce the weed risk. The policy has been developed by Government agencies with responsibilities for natural resource management following consultation with industry, local governments and community groups\" (NRM, 2005).

A Risk Assessment of \rLeucaena leucocephala for Hawai‘i and other Pacific islands was prepared by Dr. Curtis Daehler (UH Botany) with funding from the Kaulunani Urban Forestry Program and US Forest Service. The alien plant screening system is derived from Pheloung et al. (1999) with minor modifications for use in Pacific islands (Daehler et al. 2004). The result is a score of 15 and a recommendation of: \"Likely to cause significant ecological or economic harm in Hawai‘i and on other Pacific Islands as determined by a high WRA score, which is based on published sources describing species biology and behaviour in Hawai‘i and/or other parts of the world.\"

A Risk assessment of Leucaena leucocephala for Australia was prepared by Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) using the Australian risk assessment system (Pheloung, 1995). The result is a score of 11 and a recommendation of: reject the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be of high risk (Pacific). \r\n

Biological: A bruchid beetle seed predator, Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus has been deliberately introduced and released in South Africa as a biocontrol agent and the same insect has been accidentally introduced to Australia. The accidental spread of the psyllid insect defoliator Heteropsylla cubana in the mid 1980s can cause cyclical defoliation, but does not kill trees and the psyllid appears to have been brought under control by a number of generalist local (and in some cases introduced) psyllid predators and parasites.

Integrated management: Once established, Leucaena is difficult to eradicate. It resprouts vigorously after cutting. Cut stumps need to be treated with diesel or other chemicals. Furthermore, the soil seed bank can remain viable for at least 10-20 years after seed dispersal.

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Leucaena leucocephala
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • belize
  • mexico
Informations on Leucaena leucocephala has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Leucaena leucocephala in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
Leucaena leucocephala is spreading naturally and has been reported as a weed in more then 20 countries across all continents except Europe and Antarctica. It is a weed of open, often coastal or riverine habitats, semi-natural, and other disturbed or ruderal sites and occasionally in agricultural land. It can form dense monospecific thickets which are reported to be replacing native forest in some areas and threatening endemic species of conservation concern in some areas. Dense thickets, even if not of immediate conservation concern can render extensive areas of disturbed ground unusuable and inaccessible.
Locations
CAYMAN ISLANDS
SAINT HELENA
Mechanism
[3] Competition
Outcomes
[3] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [3] Reduction in native biodiversity
Management information
Preventative measures: In Queensland, Australia, management practices aimed at minimising the risk of spread and invasion are being promoted under a code of good practice for livestock farmers who cultivate Leucaena. The policy endorsed in November 2004 \"addresses the need for land use management recommendations over the location, design and management of plantings of the shrub legume leucaena to reduce the weed risk. The policy has been developed by Government agencies with responsibilities for natural resource management following consultation with industry, local governments and community groups\" (NRM, 2005).

A Risk Assessment of \rLeucaena leucocephala for Hawai‘i and other Pacific islands was prepared by Dr. Curtis Daehler (UH Botany) with funding from the Kaulunani Urban Forestry Program and US Forest Service. The alien plant screening system is derived from Pheloung et al. (1999) with minor modifications for use in Pacific islands (Daehler et al. 2004). The result is a score of 15 and a recommendation of: \"Likely to cause significant ecological or economic harm in Hawai‘i and on other Pacific Islands as determined by a high WRA score, which is based on published sources describing species biology and behaviour in Hawai‘i and/or other parts of the world.\"

A Risk assessment of Leucaena leucocephala for Australia was prepared by Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER) using the Australian risk assessment system (Pheloung, 1995). The result is a score of 11 and a recommendation of: reject the plant for import (Australia) or species likely to be of high risk (Pacific). \r\n

Biological: A bruchid beetle seed predator, Acanthoscelides macrophthalmus has been deliberately introduced and released in South Africa as a biocontrol agent and the same insect has been accidentally introduced to Australia. The accidental spread of the psyllid insect defoliator Heteropsylla cubana in the mid 1980s can cause cyclical defoliation, but does not kill trees and the psyllid appears to have been brought under control by a number of generalist local (and in some cases introduced) psyllid predators and parasites.

Integrated management: Once established, Leucaena is difficult to eradicate. It resprouts vigorously after cutting. Cut stumps need to be treated with diesel or other chemicals. Furthermore, the soil seed bank can remain viable for at least 10-20 years after seed dispersal.

