Tree . Native to tropical America, this small tree forms dense monospecific stands shading out the native vegetation with its large leaves, and suppressing the growth and regeneration of the native species in the understory . Introduced originally as an ornamental plant on Tahiti in 1937, it now dominates the forests of over 2/3's of that island and has spread to other islands in French Polynesia (Raiatea, Moorea, Marquesas). Introduced to Hawai'i in the 1960s, it is spreading rapidly on several islands (Hawai'i Maui, O'ahu), it is now regarded as the worst threat to the rain forest watersheds.
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in English:
Miconia, Bush Currant, Purple Plague, Velvet Tree, Velvet Tree Miconia Calvescens
Common Names in French:
Common Names in Informal Latinized N:
, or trees
(to 20 m
, or rarely epiphytic. Stipules lacking. Leaves simple
, commonly opposite and decussate with one of a pair slightly smaller than other, rarely verticillate
or alternate by abortion
of one of a pair, usually 1-4(or 5) secondary veins on each side of midvein
, originating at or near base
and anastomosing apically, tertiary veins numerous, parallel, and connecting secondary veins and midvein but in Memecylon secondary veins pinnate and tertiary veins reticulate
. Inflorescences cymose
, in paniculate
, or a cincinnus, rarely flowers single, fascicled, or born on a spike; bracts sometimes conspicuous
. Flowers bisexual
but androecium often slightly zygomorphic, usually (3 or) 4- or 5(or 6) -merous, perianth biseriate
, perigynous; bracteoles opposite, usually caducous
. Hypanthium funnel-shaped, campanulate
, or urceolate
. Calyx lobes
(3-) 5(or 6), valvate
, but not in Chinese species) . Petals (3-) 5(or 6), equal to number of sepals, distinct
, imbricate. Stamens usually twice as many as petals and in 2 whorls, rarely as many as petals by loss of 1 whorl, isomorphic
distinct, often geniculate
in bud; anthers
typically 2-celled, introrse
by 1 or 2 apical pores
or by short longitudinal
slits (Astronia, Memecylon) ; connective
often variously appendaged. Pistil and style 1; stigma minute, capitate or truncate
. Ovary commonly inferior or semi-inferior, locules usually (3 or) 4 or 5(or 6) with numerous
, rarely 1-loculed and ovules ca.
9 (Memecylon) ; placentation axillary
(Astronia and, outside China, Pternandra Jack
), or free
central (Memecylon) . Fruit a dry or fleshy
capsule or a berry, loculicidally dehiscent or indehiscent. Seeds (when 3-6-loculed) usually small, curved
through half a circle (cochleate) or wedge-shaped (cuneate), in Memecylon seeds large and ovoid
; endosperm absent.
Between 156 and 166 genera (150-160 in Melastomataceae sensu stricto and six in Memecylaceae here considered part of Melastomataceae) and ca. 4500 species (ca. 4050 in Melastomataceae sensu stricto and 450 in Memecylaceae [Olisbeoideae if considered a subfamily of Melastomataceae]) : primarily in tropical and subtropical regions; 21 genera (five endemic) and 114 species (72 endemic) in China.
Chinese genera of economic value include Osbeckia (medicine) and Melastoma (wild fruit and ornamental flowers) .
Species Miconia calvescens
A medium-sized tree up to 15 m in height with opposite large attractive leaves up to 80 cm long, dark green above with three prominent pale green nerves , purple-blue beneath ; with small white flowers, slightly fragrant, arranged in large panicles up to 30 cm long; with fleshy berries ca. 7mm in diameter, purple-black when mature .
Habit: Shrub , Tree
Typically found at an altitude of 0 to 4,936 meters (0 to 16,194 feet).
Ecology: Forms dense monospecific stands shading out the native vegetation with its large leaves, and suppressing the growth and regeneration of the native species in the understory . Between 40 to 50 rare endemic plant species are directly threatened in Tahiti (Society Is.). The tentacular root system is also suspected to favour soil erosion and landslides.
Sexual reproduction, and vegetative propagation (by cuttings). Self-fertilization
.At least three major flowering peaks
per year. A single tree
can bear up to 220 inflorescences with an
average of 1330 flowers/inflorescence, an average of 208 fruits/infrutescences,
and 195 seeds/fruit.
