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Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth var. Fulgida (Cactaceae) is naturalised and spreading in Zimbabwe

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There is lack of historical information on dates and modes of introduction as well as colonization and invasion processes of exotic plants in Zimbabwe. Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth var. fulgida (chain-fruit cholla, family Cactaceae), a native of arid desert of the Guaymas region of Sonora in northwestern Mexico is here recorded as having become naturalised and invasive in south-western areas of Zimbabwe. Notes on residence status, ecology and habitat of C. fulgida var. fulgida in south-western Zimbabwe are provided. A description and dichotomous key that can be used to distinguish it from the closely related C. imbricata (Haw.) F.M.Knuth is provided. The latter species is commonly grown in Zimbabwe while C. fulgida var. fulgida is spreading and has become firmly established as part of the introduced flora of Zimbabwe.
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Summary: There is lack of historical information
on dates and modes of introduction as well as col-
onization and invasion processes of exotic plants
in Zimbabwe. Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.)
F.M.Knuth var. fulgida (chain-fruit cholla, family
Cactaceae), a native of arid desert of the Guaymas
region of Sonora in northwestern Mexico is here
recorded as having become naturalized and inva-
sive in south-western areas of Zimbabwe. Notes
on residence status, ecology and habitat of C.
fulgida var. fulgida in south-western Zimbabwe
are provided. A description and dichotomous key
that can be used to distinguish it from the closely
related C. imbricata (Haw.) F.M.Knuth is pro-
vided. The latter species is commonly grown in
Zimbabwe while C. fulgida var. fulgida is spread-
ing and has become firmly established as part of
the introduced flora of Zimbabwe.
Zusammenfassung:There is lack of historical in-
formation on dates and modes of introduction as
well as colonization and invasion processes of ex-
otic plants in Zimbabwe. Cylindropuntia fulgida
(Engelm.) F.M.Knuth var. fulgida (chain-fruit
cholla, family Cactaceae), a native of arid desert of
the Guaymas region of Sonora in northwestern
Mexico is here recorded as having become natu-
ralized and invasive in south-western areas of
Zimbabwe. Notes on residence status, ecology and
habitat of C. fulgida var. fulgida in south-western
Zimbabwe are provided. A description and di-
chotomous key that can be used to distinguish it
from the closely related C. imbricata (Haw.)
F.M.Knuth is provided. The latter species is com-
monly grown in Zimbabwe while C. fulgida var.
fulgida is spreading and has become firmly es-
tablished as part of the introduced flora of Zim-
babwe.
Introduction
Previous research on introduction and natu-
ralization of exotic species in Zimbabwe by Maroyi
(2006, 2012) revealed that there is lack of histori-
cal information on dates and modes of introduc-
tion, colonization and invasion processes of exotic
species. Invasions by alien plant species are
known to alter ecosystems and ecological process
through a variety of pathways (Vitousek et al.
1997), competing with native species in the
process. Documentation of the naturalization
process of exotic species should include analyses of
the taxon’s origin, residence and the invasion sta-
tus (Pyšek et al., 2004). The historical and poten-
tial ecological impacts of Cylindropuntia fulgida
(Engelm.) F.M.Knuth var. fulgida and C. imbri-
cata (Haw.) F.M.Knuth on natural vegetation in
South Africa have been documented by Walters et
al. (2011). These are to date the only species of
Cylindropuntia (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth that have
been recorded as occurring in Zimbabwe (Hyde et
al., 2015), both erroneously ascribed as members
of the genus Opuntia Mill. Recent fieldwork in the
southern parts of Zimbabwe revealed C. fulgida
var. fulgida as having become naturalized (Figure
1).
Site location and invasion status in Zim-
babwe
The author encountered C. fulgida var. fulgida
(Figure 1) in December 2011 about 50km from
Beitbridge town, along Beitbridge-Bulawayo road,
southern Zimbabwe (GPS coordinates:
S21°44.214΄, E29°52.281΄), where it has the po-
tential to move from being naturalized to becom-
ing by definition (Pyšek et al., 2004), invasive.
