Sesbania punicea - (Cav.) Benth.
Purple Rattle-bush
Other English Common Names: Purple River-hemp, Rattlebox
Other Common Names: rattlebox
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sesbania punicea (Cav.) Benth. (TSN 26954)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159696
Element Code: PDFAB3M060
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Pea Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Fabales Fabaceae Sesbania
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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: Sesbania punicea
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Jun1994
Global Status Last Changed: 07Jun1994
Rounded Global Status: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Amplia distribución, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Brasil; cultivada desde Florida hasta Luisiana.
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 Alabama (SNA), Arkansas (SNA), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNR), Louisiana (SNA), Mississippi (SNA), North Carolina (SNA), South Carolina (SNA), Texas (SNA), Virginia (SNA)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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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 ALexotic, ARexotic, FLexotic, GA, LAexotic, MSexotic, NCexotic, SCexotic, TXexotic, VAexotic

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History Not yet assessed
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Basic Description: Arbusto.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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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: Medium
Rounded I-Rank: Medium
I-Rank Reasons Summary: Established in California and in the southeast, where it seems to be most problematic in southern/coastal Georgia and northern Florida. Recently discovered and currently spreading rapidly in native riparian communities of California, where it is a cause of significant concern. In addition to riparian communities and moist disturbed areas, this species has been documented from a variety of other wetland types (predominantly in the southeast), including freshwater and tidal marshes, riverine sand and gravel bars, savannahs and open wet pinelands, and swamps (incl. coastal swamps). This species forms dense thickets which can suppress and replace native vegetation; thickets often have no understory and create conditions favoring the continued regeneration and dominance of this species. These thickets can also influence river ecosystem processes such as water flow, frequency and intensity of flooding, and bank erosion.
Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium
Subrank II - Current Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank III - Trend in Distribution/Abundance: Medium
Subrank IV - Management Difficulty: Medium/Low
I-Rank Review Date: 24May2007
Evaluator: Gravuer, K.
Native anywhere in the U.S?
Native Range: South America (southern Brazil, northeastern Argentina, southeastern Paraguay, and Uruguay) (USDA ARS 2007).

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Screening Questions

S-1. Established outside cultivation as a non-native? YES
Comments: This species is a non-native that is established outside of cultivation (Kartesz 1999).

S-2. Present in conservation areas or other native species habitat? Yes
Comments: Predominantly found in riparian areas and in moist, disturbed sites. Additional communities invaded include a variety of wetland types, including freshwater and tidal marshes, riverine sand and gravel bars, savannahs and open wet pinelands, and swamps (incl. coastal swamps) (Agricultural Research Service 1970, Correll and Johnston 1970, Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Isely 1990, Russell et al. 1997, Rice 1998, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Hunter and Platenkamp 2003, TNC 2003, Wunderlin and Hansen 2003, Brusati and DiTomaso 2005, Weakley 2007, Whitinger 2007).

Subrank I - Ecological Impact: Medium

1. Impact on Ecosystem Processes and System-wide Parameters:Moderate significance
Comments: Clusters of plants within waterways can contribute to bank erosion and increase the chance of flooding (Weber 2003, Sacramento Weed Warriors no date). Colonization may also increase hydraulic roughness, which could increase the stage of individual flood events (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). Additionally, infestations can impede and potentially reduce water flow in rivers (Weber 2003, Brusati and DiTomaso 2005). Finally, this species colonizes nutrient-poor habitats and is a nitrogen fixer, although the extent to which other nitrogen-fixing species may be present in these habitats is unclear (DiTomaso and Healy 2003).

2. Impact on Ecological Community Structure:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Forms dense, sometimes impenetrable, thickets which can suppress and replace native vegetation (Sacramento Weed Warriors no date, TNC 2003, Weber 2003, PIER 2006); thickets have been documented to achieve 100% cover over areas up to several thousand square meters and over 50% cover of areas greater than a hectare (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). Other plants are excluded from the understory of these thickets (Brusati and DiTomaso 2005). This species forms a seed bank and is able to regenerate in its own shade, providing a mechanism for site dominance to be maintained once established (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003).

3. Impact on Ecological Community Composition:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Forms dense, sometimes impenetrable, thickets which can suppress and replace native vegetation (Sacramento Weed Warriors no date, TNC 2003, Weber 2003, PIER 2006); thickets have been documented to achieve 100% cover over areas up to several thousand square meters and over 50% cover of areas greater than a hectare (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). Other plants are excluded from the understory of these thickets (Brusati and DiTomaso 2005). This species forms a seed bank and is able to regenerate in its own shade, providing a mechanism for site dominance to be maintained once established (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). In addition, all parts of the plant are poisonous to birds, reptiles, and mammals (Russell et al. 1997), although experts in California have noted that impacts on higher trophic levels are "moderate, with no serious declines to birds or reptile populations" (Brusati and DiTomaso 2005).

