Hiptage benghalensis

Rick Palmer rick at uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu
Fri Nov 1 16:45:19 EST 1996

I'm currently taking a class in Management and
Conservation (Botany 350) and we're working on developing homepages on
alien species.  These alien species we are working on has had an impact
the Hawaiian ecosystem by becoming naturalized and taking over areas
native species once were.

The plant I'm doing research on is Hiptage benghalensis.
It is in the family of Malpighia (Malpighiaceae). It is a high, woody
much-branched evergreen climbing shrub with silky young parts. The
leaves are simple, opposite, elliptic-oblong about 10-23 cm long. The
flowers, found in large clusters, are bilaterally symmetrical. The
have fringed edges, white or pink-tinted, and the lip is yellow area.
The flowers are fragrant and smell like pikake. The fruit has each of
its three
parts bearing broad wings, which are 1-2 inches long look like a
helicopter's propeler.  When the fruits dry out,
these wings can propel them to new places to lay their seeds.

This plant is native from India, Taiwan to the Philippines.  In India,
has been used medicinally for skin ailments like rashes and also
for wounds, ulcers, cough, asthma, cardiac debility,
inflammations, skin diseases, leprosy, scabies, rheumatism and

This has become a problem in Kauai where it is overrunning pastureland.
It has not been reported in the other Hawaiian Islands, except for Oahu,
where there is a plant on the UH campus.

I was wondering if anyone else has seen a problem with this plant
elsewhere in the world or had any information about this plant:
current problems related with this plant?  management of this plant?any
biological controls?  any ecosystems affected? flora? fauna?

Thanks, and check out the homepage still under construction.

email: baldueza at hawaii.edu

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