Photo-sensitive seeds, but can germinate even in dense shade (0.02% of full sun ). Germination rate up to 90% in 15-20 days. Soil seed bank > 50,000 seeds/m². Longevity of the soils seed bank > 6-8 years. First year of flowering after 4 to 5 years of vegetative growth . Growth rate ca. 1 m/yr for seedling and juvenile plants .
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Reichenbach, 1828
- Family: Melastomataceae () - A.L. de Jussieu, 1789, nom. cons. - melastomas
- Suborder: Lythrineae ()
- Order: Myrtales () - Reichenbach, 1828
- Superorder: Myrtanae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Subclass: Rosidae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Magnoliopsida () - Brongniart, 1843 - Dicotyledons
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: 15-Mar-2000
Members of the genus Miconia
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 21 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
M. affinis (Saquiyac) · M. calvescens (Miconia) · M. foveolata (Puerto Rico Johnnyberry) · M. impetiolaris (Camasey De Costilla) · M. laevigata (Smooth Johnnyberry) · M. lanata (Hairy Johnnyberry) · M. mirabilis (Camasey Cuatrocanales) · M. pachyphylla (Camasey Racimoso) · M. prasina (Granadillo Bobo) · M. pseudonervosa (Lattice Monocle Bream) · M. punctata (Auquey) · M. pycnoneura (Ridge Johnny Berry) · M. racemosa (Camasey Felpa) · M. rubiginosa (Peraleio) · M. serrulata (Jau Jau) · M. sintenisii (Mountain Johnnyberry) · M. splendensc (Giant Bully) · M. subcorymbosa (Forest Johnny Berry) · M. tetrandra (Rajador) · M. tetrastoma (Graceful Johnny Berry) · M. thomasiana (Camasey Tomaso)
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- Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club. 17 1890 New York: Torrey Botanical Club, 1870-1996 url p. 60.
- Contributions from the Herbarium of Columbia College. New York: Columbia College, 1886-1896. url p. 212.
- Contributions from the United States National Herbarium 23 1920-1926 Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1890- url p. 1068.
- Flora of Costa Rica. .. by Paul C. Standley. .. 18 1938 Chicago, 1937. url p. 817.
- Flora of Guatemala / Paul C. Standley and Louis O. Williams. 24 1963 Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Natural History Museum, 1963. url p. 470.
- Flora of Peru / by J. Francis Macbride. 13 1941 Chicago, [Ill.]: Field Museum of Natural History,  url p. 393, p. 462.
- IUCN Directory of Protected Areas in Oceania IUCN url p. 442.
- Phytologia memoirs. Plainfield, N.J.: H.N. Moldenke and A.L. Moldenke, 1980- url p. 216.
- Phytologia. Bronx Park, New York, H.A. Gleason and H.N. Moldenke, url p. 414.
- Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. Washington, etc.: Entomological Society of Washington url , , p. 742, p. 744, p. 746, p. 748, p. 989.
- Protected Areas of the World: a review of National Systems. Vol 1: Indomalaya, Oceania, Australia and Antarctic IUCN url p. 183.
- The World List of Threatened Trees WCMC, IUCN url p. 241.
- The forests and flora of British Honduras / by Paul C. Standley and Samuel J. Record; in cooperation with the Conservator of Forests and the Agricultural Officer of the Colony. 12 1936 Chicago: [Field Museum of Natural History], 1936. url p. 295.
- Trees and shrubs of Mexico / By Paul C. Standley. Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1920-1926. url p. 1068.
- Woods of northeastern Peru, by Llewelyn Williams. 15 1936 Chicago, 1936. url p. 385, p. 548.
- Chen Cheih. 1984. Melastomataceae. In: Chen Cheih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 53(1): 135-293.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 10, 2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal December 06, 2007:
- Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Bishop Museum Natural History Specimen Data
- Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Andes to Amazon Biodiversity Program
- Herbarium of the University of Aarhus, The AAU Herbarium Database
- Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad
- , Biodiversidad de Costa Rica
- Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2676425
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: ITS-565304
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13768079
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:572229-1
- GRIN Nomen Number: 409651
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 565304
- MoBot NameID: 20300144
- Natural Heritage Network Species Identifier: PDMLS0B0Y0
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: MICA20
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 6911
- Jie Chen & Susanne S. Renner "Melastomataceae". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 360. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- Mean = 807.950 meters (2,650.755 feet), Standard Deviation = 912.710 based on 271 observations. Altitude information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]