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      Melaleuca quinquenervia fruits (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr) - Click for full size   Bark of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Photo: David Nance, USDA ARS, www.forestryimages.org) - Click for full size   Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr) - Click for full size   Melaleuca quinquenervia Myrtacae flowers and fruit (Photo: G.D. Carr) - Click for full size   Melaleuca quinquenervia infestation (Photo: Alison Fox, University of Florida, www.forestryimages.org) - Click for full size   Flowering saplings of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Photo: Min B. Rayamajhi, USDA_ARS, www.forestryimages.org) - Click for full size
    Nom taxonomique: Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S.T. Blake
    Synonymes: Melaleuca leucadendron ß angustifolia L.f., Melaleuca leucadendron var. albida, Melaleuca leucadendron var. coriacea Poir., Melaleuca leucadendron var. rubriflora Brongn. & Gris, Melaleuca maideni R.T. Baker, Melaleuca rubriflora Vieillard ex Brongn. & Gris, Melaleuca smithii R.T. Baker, Melaleuca viridiflora var. angustifolia L.f., Melaleuca viridiflora var. ß rubriflora Brongn. & Gris, Metrosideros coriacea Poir., Metrosideros quinquenervia Cav.
    Noms communs: aceite de cayeput, ahambo (Madagascar), balsamo de cayeput, belbowrie, bottle brush tree, broadleaf paperbark tree, broadleaf teatree, broad-leaved paperbark tree, cajeput (English), capeputi, corcho, five-veined paperbark tree, itahou, Japanese paper wasp, kayu putih, kinindrano (Madagascar), Mao-Holzrose (German), melaleuca (Puerto Rico), niaouli (New Caledonia), niaouli (French), numbah, oli (Madagascar), paper bark tree (English), paperbark teatree, punk tree (English), white bottlebrush tree
    Type d'organisme: arbre
    Melaleuca quinquenervia est un grand arbre originaire de l’est de l’Australie, de Nouvelle-Guinée et de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Il peut atteindre 20 à 25 m de hauteur et son écorce est blanchâtre ou d’un brun pâle, en plusieurs couches et se détache de l’arbre. Un grand nombre de graines est stocké dans les capsules et libéré après le passage du feu ou quand d’autres perturbations se produisent. Les graines sont dispersées par le vent et l'eau et les jeunes plants peuvent former des peuplements monospécifiques presque impénétrables. Dans les Everglades en Floride et les régions voisines, où cet arbre a été largement planté pour l’aménagement et pour l’assèchement des marais, il forme d'immenses forêts, éliminant virtuellement les autres types de végétation. A Hawaï, cette espèce est naturalisée dans la forêt mésique perturbée et elle envahit les marécages et d'autres zones humides entre 100 et 1000 m.
    Se rencontre dans:
    broussailles/savanes, forêts naturelles, plantations forestières, prairies, rudéral/perturbé, zones agricoles, zones humides, zones ripisylves, zones urbaines
    Description de l'habitat
    In its native range melaleuca occurs in seasonally and permanently inundated wetlands along the eastern coast of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia (11ºS to 34ºS) (Holliday 1989, in Burrows & Balcunas 1997; Boland et al. 1987, in Center et al. 2006). Australian habitats that support melaleuca populations include low-lying coastal wetlands behind heath-dominated headlands, riparian zones, brackish estuaries, mangrove swamps (Rayamajhi et al. 2002), Melaleuca swamp forest, monsoon scrub, littoral rainforest, grassland, open forest, low shrubland on coastal dunes and lagoon margins (Craven, In press). In its invaded territories, melaleuca can infest relatively drier areas (Buckingham 2000) and invades a variety of forested and non-forested natural communities, including: freshwater marshes, wet grasslands, sawgrass prairies, disturbed cypress forests, wet pine flatwoods, Miami rock ridge pinelands, longleaf-slash pine, hardwood hammocks, salt marshes and mangroves.

    In general, xeric communities such as scrub tend to be resistant, but not immune, to melaleuca invasion (Laroche 1999). Favourable moisture conditions are found in pine flatwood depressions and the broad ecotones where pine and dwarf pond cypress mix (Duever et al. 1986, in Munger 2005). Melaleuca is tolerant of fire, seasonal drought and seasonal flooding (see Gomes & Kozlowski 1980; Geary & Woodall 1990). Melaleuca can grow in sites that are nutrient-poor such as pine savannas or wet prairies (Woodall 1981) due to its ability to send vertical roots straight down to the water table (Munger 2005).

    As observed in Florida, Pratt (2005b) suggests wetlands that experience moderate to short hydroperiods are the most vulnerable to invasion by melaleuca. Melaleuca invades disturbed land such as abandoned farmlands, depressions in stump-harvested pinelands, road/canal wetland construction sites, improved pasture, natural rangeland and urban areas (Duever et al. 1986, Myers 1983 1984, in Munger 2005). Undisturbed ecosystems can be resistant, but not immune to, melaleuca invasion (Ewel et al. 1976, in Laroche 1999); however, in south Florida melaleuca has invaded essentially every existing community (Laroche 1999).