Bibliography
25 references found for Leucaena leucocephala

Managment information
Daehler, C.C; Denslow, J.S; Ansari, S and Huang-Chi, K., 2004. A Risk-Assessment System for Screening Out Invasive Pest Plants from Hawaii and Other Pacific Islands. Conservation Biology Volume 18 Issue 2 Page 360.
Summary: A study on the use of a screening system to assess proposed plant introductions to Hawaii or other Pacific Islands and to identify high-risk species used in horticulture and forestry which would greatly reduce future pest-plant problems and allow entry of most nonpests.
Hughes, C. E. 1998. Leucaena. A Genetic Resources Handbook. Tropical Forestry Papers 37. Oxford Forestry Institute, Oxford. 274pp.
Hughes, C. E. and Jones, R. J. 1999. Environmental hazards of Leucaena. In Shelton, H. M., Gutteridge, R. C., Mullen, B. F. and Bray, R. A. (eds.). Leucaena - Adaptation, Quality and Farming Systems, Proceedings of a Workshop, Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 1998. ACIAR.
IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)., 2010. A Compilation of Information Sources for Conservation Managers.
Summary: This compilation of information sources can be sorted on keywords for example: Baits & Lures, Non Target Species, Eradication, Monitoring, Risk Assessment, Weeds, Herbicides etc. This compilation is at present in Excel format, this will be web-enabled as a searchable database shortly. This version of the database has been developed by the IUCN SSC ISSG as part of an Overseas Territories Environmental Programme funded project XOT603 in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment. The compilation is a work under progress, the ISSG will manage, maintain and enhance the database with current and newly published information, reports, journal articles etc.
Jones, R. J. and Jones, R. M. 1996. Thickening up of Leucaena stands in Australia - a caution. LEUCNET News 3: 19-20.
Kueffer, C. and Mauremootoo, J., 2004. Case Studies on the Status of Invasive Woody Plant Species in the Western Indian Ocean. 3. Mauritius (Islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues). Forest Health & Biosecurity Working Papers FBS/4-3E. Forestry Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
Natural Resources and Mines (NRM) Environmental Protection Agency Department of Primary Industries Queensland Government, November 2004. Policy to Reduce the Weed Threat of Leucaena.
Neser, S. 1994. Conflicts of interest? The Leucaena controversy. Plant Protection News South Africa 6: 8.
Neser, S. 1996. Acanthoscelides of Leucaena in South Africa. LEUCNET News 3: 16-18.
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER), 2011. Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit, Fabaceae
Summary: Ecology, synonyms, common names, distributions (Pacific as well as global), management and impact information.
Available from: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/leucaena_leucocephala.htm [Accessed 5 March 2011].
Renter�a, Jorge Luis; Rachel Atkinson, Ana Mireya Guerrero, Johanna Mader 2006. Manual de Identification y Manejo de Malezas en las Islas Gal�pagos. Segunda edici�n, Fundaci�n Charles Darwin, Santa Cruz, Gal�pagos, Ecuador.
Summary: An illustrated guide providing practical information for the effective control of the worst invasive plant species in Galapagos. Designed for farmers and other land managers, it describes manual and chemical control methods. It also includes 8 species that are potential problems for Galapagos. Language: Spanish
Una gu�a con ilustraciones que provee informaci�n para el control efectivo de las peores plantas invasoras en Gal�pagos. Esta dise�ada para los agricultores y personas involucradas en conservaci�n. De una forma clara y simple se describe los m�todos de control manuales y qu�micos; tambi�n incluye 8 especies que potencialmente podr�an ser un problema para Gal�pagos. Lenguaje: Espa�ol.
Renter�a, Jorge Luis; Rachel Atkinson & Chris Buddenhagen., 2007. Estrategias para la erradicaci�n de 21 especies de plantas. Fundaci�n Charles Darwin, Departamento de Bot�nica. Programa de Especies Invasoras en Gal�pagos potencialmente invasoras en Gal�pagos.
Summary: This document comprises costed eradication plans for 21 invasive species in Galapagos. The plans were developed as part of a GEF funded project ECU/00/G31 �Control of Invasive species in the Galapagos Archipelago�. The management plans report projects at different stages of development and for species that have invaded to different extents. Three of the projects have already been finished successfully, 5 have yet to be started, and for the rest the projects have been running for between 1 and 6 years. The cost and time needed for eradication varies considerably by species and demonstrates the importance of species eradication as soon as possible after detection
