Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don
Koster's curse
Melastomataceae

This noxious weedy shrub grows up to 2 m tall in pastures and forest. It is an aggressive invader which shades out all vegetation below it (Wester and Wood 1977). The seeds are principally dispersed by alien frugivorous birds, but any organism moving through the thickets will carry seeds away with it. It is probably not resistant to fire, an unlikely event in its habitat, but it rapidly colonizes burned areas. Several expeditions for potential biological control agents have been made in Trinidad, and a number of insects are being screened currently.

This plant is a serious pest in mesic and wet environments on O'ahu and more recently in Wailau, Moloka'i, as well as Nahiku and Kailua areas, Maui. It has also become established on Kaua'i, West Maui, and Waiakea, Hawai'i. There is increasing evidence that many of the new infestations are inadvertently established by marijuana growers.


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