    In Australia melaleuca occurs on sand, sandy loam, sandstone, laterite over sand, silty soil and serpentine substrates (Craven, In press), in New Guinea on highly organic, alluvial clays and in New Caledonia on well-drained slopes, ridges in the uplands (Geary Undated) and on flat, poorly drained soils (L. Craven, pers. comm.). Melaleuca establishes best on sandy soils but it can survive on nearly any soil type in south Florida (Ewel 1986, Hofstetter 1991, in Munger 2005). It is commonly found in Everglades ecosystems characterised by high organic soils (Pratt et al. 2004) or limestone-derived soils (Geary & Woodall 1990). Although melaleuca is found in soils of high pH plants may perform better in slightly acidic soils (Kaufman 1999, in Munger 2005). Melaleuca in Hawaii grow well on calcareous beach sand and on soils derived from basalt ash and lava rock of pH 4.5–5.5 (Geary 1998, in Geary Undated). According to Woodall (1981) a map of soil pH cannot be used to predict melaleuca invasion.

    In its native habitat melaleuca is found mainly from sea level to 100m, but occasionally at elevations of 1000m (Geary Undated). Most of southern Florida, where melaleuca readily invades, is less than 8m above sea level (Geary & Woodall 1990). In its native habitat mean annual rainfall ranges from 900–1250 mm; mean monthly temperatures range from 5°C –32°C and in the southernmost part of its range, a few light frosts occur per year (Geary Undated). Where frequent freezing temperatures become common, melaleuca becomes less invasive (Munger 2005).The tree grows successfully in its introduced range where rainfall is 5000mm and a winter maximum occurs (Geary 1998, in Geary Undated).

    Impacts globaux
    For a detailed account of the impacts of M. quinquenervia please read: Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-Leaved Paperbark) Impacts Information. The information in this document is summarised below.

    Melaleuca is the most problematic invasive plant species in Florida because of its wide distribution range, prolific seed production and potential impact on human health (Fuller 2005). Melaleuca threatens the preservation of critical wildlife habitat in southern Florida including in the Florida Everglades National Park. Despite control efforts melaleuca still occurred in around 170 000 hectares of southern Florida in 1997, representing 6% of the total region (Bodle & Van 1999, in Rayamajhi et al. 2007; Laroche 1999).
    Ecosystem Change: Melaleuca threatens the integrity of subtropical freshwater ecosystem processes in Florida (Dray & Center 1994, in Lopez-Zamora Comerford & Muchovej 2004) by altering soil chemistry, reducing de-composition rates and modifying hydrology and fire regime. Melaleuca also reduces species biodiversity and alters species composition.
    Reduction in Native Biodiversity: Melaleuca forests provide limited food and habitat value for native wildlife and can reduce indices of native species in Florida wetlands by as much as 80% (Dray et al 2006; Bodle et al., 1994, O’Hare & Dalrymple, 1997, in Dray et al. 2009; Porazinska Pratt & Giblin-Davis 2007). Decreases in diversity of native plant biodiversity have also been linked with melaleuca in the Bahamas.
    Habitat Alteration: Melaleuca is contributing to significant habitat loss in the Everglades National Park by converting fire-maintained sawgrass communities into Melaleuca forest (Turner et al. 1998, in Munger 2005).
    Displacement: Melaleuca displaces pond cypress (Taxodium ascendens) (Myers 1975 1983, Ewel 1986, in Rayamajhi et al. 2008b), slash pine (Pinus elliottii) and sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis) (Bodle et al., 1994, in Tipping et al. 2008).
    Competition: Melaleuca is competitively superior to most native vegetation occurring in the Florida Everglades (Turner et al. 1998, in Pratt et al. 2005b). It is fire-adapted, herbivore-adapted and produces seeds and roots prolifically.
    Inhibits the Growth of Other Species: Allelochemicals present in roots can have a detrimental effect on the soil biota (Porazinska Pratt & Giblin-Davis 2007).
    Economic:Balciunas and Center (1991, in Serbesoff-King 2003) reported that by the year 2010, close to $2 billion would be lost due to the melaleuca invasion in southern Florida. Financial losses included $1 billion in tourism to the Everglades NP, $250 million in tourism to the rest of south Florida, $250 million in recreation, $250 million due to fires, $1 million in control efforts, $10 million due to loss of endangered species and $1 million to nursery growers.
    Agricultural: In one study 18 economic arthropod pests were collected from M. quinquenervia (Costello et al. 2008).
    Human Health: As melaleuca populations expand in southern Florida and the human population increases the risk of fire and loss of human life and property increases (Laroche 1999).
    Modification of Hydrology: A stand of melaleuca may transpire more water than the sawgrass communities it replaces (Hofstetter 1991a, in Laroche 1999).
    Modification of Fire Regime: Ground fires, high temperatures, rapid spread rates and abundant smoke, all present in burning melaleuca stands, present new risks for wildlife in the Everglades wetlands (Flowers 1991, in Laroche 1999).
    Modification of Nutrient Regime: The rate of decomposition of melaleuca litter is slower than that of native plants (Van & Rayamajhi, Unpub. Data, in Rayamajhi et al. 2006b).