Resumen
El presente documento proporciona planes de manejo y el costo para la erradicaci�n de 21 especies que se encuentran presentes en Gal�pagos. Los planes fueron desarrollados como parte del proyecto ECU/00/G31 Control de las especies invasoras en el Archipi�lago de las Gal�pagos , suscrito por el Gobierno Ecuatoriano, representado por el Ministerio del Ambiente, con el Fondo para el Medio Ambiente Mundial (GEF). El Proyecto es implementado por el Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (UNDP), tiene como instituciones ejecutoras al Servicio Parque Nacional Gal�pagos (SPNG), Instituto Nacional Gal�pagos (INGALA), Servicio Ecuatoriano de Sanidad Agropecuaria-Gal�pagos (SESA-Gal�pagos), y Fundaci�n Charles Darwin (FCD). Los planes de manejo representan proyectos en diferentes estados de desarrollo y dimensi�n. Tres de estos proyectos ya han sido desarrollados completamente, trece est�n en proceso y cinco a�n no se han iniciado. El costo y tiempo para la erradicaci�n varia considerablemente seg�n la especie y se muestra la importancia econ�mica que implica desarrollar proyectos de erradicaci�n tan pronto las especies son detectadas.
Sheil, D. 1994. Naturalized and invasive plant species in the evergreen forests of the East Usumbara Mountains, Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology 32: 66-71.
Smith, C. W. 1985. Impact of alien plants on Hawaii s native biota. In Stone C. P. and Scott J. M. (eds.) Hawai i s Terrestrial Ecosystems: Preservation and Management. University of Hawaii: 60-69.
Swaziland s Alien Plants Database., Undated. Leucaena leucocephala
Summary: A database of Swaziland s alien plant species.
Varnham, K. 2006. Non-native species in UK Overseas Territories: a review. JNCC Report 372. Peterborough: United Kingdom.
Summary: This database compiles information on alien species from British Overseas Territories.
Available from: http://www.jncc.gov.uk/page-3660 [Accessed 10 November 2009]
Walton, Craig, 2003. Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala) in Queensland. Pest Status Review Series. Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Queensland.
Wilson, Colin, Wildlife Management Officer, Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment, Parks & Wildlife Service, Northern Territory, Australia.
Summary: Compilor of original GISD profile of Chromoleana odorata.
General information
Cronk, Q. C. B. and Fuller, J. L. 1995. Plant Invaders: the threat to natural ecosystems. Chapman and Hall, London. 165pp.
Felfili, J. M. and da Silva, M. C. 1990. A vegetacao do arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha. Plan de Manejo do parque nacional marinho de Fernando de Noronha. IBAMA-FUNATURA, Brazil: 37-49.
Gordon, D. R. and Thomas, K. P. 1997. Florida s invasion by non-indigenous plants: history, screening and regulation. In Simberloff, D., Schmitz, D. C. and Brown, T. C. (Eds.) Strangers in Paradise: impact and management of non-indigenous species in Florida. Island Press, Washington DC, USA: 21-37.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System), 2005. Online Database Leucaena leucocephala
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.cbif.gc.ca/pls/itisca/taxastep?king=every&p_action=containing&taxa=Leucaena+leucocephala&p_format=&p_ifx=plglt&p_lang= [Accessed March 2005]
Contact
The following 5 contacts offer information an advice on Leucaena leucocephala
Barthelat,
Fabien
Organization:
Assistant Technique Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature Initiative Cara�bes
Address:
C/O Parc National de Guadeloupe Habitation Beausoleil, Mont�ran 97120 Saint-Claude, Guadeloupe
Phone:
(+590) (0)590 80 86 00
Fax:
(+590) (0)590 80 05 46
Hughes,
Colin
Leucaena; Gliricidia, Parkinsonia, Prosopis, Lupinus
Organization:
University of Oxford
Address:
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Rd., Oxford, OX1 3RB.
Phone:
+44 186 5275836
Fax:
+44 186 5275074
Lavergne,
Christophe
Geographic region: Indian Ocean
Ecosystem: Terrestrial
Organization:
Conservatoire Botanique National de Mascarin
Address:
2 rue du P�re Georges Domaine des Colima�ons 97436 SAINT LEU
Phone:
(33) 02 62 24 92 27
Fax:
Meyer,
Jean-Yves
Geographic region: Pacific, Indian Ocean
Ecosystem: Terrestrial
Expert in the botany of French Polynesia and the Pacific Islands, and has worked on ecology and biological control of Miconia calvescens in French Polynesia.
Organization:
D�l�gation � la Recherche
Address:
D�l�gation � la Recherche, Gouvernement de Polyn�sie fran�aise. B.P. 20981, 98713 Papeete, Tahiti, Polyn�sie fran�aise
Phone:
689 47 25 60
Fax:
Triolo,
Julien
Geographic region: Indian Ocean
Ecosystem: Terrestrial
Organization:
Office National des For�ts
Address:
ONF. Domaine Forestier de la Providence, 97488 Saint Denis cedex
Phone:
692345283
Fax: