Invasive Alien Species

Species Name: Euphorbia heterophylla

Family Name:
Euphorbia geniculata ortega
E. prunifolia Jacq.
Poinsettia geniculata (Ort.) Klotzsch & Garcke ex Klotzsch
Poinsettia heterophylla (L.) Klotzsch & Garcke ex Klotzsch
E.taiwananiana Ying
Tropical America
Annual herbs with strong taproot system, stem hollow, erect, 0.3-1 m tall (sometimes 2 m). Stem cylindrical, few-branched, green often with reddish streaks and blots, hairy or hairless.  Leaves simple, spirally; blades mostly lanceolate, ovate or elliptic,  petioles green or maroon.  Stems and leaves have milky latex containing poisonous alkaloids. Cluster of male and female flowers in cyathium, terminal, dichotomously branched cymes.  Flowers subtended by involucre, all lacking perianth parts;  glands solitary prominent; male flowers numerous, peduncle/filament jointed medially, whitish, glabrous, anther 1 per flower, 2-locular, yellow; female flower 1 per cyathium, ovary globose, 3-lobed, 3-locular, each with 1 ovule.  Fruit a 3-celled  capsule,  seeds sub-globose, warty, greyish, about 2.5 mm.
Invaded Habitat:
Upland crops, e.g. maize, cotton, soybean, vegetables,  etc. It is very competitive in many plantation crops, e.g. sugarcane, pineapple, rubber, oil palm, and fruit trees.
Occasionally cultivated and locally naturalized in Java, Sulawesi, Moluccas: Saparua, Tanimbar: Jamdena.  Lesser Sunda Is.: Bali, Flores, Roti, Timor.
E. heterophylla found at 0-1500 m above sea level.  It is commonly found in the open and partly shaded, disturbed fields and thickets in those areas. It is shade tolerant and also tolerant to water stress. Its life-cycle is completed in 67 to 134 days, depending on the season.It has a high reproductive capacity, produces large quantities of seeds within a year. Two hundred to 600 seeds per plant are produced in each cycle. A large seedling population is always found in the area where the weed grows in previous season. The seeds were capable to germinate from a deep soil level.
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  2. Akobundu, I.O.  1987.  Weed science in the tropics: principles and practices.  John Wiley and Sons.
  3. Backer , C. A. & R. C. Bakhuizen Van Den Brink.  1965.  Flora of Java. N.V. P. Noordhoff. Groningen, Netherlands.
  4. Botany and Weed Science Division.  1988.  Weed control recommendation 2531.  Department of Agriculture, Bangkok.
  5. Maxwell, J.F., P. Chitapong and J. Supapol.  1987.  Weeds of plantation crops in Southern Thailand.  Department of Plant Science, Prince of Songkla University, Songkla.
  6. Miyaura, Rie.  2001.  Weed Distribution and Its Control in Highland Indonesia : The Case of West Java and Bali.  In Highland Vegetable Cultivation in Indonesia, A Multi-Disciplinary Study toward Eco-Eco Farming.  Tokyo, Japan.
  7. Phromchum, J.  1974.  Chemical control and some biological studies of Euphorbia geniculata ortega.  MS thesis, Kasetsart University, Bangkok.
  8. Suwanketnikom, R.  1971.  Weed control research in cotton.  MS thesis, Kasetsart University, Bangkok.
  9. Suwunnamek, U.  1994.  Euphorbia heterophylla L.  Weed Info Sheet.  SEAWIC-SEAMEO BIOTROP.  Bogor.
  10. Teerawatsakul, M.  1986.  Ecophysiological studies of Euphorbia geniculata Ortega and its control in corn.  In Highlights of Technical Cooeration 1980-1985.  Research Report No. 4.  National Weed Science Research Institute Project, Department of Agriculture, Bangkok.
  11. Yongboonkird, U.  1984.  Weeds in rubber plantations.  Tech. Bull. No.3, Weed Science Society of Thailand.