Taxonomic name: Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight & Arn.
Common names: acacia Saint Domingue (French), el marabu (Cuba), Kalahari-Weihnachtsbaum (German), kéké (French-Reunion (La Réunion)), mimosa clochette (French-Reunion (La Réunion)), sickle bush (South Africa)
Organism type: tree, shrub
Dichrostachys cinerea is a thorny, fast-growing woody bush or treelet which invades fields, wasteland, road sides and other disturbed areas. Originaly from from Africa, it has been introduced to the West Indies during the 19th century. Adult plants live a very long time, producing seeds which survive for a long time in the soil almost all year long. D. cinerea causes losses in agricultural production and its management involves frequent, heavy and expensive work.
Bush or treelet 1.5-6m high. Branches bearing short, thorn-ended twigs. Leaves bipinnate, 3-10cm long, with 5-10 pairs of pinnae, each one with 10-30 pairs of folioles 3-6mm long. Spikes 3-8cm long, upper florets sulphur-yellox or yellow, the basal ones neutral, with long lilac-pink staminodes. Pods crowded, glomerate, ondulate and contorted, dark brown. Seeds obovate, dark brown, 4mm long.
agricultural areas, natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed, scrub/shrublands, urban areas
Causes losses in agricultural production. Management involves frequent, heavy and expensive work.
Native range: Native to Africa.
Known introduced range:D. cinerea has been introduced to the West Indies during the 19th century - mainly to Cuba, Hispaniola, Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante, and Martinique. It invades fields, wastelands, road sides, and other disturbed areas.
Preventative measures: A Risk Assessment of Dichrostachys cinerea 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 16 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."
Physical: Cutting and burning of the plants is not a very efficient control method, since the seeds survive in the soil, and the growth is very fast.
Chemical: Use of dangerous herbicides is often necessary.
Seeds, root cuttings, root suckering.
Each plant produces a large number of seeds per year, almost all year long.
Seeds survive long in the soil. The growth of the plants is very fast. Young plants may produce seeds. Adult plants can survive a very long time, producing seeds almost all year long.
Reviewed by: J. Fournet, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Guadeloupe.
Compiled by: J. Fournet, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Guadeloupe & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Wednesday, 13 April 2005