Clusia rosea - Jacq.
Balsam-fig
Other English Common Names: Pitch-apple
Other Common Names: scotch attorney
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Clusia rosea Jacq. (TSN 21490)
Spanish Common Names: Cupey
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.160463
Element Code: PDCLU02040
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - St. John's-Wort Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Theales Clusiaceae Clusia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Clusia rosea
Taxonomic Comments: Accepted as Clusia rosea by Kartesz (1999) and Wunderlin (1998). The name Clusia flava has sometimes been applied to the Florida plants currently called C. rosea.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 12Nov1991
Global Status Last Changed: 12Nov1991
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Species is introduced to south Florida. Occurs natively through West Indies from Bahamas and Cuba to Trinidad and Tobago, and Bonaire and Curacao. Also from southern Mexico to Colombia, Venezuela, and French Guiana. Common in forests on riverbanks and hillsides throughout Puerto Rico, except in upper mountain regions.
Nation: United States
National Status: NNR

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Florida (SU), Hawaii (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Florida Keys (perhaps once native - see Wunderlin 1998, but also FLHP), West Indies (including Puerto Rico), and Mexico south to French Guiana.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Florida Keys (perhaps once native - see Wunderlin 1998, but also FLHP), West Indies (including Puerto Rico), and Mexico south to French Guiana.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The distribution shown may be incomplete, particularly for some rapidly spreading exotic species.

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States FL, HIexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A tropical tree. Medium-sized evergreen tree to 60 feet high and 2 feet in trunk diameter, sometimes originating as an epiphyte which eventually strangles and kills its tree host.
Habitat Comments: Low elevations along tropical woodland riverbanks and hillsides (Elias, 1980).
Economic Attributes
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Economic Uses: FIBER, Fuelwood, OTHER USES/PRODUCTS
Economic Comments: The wood is used for fuel and fence posts.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
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Disclaimer: While I-Rank information is available over NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe is not actively developing or maintaining these data. Species with I-RANKs do not represent a random sample of species exotic in the United States; available assessments may be biased toward those species with higher-than-average impact.

I-Rank: Low
Rounded I-Rank: Low
I-Rank Reasons Summary: While this plant is an endangered species in Florida, it is considered invasive in Hawaii. This epiphytic invader strangles its host plant. It occurs in a variety of habitats in Hawaii. Not much is known about management of this species.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Insignificant
I-Rank Review Date: 08Mar2004
Evaluator: Lu, S.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to the West Indies and Florida (Wagner et al. 1990). Native to the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, the West Indies, and southeastern Mexico down to northern South America (Starr et al. 2003).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Native to the West Indies and Florida (Wagner et al. 1990; Wunderlin and Hansen 2004). Non-native in Hawaii (Wagner et al. 1990).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Invades natural areas in Hawaii (Starr et al. 2003).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Low significance
Comments: This epiphytic plant can germinate in the crotch of other trees and after it grows roots that reach the ground, it will eventually smother the host tree and replace it (Starr et al. 2003; PIER 2003).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Insignificant
Comments: No reported impacts.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Insignificant
Comments: Established in Hawaii as a non-native on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii. On Hawaii, it is found in Hilo and Kona. (Wagner et al. 1990) It was recently documented as naturalized from Maui (Starr et al. 2003).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:High significance
Comments: Having negative impacts in Hawaii (Starr et al. 2003).

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: In one major TNC ecoregion as a non-native (Inference using data from Kartesz 1999 and TNC Ecoregion 2001 map).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:High significance
Comments: Becoming naturalized in Hawaii at low elevation disturbed areas (Wagner et al. 1990). Plants thrive in a variety of environments, from dry barren lava to steep cliffs in wet areas. Widely distributed in lowland urban areas. Extremely hardy, grows well in both wet and dry sites (Starr et al. 2003). Occurs in dry and moist forests and open areas at elevations below 3000 feet in Hawaii (PIER 2003). Very suitable for seaside locations as it is quite tolerant of light open sands and salt spray (Gilman and Watson 1993).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: First collected on Oahu in 1934 (Wagner et al. 1990). Threatens natural areas near lowland urban areas in Hawaii (Starr et al. 2003).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Moderate significance
Comments: Threatens natural areas near lowland urban areas in Hawaii (Starr et al. 2003). Hardy in zones 10B-11 (Gilman and Watson 1993).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Cultivated as an ornamental, seeds spread by birds (Wagner et al. 1990). Landscaping is the main mechanism for long-distance dispersal of this plant. Widely planted in Hawaii. Spreads from initial plantings.(Starr et al. 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Moderate significance
Comments: Threatens natural areas near lowland urban areas in Hawaii (Starr et al. 2003).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Low significance
Comments: Spreads from initial plantings (Starr et al. 2003). Becoming naturalized in Hawaii at low elevation disturbed areas (Wagner et al. 1990).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Unknown

16. Reproductive Characteristics:Low significance
Comments: Can be propagated by seeds, cuttings, or air layers. (Starr et al. 2003).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Insignificant

17. General Management Difficulty:Low significance
Comments: Not much is known about management of this species. But it is probably possible to pull small seedlings and use chemical control on larger plants, such as cut stump or basal bark methods (Starr et al. 2003).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Unknown
Comments: No information available.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Unknown
Comments: No information available.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance
Comments: Low elevation disturbed areas are usually readily accessible, although the epiphytic nature of most individuals probably present some accessibility problems.
Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 08Jul1991
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Broaddus, L.; rev. C. Annable.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Jan1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): JASTER, T. (TNC-LASP)

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Acevedo-Rodriguez, P., and collaborators. 1996. Flora of St. John. Memoirs of The New York Botanical Garden Vol. 78. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx. 581 pp.

  • Gilman, E.F. and D.G. Watson. 1993. Clusia rosea Pitch apple. USFS Southern Group of State Foresters. Fact Sheet ST-172. Available: http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/trees/CLUROSA.pdf. (Accessed 2004).

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1999. A synonymized checklist and atlas with biological attributes for the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Liogier, H.A. 1994. Descriptive Flora of Puerto Rico and Adjacent Islands: Spermatophyta, Volume 3, Cyrillaceae to Myrtaceae. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. 461 pp.

  • Little, E., Jr. & Wadsworth, F. 1964. Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 548 páges.

  • Little, E.L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agriculture Handbook No. 541. U.S. Forest Service, Washington, D.C. 375 pp.

  • Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk Project (PIER). 2003. Plant threats to Pacific ecosystems - species of environmental concern. Last updated 20 December 2003. Online. Available: http://www.hear.org/pier/threats.htm. (Accessed 2004).

  • Record, S., and C. Mell. 1924. Timbers of Tropical America. New Haven: Yale University Press, U.S.A. 610 págs.

  • Starr, F., K. Starr, and L. Loope. 2003. Plants of Hawaii Reports. USGS - Biological Resources Division, Haleakala Field Station. Available: http://www.hear.org/starr/hiplants/reports/. (Accessed 2004).

  • The Nature Conservancy. 2001. Map: TNC Ecoregions of the United States. Modification of Bailey Ecoregions. Online . Accessed May 2003.

  • Wagner, W.L., D.R. Herbst, and S.H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawaii. Univ. Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu. 1853 pp.

  • Wunderlin, R. P., and B. F. Hansen. 2004. Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants. [S. M. Landry and K. N. Campbell (application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research.] Institute for Systematic Botany, University of South Florida, Tampa. Online. Available: http://www.plantatlas.usf.edu.

  • Wunderlin, R.P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida. University Press of Florida: Gainesville, Florida. 806 pp.

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