According to Pyšek et al. (2004), naturalized
species are defined as alien species that reproduce
consistently without direct human intervention,
and invasive aliens as naturalized species pro-
ducing offspring in large numbers and at consid-
erable distances from the parent plants with the
potential to spread over a large area. In 2011,
about a hundred individual plants were found
mainly on the Beitbridge-Bulawayo roadside, and
on a subsequent site visit in October 2015, all the
plants had been cleared by the Environmental
24 Bradleya 32/2014
Bradleya 34/2016
pages 24–27
Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth var. fulgida
(Cactaceae) is naturalized and spreading in Zimbabwe
Alfred Maroyi
Department of Botany, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314,
Alice 5700, South Africa. (email: amaroyi@ufh.ac.za)
Management Agency, Zimbabwe (Figure 2). The
current habitat of C. fulgida var. fulgida in Zim-
babwe is part of the arid savanna with a mean an-
nual rainfall of less than 400mm and average
daily temperatures varying from 5°C to 34°C (Mu-
pangwa et al., 2011). Cylindropuntia fulgida var.
fulgida and a closely related species, C. imbricata
(Figure 3) have been included in the database of
Zimbabwean exotic plants (Hyde et al., 2015)
under Opuntia genus. Cylindropuntia fulgida var.
fulgida can be distinguished from C. imbricata on
vegetative morphological as well as reproductive
characters, see dichotomous key below.
Elsewhere, C. fulgida var. fulgida is native to
the arid desert of the Guaymas region of Sonora in
northwestern Mexico (Felger et al., 2014). How-
ever, it has become established and invasive in
South Africa where it is thought to have been in-
troduced for horticultural purposes and previously
used as a protective hedge around many home-
steads (Walters et al., 2011). C. imbricata is na-
tive to semi-arid environments and also drier
sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions of
southern USA and high plateaux of northern Mex-
ico (Sanz-Elorza et al., 2006). Cylindropuntia im-
bricata is naturalized and invasive inland and in
sub-coastal areas, as well as a weed of roadsides,
disturbed sites, pastures, open woodlands, range-
lands and grasslands of Australia (Chuk, 2010;
Potter & Rutherford, 2013), Europe (Dana et al.,
2001), especially the Iberian Peninsula (Sanz-
Elorza et al., 2006). In terms of the Alien and In-
vasive Species (AIS) Regulations, National
Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act,
25
Bradleya 32/2014
Figure 1. Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida photographed near Beitbridge, southern Zimbabwe.
Photograph: Alfred Maroyi
Figure 2. Cylindropuntia fulgida var. fulgida
population cleared by the Environmental Man-
agement Agency in Beitbridge, southern Zim-
babwe. Photograph: Alfred Maroyi
26 Bradleya 32/2014
South Africa (Act no.10 of 2004), both C. fulgida
var. fulgida and C. imbricata are declared weeds
and invader plant species category 1b, which ne-
cessitates their control or removal and destruction
if possible (https://www.pwonline.co.za). Declared
weed and invader plant species category 1b plants
cannot be tolerated in South Africa, either in rural
or in urban areas and may no longer be planted
or propagated and all trade in their seeds, cut-
tings or other propagative material is prohibited
(https://www.pwonline.co.za)
Key to the species of Cylindropuntia in Zim-
babwe
Stems densely spiny, obscured by interlacing
spines, 2.5-3.5cm long, barbed, covered with
whitish, papery sheaths, flowers pink, fruits
fleshy, smooth to shallowly tubercled, green to yel-
low-green, sometimes tinged red to purple at ma-
turity, usually forming chains in older plants . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C. fulgida var. fulgida
Stems not densely spiny, stems not obscured
by spines, flowers purplish-red, fruits strongly tu-
berculate, tubercles of stems widely spaced, 2-5cm
high, fruits yellow-green to yellow (sometimes
tinged red to purple) or orange-yellow at maturity,
spineless, often clustered at end of terminal clado-
des, but not proliferating in chains . . C. imbricata
Cylindropuntia fulgida (Engelm.) F.M.Knuth
var. fulgida in BACKEBERG & KNUTH Kaktus-
ABC: 126 (1936). Walters et al. (2011: 113–118);
Felger et al. (2014: 26–27).
= Opuntia fulgida Engelm. in Flora of Zimbabwe:
Species information (2015),
= Opuntia rosea DC. in Flora of Zimbabwe:
Species information (2015) and
= Cylindropuntia rosea (DC.) Backeb. in Flora of
Zimbabwe: Species information (2015), a name
that has been misapplied in Zimbabwe.
In literature the following names have been
associated with what is considered C. fulgida var.
fulgida in Zimbabwe:
- Cylindropuntia rosea (DC.) Backeb. in Cactaceae
(Backeberg) 1: 197 (1958), Flora of Zimbabwe:
Species information (2015)
- Opuntia rosea DC. in Prodr. (A.P. de Candolle) 3:
471 (1828), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species informa-
tion (2015)
- Opuntia fulgida Engelm. in Proc. Amer. Acad.