    Utilisations
    Worldwide, many of the 4000-5000 Myrtaceae species are cultivated as ornamentals or as sources of fruits, spices, aromatic oils or timber (Laroche 1999). The thick, spongy bark has historically been used as fruit-packing, bedding material and insulation (von Mueller 1888, Morton 1966, in Dray Bennett & Center 2006).
    Ornamental/landscaping: Melaleuca spp. are often planted as ornamentals, for screening, for their interesting bark and for their showy flowers (Turner et al. 1998). The small crown and distinctive bark have made it a popular ornamental tree (Greary Undated). It is widely cultivated for erosion control, windbreaks and watershed cover (Little & Skomen 1989, in Munger 2005).
    Wood products: The medium-density wood is difficult to season and tends to warp, but it finishes well as a cabinet wood (Greary Undated). Without preservative treatment it makes a poor fence post and a major deterrent to use is the high bark-to-wood ratio (Greary Undated). Melaleuca has been used extensively for carpentry and joinery work and is used for structural timber, fuel, pulpwood and insulation/stuffing and for traditional dwellings in its native New Caledonia. The bark is useful for its insulating properties and as a mulch and potting medium (Greary Undated; Brown & Duke 2000, in Munger 2005). Cutting and chipping operations are currently utilising melaleuca wood for landscape mulching and boiler fuel in Florida (Stocker 1999).
    Honey-making: In Florida, the abundant flowering crop has been important to the apiary industry to sustain bee colonies and as a source of honey (Greary Undated). While melaleuca is believed to be an important component of Florida's beekeeping industry (a source of nectar for honey, package bees, and wax) there are no indications that flowers are a limiting factor for bees (Diamond et al. 1991, in Laroche 1999).
    Essential oils: Essential oils are extracted from its leaves, twigs and seeds by hydrodistillation from plantations in New Caledonia (Doran & Turnball 1997, Doran 1999 in Ireland 2002) and Madagascar (Ramanoelina et al. 2008). Essential oils constitute a principal antiseptic component in some commercial disinfectants (Dray et al. 2006).
    Notes
    M. quinquenervia is a member of the Myrtaceae (myrtle family) which also includes the Eucalyptus (gum) genus (Laroche 1999). Melaleuca (Myrtaceae) is the second largest genus in the Myrtaceae family and is represented by up to 250 species (Barlow 1986, in Turner et al. 1998), including a number of undescribed species.

    M. quinquenervia is part of the broad-leaved Melaleuca leucadendra-complex, which contains 15 species that are endemic to the Australian-Tasmanian region (Craven 1999, in Wineriter et al. 2003). The name Melaleuca comes from the Greek, meaning black and white, presumably referring to the white bark, often charred black by fire (Debenham, 1962, in Turner et al. 1998).

    Stades du cycle de vie
    Melaleuca trees may reach 90 years and still remain fertile (Serbesoff-King 2003).
    Seedling and Sapling Stages: Seedlings appear to be less tolerant of harsh environmental conditions than are the seeds (Woodall 1983, in Turner et al. 1998). Melaleuca seeds germinate upon moist soils, usually within a few days of wetting, and may remain viable up to six months under water or in wet soils (Meskimen 1962, Myers 1975, in Laroche 1999). Seeds may germinate while completely inundated (Lockhart 1995, in Laroche 1999). Meskimen (1962, in Laroche 1999) found a trend for germination to occur more in sun than in shade. Rarity of seedlings within dense stands of melaleuca may be from either shading or allelopathic effects of melaleuca litter (DiStefano & Fisher 1983, in Laroche 1999). Seedlings less than several weeks or months old may die from fire or if soils are dry (Myers 1975, 1983) Droughts severe enough to lower the water table by one meter will also kill the seedlings (Woodall 1981a, in Turner et al. 1998). Seedlings are also less tolerant of fires, as they have a thinner, insulating bark layer (Woodall 1981a, in Turner et al. 1998). Soon after seedlings are able to withstand extreme conditions ranging from fire to total immersion for months (Meskimen 1962, in Laroche 1999). Young saplings and seedlings respond to inundation by changing leaf shapes. Leaves become more linear when meristems are deeply flooded, and more rounded when the meristem is nearer to the water surface (Laroche 1999). This adaptation may enable better light or nutrient utilisation, or help the saplings to survive flooding (Lockhart, 1996).
    Cette espèce figure sur la liste de l’UICN des 100 espèces parmi les plus envahissantes au monde
    Révisé par: Dr. Lyn Craven, Principal Research Scientist Australian National Herbarium Australia
    Compilé par: Profile revision: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
    Updates with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
    Dernière mise à jour: Monday, 4 October 2010


ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland