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   Alternanthera sessilis (herb)     
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    Taxonomic name: Alternanthera sessilis
    Synonyms: Achyranthes linearifolia Sw. ex Wikstr., Achyranthes sessilis (L.) Desf. Ex. Steud, Achyranthes triandra Roxb., Achyranthes villosa Blanco, Achyranthes polygonoides (L.) Lam., Allaganthera forskalii Mart., Alternanthera achyranthes Forssk., Alternanthera angustifolia R. Br., Alternanthera decipiens Benth., Alternanthera denticulata R. Br., Alternanthera ficoidea (L.) P. Beauv., Alternanthera glabra Moq., Alternanthera major (Benth.) Domin, Alternanthera micrantha (Benth.) Domin , Alternanthera nana R. Br., Alternanthera nodiflora R. Br., Alternanthera polygonoides (L.) R. Br., Alternanthera prostrata D. Don., Alternanthera repens J.F.Gmel., Alternanthera sennii Mattei, Alternanthera sibirica (de Vest ex Schult.) Steud., Alternanthera tenella Moq., Alternanthera tenuissima Suess., Alternanthera trianda Lam., Alternanthera uliginosa (Domin) Dinter, Bucholzia polygonoides (L.) Mart., Gomphrena polygonoides (L.), Gomphrena sessilis L., Illecebrum angustifolium (R.Br.) Spreng., Illecebrum denticulatum(R.Br.) Spreng., Illecebrum nanum (R.Br.) Spreng, Illecebrum polygonoides (L.) L., Illecebrum sessile (L.) L., Illecebrum sibiricum de Vest ex Schult., Illecebrum triandrum Llanos, Paronychia sessilis (L.) Desf., Paronychia tetragona Moench, Steiremis repens Raf., Telanthera polygonoides (L.) Moq.
    Common names: bhirangijhar (Nepal), brède chevrette (French), brede embellage, common roadside weed, dwarf copperleaf, fisi'i'ano (Tonga Islands), galuti (Fiji Islands), horng-tyan-wu, joyweed (English), lianzi cao (China), magloire (French), mata kura (‘Atiu Island), mukunuwanna (Sri Lanka), okula beluulechad (Palau Islands), palewawae (Hawaii Hawai‘i), periquito-sessil, phak pet thai (Taiwan), sessile joyweed, ti (Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island), vao sosolo (Samoan)
    Organism type: herb
    Alternanthera sessilis is a weed that inhabits many areas of the world. It occupies moist areas and can be found from sea level to over 2000m. Alternanthera sessilis is a pest of sugarcane, a weed of rice in tropical areas, and an agricultural weed that invades disturbed wet areas in tropical and subtropical regions. It has been used widely around the world for its medicinal uses, as well as for food. The plant has been readily used for food partly due to its abundance.
    Description
    Alternanthera sessilis has stems that lie flat and are 1-10 dm long. The leaves are sometimes spear-shaped but mostly elliptic and are 0.3-3cm wide. The petioles are 1-5mm long. The bract are shiny white under the flower's sessile spikes. The sepals are 2.5-3mm long and the uticles are 2-2.3mm long (PIER, 2006; Marquesas, undated). A. sessilis has a somewhat glistening fruit, that is light-beige yellow (FNWD, 2004). It can reach heights of up to 1 m.
    Similar Species
    Alternanthera philoxeroides

    More
    Occurs in:
    estuarine habitats, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, wetlands
    Habitat description
    Alternanthera sessilis is "a plant of damp places, ditches, wet headlands, roadsides, sometimes a weed of plantations", and is located from sea level to elevations over 2000 m. It is also found in waste areas, gardens (PIER, 2006) and open fields (NSCRC, 2003).
    General impacts
    Alternanthera sessilis is a pest of sugarcane (Macdonald et al. 2003). It is also a weed of rice in tropical areas, and is also associated with bananas and other cereal crops (FNWD, 2004). According to Tomaino (2006), A. sessilis is an "agricultural weed that invades disturbed wet areas in tropical and subtropical areas of the U.S." Overall, A. sessilis has a "low significant ecological impact" (Tomaino, 2006).A. sessilis is said to have impacts on liver problems by having hepatoprotective effects (Lin et al. 1994).
    Uses
    Alternanthera sessilis is used as a topical treatment for the common skin problem cane vulgaris. The antioxidant carotene is found in large amounts in the plant (Jerajoni et al. 2004). In southeast Asia young shoots and leaves are ingested as vegetables. In folklore, A. sessilis was used for treating sick individuals (USDA, 2004). Gayathri et al (2006) state that A. sessilis is "used for the treatment of biliousness, dyspepsia associated with sluggish liver, chronic congestion of liver, acute and chronic pyelitis, cystitis, gonorrhea, and strangery and snake bite in Sri Lanka." In India and Sri Lanka, it is used for treatment of gastrointestinal problems. A. sessilis is used as a treatment for headaches and vertigo in Nigeria. It is also used to treat hepatitis, bronchitis, and asthma in Taiwan (Jansen, 2004).

    A. sessilis is a plant that is puchased for a water garden and over the internet for aquariums (Tomaino, 2006). Also, it is bought for its low cost and taste by the people of Sri Lanka (Gayathri, 2006). A. sessilis is chopped up when it is fed to ducks and is also fed to pigs (Ogle, 2003). It is used in many different foods in Africa, such as soups, relish, and sauces.

    Geographical range
    Native range: Australia, Asia, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Palau, Philippines, Soloman Islands, Singapore (Sainty et al. 1998; PIER, 2006; USDA, 2004).
    Known introduced range: United States, Australia: Norfolk and Christmas Island, Ecuador, Fiji, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, (USDA, 2007; PIER, 2006; )
    Introduction pathways to new locations
    Horticulture: Alternanthera sessilis can be dispersed through horicultural activities (Maki and Galatowitsch, 2004)


    Local dispersal methods
    On animals (local): The wind blows utricles of Alternanthera sessilis to new locations (Geng et al. 2006).
    Management information
    Biological: Zettler and Freeman (1972) in their discussion on the biocontrol of aquatic plants, state that in India, Alternanthera sessilis a near relative of alligatorweed, is affected by the fungial species Corticium solani, Colletotrichum capsici, Glomerella cingulata, Phoma spp., and Albugo bliti.
    Reproduction
    Alternanthera sessilis transfers seeds by wind, water, and also rooting at the stem nodes (FNWD, 2004).
    Lifecycle stages
    During August-October, Alternanthera sessilis produces many utricles that spread with wind and water. Not far from where these were blown, seedlings begin to appear in April (Geng, 2006).
    Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
    Last Modified: Friday, 3 June 2005


ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland