Houttuynia cordata - Thunb.
Chameleon
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Houttuynia cordata Thunb. (TSN 506518)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.795532
Element Code: PDSAU03010
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Other flowering plants
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Piperales Saururaceae Houttuynia
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
Concept Reference: 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.
Concept Reference Code: B99KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Houttuynia cordata
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: GNR
Rounded Global Status: GNR - Not Yet Ranked
Nation: United States
National Status: NNA

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 Louisiana (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
Help
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 LAexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
Help
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Viability
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank)
Help
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/Insignificant
Rounded I-Rank: Low
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Houttuynia cordata is an ornamental ground cover plant to watch. It is confirmed naturalized in riparian areas in at most two suburban parks of the mid-Atlantic (Montgomery County, PA and possibly Montgomery County, MD) and in a few strand areas in Florida (e.g. Virginia Key near Miami) thus far. However, naturalized plants may be under-collected because they do not flower often. This species is believed to pose a significant risk to natural communities should it escape from the numerous gardens in which it is currently growing. These fears are partly based on its aggressive behavior within its native range, where it often escapes cultivation and becomes a problematic weed in habitats such as shaded places in lowlands and forested banks. Its aggressive reproductive attributes are also a source of consternation; these traits include a very rapid growth rate, fragmentation with subsequent regrowth from fragments, vigorous spread by rhizomes, and reproduction both vegetatively and by seed. The potential range of susceptible habitats is believed to include forests, shrublands, lake and pond margins, and wetlands, and the rapid, dense growth of this species will likely enable it to displace many natives where naturalized. New Zealand also views this species as a potentially highly problematic invader. Needs reevaluation in the future to determine the extent of spread and impacts that are being realized.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Insignificant
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Low/Insignificant
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: High/Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 14Dec2006
Evaluator: Gravuer, K.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: Native to Asia, including southern China, Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Ryukyu Islands, and Shikoku), Taiwan, Bhutan, and Nepal (USDA ARS 2005).

Download "An Invasive Species Assessment Protocol: Evaluating Non-Native Plants for their Impact on Biodiversity". (PDF, 1.03MB)
Provide feedback on the information presented in this assessment

Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: Naturalized stands have been found along a tributary of the Schuylkill River in Spring Mill Park, Montgomery County, PA (Ann F. Rhoads, pers. comm., 2006) and possibly also in Watts Branch Stream Valley Park, Montgomery County, MD, although the MD record awaits confirmation (Paul Carlson, pers. comm., 2006). Naturalized plants also have also been seen in a few strand areas in Florida (e.g. Virginia Key near Miami) (Stinger Guala, pers. comm. 2006).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Naturalized in a riparian habitat (Ann F. Rhoads, pers. comm., 2006) and in strand habitats (Stinger Guala, pers. comm. 2006).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Insignificant

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Insignificant
Comments: No reports of impacts on ecosystem processes were found in either the US or international literature.

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:Low significance
Comments: Exhibits rapid, dense growth, allowing it to displace native species (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, Biosecurity New Zealand 2006). This growth habit likely alters the density and cover of herbaceous/understory layers.

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Exhibits rapid, dense growth, allowing it to displace native species (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, Biosecurity New Zealand 2006).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Insignificant
Comments: No reports of disproportionate impacts on specific species were found in either the US or international literature.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: This species has been confirmed to naturalize only in suburban parks, in strand areas, and in and around gardens thus far (Ann F. Rhoads, pers. comm., 2006; Paul Carlson, pers. comm., 2006; Whitinger 2006; Kemper Center for Home Gardening, no date); these areas are unlikely to contain many native biodiversity elements of high conservation significance.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Low/Insignificant

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Had been reported as established in Louisiana (Kartesz 1999), but this report was actually based upon deliberately-planted material specifically for use in ethnic cooking at restaurants adjacent to the plantings (Tad Hardy, pers. comm., 2006). There are, however, many unofficial reports of plants "escaping" in and around gardens in several US regions (Whitinger 2006, Kemper Center for Home Gardening, no date). Naturalized stands have been found along a tributary of the Schuylkill River in Spring Mill Park, Montgomery County, PA (Ann F. Rhoads, pers. comm., 2006) and possibly also in Watts Branch Stream Valley Park, Montgomery County, MD, although the MD record awaits confirmation (Paul Carlson, pers. comm., 2006). Naturalized plants also have also been seen in a few strand areas in Florida (e.g. Virginia Key near Miami) (Stinger Guala, pers. comm. 2006). Naturalized plants may be under-collected because this species does not flower often (Stinger Guala, pers. comm. 2006).

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Low significance/Insignificant
Comments: Because this species has been confirmed to naturalize only in suburban parks, in strand areas, and in and around gardens thus far, it was assumed that current impacts to native species and communities are relatively minor.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Low significance
Comments: Approximately 2-3 ecoregion is invaded, based on visual comparison of the generalized range and ecoregions map (The Nature Conservancy 2001).

9. Diversity of Habitats or Ecological Systems Invaded in Nation:Low significance
Comments: Confirmed naturalized only in a riparian habitat and in strand habitats thus far (Ann F. Rhoads, pers. comm. 2006; Stinger Guala, pers. comm. 2006). This species appears capable of thriving in a variety of light conditions (full sun to full shade), with perhaps a moderate preference for partial shade (Plants for a Future 2001, Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, Whitinger 2006, Kemper Center for Home Gardening, no date). Thrives in soils that are consistently moist to wet (including shallow water and boggy soils); prefers loamy, humusy soils, but moisture is more important than soil type (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, Kemper Center for Home Gardening, no date). Potential habitats are believed to include forests/woodlands (including forest edges), shrublands, lake and pond margins, and other wetland ecosystems (e.g. fens) (Plants for a Future 2001, Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, NZPCN 2005, Biosecurity New Zealand 2006).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: High/Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Initial discoveries of naturalized plants have occurred relatively recently, so the species was assumed to be expanding.

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:High significance
Comments: Believed to be adapted to at least USDA hardiness zones 5-9, suggesting the much of the US would be suitable (Whitinger 2006, Kemper Center for Home Gardening, no date). However, its strong preference for moist to wet soils may limit its potential range to the eastern US and the wet Pacific Northwest.

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Used as an ornamental groundcover and available for sale on the Internet (ISSG 2005, Whitinger 2006). Dumping of garden refuse may also disperse plants, as plant fragments are capable of taking root and forming new infestations (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Initial discoveries of naturalized plants have occurred relatively recently, so the species was assumed to be expanding.

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:High/Moderate significance
Comments: In New Zealand, this species is believed to pose a "huge risk to native habitats", because of its anticipated ability to invaded undisturbed forest floor and wetland ecosystems (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, Biosecurity New Zealand 2006).

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Moderate significance
Comments: Within the general boundaries of its native range, it is sometimes cultivated, whereupon it often escapes and becomes a problematic weed in habitats such as shaded places in lowlands and forested banks (Reed 1977). It has been noted as a serious weed in Japan and Taiwan, and a weed in Korea, China, India, southeast Asia, Java, and Tibet (Reed 1977). In New Zealand, it has been introduced via the nursery trade, but has not yet naturalized (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003). Importation, propagation, and sale of this species is banned in New Zealand because of the huge threat it is believed to pose to native biodiversity there (Biosecurity New Zealand 2006).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: This species has a very rapid growth rate (Plants for a Future 2001, ISSG 2005, Biosecurity New Zealand 2006), fragments easily with fragments easily taking root and forming new infestations. (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, ISSG 2005), spreads vigorously by rhizomes (ISSG 2005, Kemper Center for Home Gardening, no date), and reproduces both vegetatively and by seed (including parthenogenetic seed production) (ISSG 2005, Biosecurity New Zealand 2006).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Mechanical control can be challenging because rhizomes break off upon digging; these rhizome fragments are then capable of sprouting as new plants. Chemical control may also present some challenges as this species is considered tolerant of many herbicides, although it is susceptible to some (Environment Bay of Plenty 2003, ISSG 2005).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Several years appear necessary to fully remove all rhizomes from the soil.

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: Either mechanical or chemical treatment methods are likely to have some impact on co-occurring native species, either via soil disturbance or non-target herbicide effects.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Insignificant
Comments: All known naturalized populations thus far are located in publicly accessible areas.
Authors/Contributors
Help

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
Help
  • Biosecurity New Zealand. 2006. Pests and diseases. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), Wellington, New Zealand. Online. Available: http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pest-and-disease-response/pests-and-diseases-watchlist (Accessed 2006)

  • Environment Bay of Plenty. 2003, October last update. Ground Cover - Pest Plants fact sheet. Environment Bay of Plenty Pest Plant Section, Whakatane, New Zealand. Online. Available: http://www.ebop.govt.nz/land/media/pdf/15_ground%20cover.pdf (Accessed 2006).

  • Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). 2005. Global Invasive Species Database. Online. Available: http://www.issg.org/database (Accessed 2006).

  • 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.

  • Kemper Center for Home Gardening. No date. PlantFinder. Missouri Botanical Garden. Online:: http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/serviceplantfinder.shtml

  • New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN). 2005, last update. Exotic plant life and weeds. Online. Available: http://www.nzpcn.org.nz/exotic_plant_life_and_weeds/index.asp (Accessed 2006)

  • Plants for a Future. 2001, February 2002 last update. Plants for a future database. Available: http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/D_search.html (Accessed 2006).

  • Reed, Clyde F. 1977. Economically important foreign weeds. Potential problems in the United States. Agricultural Research Service. United States Department of Agriculture. 746 pp.

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

  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. 2005, 13 October last update. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) Online Database. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: http://www.ars-grin.gov2/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl (Accessed 2006).

  • Whitinger, D. 2006. Dave's Garden: PlantFiles. Online. Available: http://davesgarden.com/pf/ (Accessed 2006)

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2019.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2019 NatureServe, 2511 Richmond (Jefferson Davis) Highway, Suite 930, Arlington, VA 22202, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2019. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.