Arts 3: 306 (1856), Flora of Zimbabwe: Species in-
formation (2015),
Description
Shrub to small tree 1–3m tall, trunk well de-
veloped and seldom straight, usually 20–25cm di-
ameter, often with several major branches,
branching divaricate, branch segments ovoid to
narrowly ovoid-cylindric, 6–23 × 2–3.5cm, glauces-
cent, terminal segments easily detached, tubercles
salient, 8–13 (–19)mm tall, broadly ovoid, strongly
mamillate, obscured by longer and denser spines
that are interlaced with spines from adjacent tu-
bercles, areoles with gold or brown wool, glochidia
1–3mm long, yellow. Cladode segments break off
easily, detaching at the slightest touch and take
root and grow readily. Spines 2.5–3cm long, yel-
low, sheaths baggy, whitish to yellowish. Flowers
opening late afternoon, 2.5–5cm wide, inner tepals
obovate to ligulate, usually recurved, pink to ma-
genta, spreading widely and sometimes curling
back. Flower buds form from the previous year’s
fruit. The tepals, stamens and style usually fall as
a unit. Filaments bright purplish pink, the inner
filaments, stigma and anthers usually white.
Fruit obovoid, 2-5.5 × 1.3–4.5cm, obscurely tuber-
culate, mostly spineless, fleshy, grey-green, usu-
ally persisting for several years and proliferating
in hanging chains.
Common names: Chain-fruit cholla, jumping
cholla (English)
Distribution: Cylindropuntia fulgida var.
fulgida is considered naturalized in Botswana and
South Africa (Walters et al., 2011). In Zimbabwe,
C. fulgida var. fulgida is known to be naturalized
on roadsides, open woodlands and rocky hills in
south-western Zimbabwe.
Figure 3. Cylindropuntia imbricata planted in
Maleme Rest camp, Matobo National Park, west-
ern Zimbabwe. Photograph: B.T. Wursten
Voucher: Zimbabwe, Beitbridge district, 50km
from Beitbridge town, along Beitbridge-Bulawayo
road, S21°44.214΄, E29°52.281΄, roadside, rocky in
dry savanna vegetation dominated by Acacia ni-
grescens Oliv., Dichrostachys cinerea (L.) Wight &
Arn., Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst. and
Kirkia acuminata Oliv., 7 October 2015, A Maroyi
1220 (UFH).
Acknowledgements
The author would like to express his gratitude
to the National Research Foundation (NRF) of
South Africa for financial support to conduct this
research.
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Bradleya 32/2014
... Biological sciences, biodiversity Specific subject area Botany, conservation, alien plants, invasive species Type of data Tables, figures, database, map How data were acquired Data set was generated from herbarium specimens, field work and alien plant surveys conducted throughout the country aimed at establishing the spatial distribution of alien species in Zimbabwe, their distributional range, habitats and abundance [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Data format Raw data in Excel file, analyzed Description of data collection This dataset has a list of alien species occurring in Zimbabwe was compiled based on herbarium records, field work and alien plant surveys conducted throughout the country [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] . All alien plant species ever recorded in Zimbabwe, whether the introduction was accidental or intentional, as escapes from cultivation or naturalized at least once in the wild were included in this study. ...
... Biological sciences, biodiversity Specific subject area Botany, conservation, alien plants, invasive species Type of data Tables, figures, database, map How data were acquired Data set was generated from herbarium specimens, field work and alien plant surveys conducted throughout the country aimed at establishing the spatial distribution of alien species in Zimbabwe, their distributional range, habitats and abundance [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] Data format Raw data in Excel file, analyzed Description of data collection This dataset has a list of alien species occurring in Zimbabwe was compiled based on herbarium records, field work and alien plant surveys conducted throughout the country [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9] . All alien plant species ever recorded in Zimbabwe, whether the introduction was accidental or intentional, as escapes from cultivation or naturalized at least once in the wild were included in this study. ...
... The current study categorized the species as cultivated, casual and naturalized. This categorization is based on Maroyi [4] who argued that casual aliens reproduce occasionally outside cultivation, do not form self-sustaining populations and rely on repeated introductions for their persistence while naturalized species are aliens that reproduce consistently without direct human intervention. ...
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