4. Impact on Individual Native Plant or Animal Species:Low significance
Comments: Hybridization between this species and the native Sesbania drummondii occurs in southern Mississippi (Isely 1990). In addition, all parts of the plant are poisonous to birds, reptiles, and mammals (Russell et al. 1997), but no evidence was found that this has a disproportionate effect on a particular native species.

5. Conservation Significance of the Communities and Native Species Threatened:Moderate significance
Comments: Appears able to establish in natural riparian areas with no additional disturbance by humans (Brusati and DiTomaso 2005). Also found in a number of naturally open communities in the southeast (e.g. savannahs and open pinelands) (Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Isely 1990, Wunderlin and Hansen 2003, Weakley 2007); some of these areas may be of relatively high quality and/or conservation significance.

Subrank II. Current Distribution and Abundance: Medium

6. Current Range Size in Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Established in the southeastern US and in California. In the southeast, found predominantly but not exclusively on the Coastal Plain; established in VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, AR, and eastern TX (Kartesz 1999). Apparently most densely established and problematic in southern/coastal Georgia and northern Florida (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, TNC 2003, Fox et al. 2006). In California, first collected in Butte County in 1987; the next collection in 1998 on the American River Parkway in Sacramento triggered concern about the species' spread and impact potential (Rice 1998). Now documented in California from the San Francisco Bay area, southern North Coast Ranges, Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys and surrounding foothills; suspected elsewhere (DiTomaso and Healy 2003). Overall, generalized range covers approximately 15% of US land area.

7. Proportion of Current Range Where the Species is Negatively Impacting Biodiversity:Moderate significance
Comments: In California, appears to be problematic throughout its invaded range, where it frequently invades native riparian vegetation (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). In the southeast, it appears to be of greatest concern in southern/coastal Georgia and northern Florida (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, TNC 2003, Fox et al. 2006); however, Weakley (2007) describes it as "common" and it is known from several native southeastern plant communities (Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Isely 1990, Wunderlin and Hansen 2003, Weakley 2007), so it is likely impacting native biodiversity in at least some other parts of the southeast as well.

8. Proportion of Nation's Biogeographic Units Invaded:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Approximately 14 ecoregions are 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:High/Moderate significance
Comments: Prefers full sun and moist to wet, sandy soils; can spread quickly in nutrient poor environments and is moderately salt-tolerant (Black 1985, Whitinger 2007). Predominantly found in riparian areas (including stream banks, lake shores, and pond shores) and in moist, disturbed sites (roadsides, waste places, fence rows, ditches). In California, it is typically found in riparian scrub vegetation dominated by narrow-leaved willow (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). Additional communities invaded include a variety of wetland types, including freshwater and tidal marshes (SE and California), riverine sand and gravel bars (California), savannahs and open wet pinelands (SE), and swamps (incl. coastal swamps) (SE) (Agricultural Research Service 1970, Correll and Johnston 1970, Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Isely 1990, Russell et al. 1997, Rice 1998, DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Hunter and Platenkamp 2003, TNC 2003, Wunderlin and Hansen 2003, Brusati and DiTomaso 2005, Weakley 2007, Whitinger 2007).

Subrank III. Trend in Distribution and Abundance: Medium

10. Current Trend in Total Range within Nation:Moderate significance
Comments: Spreading rapidly in California (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). May already occupy much of its potential generalized range in the southeast, where it is currently common (Weakley 2007); in Florida, the potential for expansion to additional areas of central and southern Florida was rated Low (Fox et al. 2006).

11. Proportion of Potential Range Currently Occupied:Low significance
Comments: USDA hardiness zones 8a - 11 are thought to be suitable (Whitinger 2007), with the species having a preference for places with "long, hot summers" (Rice 1998). Within this generally suitable range, the species is likely limited by its preference for high rainfall areas or damp habitats, as it is in South Africa (PIER 2006). Within these constraints, areas for potential expansion may include much of California and southern Oregon, moist habitats in southern Arizona (e.g. riparian areas), and possibly southern Florida, although experts believe that the species' potential for expansion into southern Florida is Low (Fox et al. 2006).

12. Long-distance Dispersal Potential within Nation:High significance
Comments: Used as an ornamental (Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Black 1985, Isely 1990, Russell et al. 1997, Rice 1998, Brusati and DiTomaso 2005) and available for sale on the internet (Whitinger 2007). However, efforts are underway to curtail the commercial sale of this species in at least some parts of the US. For example, in 2001, the Florida Nurserymen and Growers Association (FNGA) urged Florida's nursery and landscape industry professionals to phase out production, sale, and use of this species, and local groups in California are working to prevent its sale there (Sacramento Weed Warriors no date). However, once plants are established, seed pods, which can float for up to 10 days (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003), are able to spread long distances by water (Rice 1998, DiTomaso and Healy 2003).

13. Local Range Expansion or Change in Abundance:Moderate significance
Comments: Spreading rapidly in California (DiTomaso and Healy 2003, Hunter and Platenkamp 2003) and having High potential for further local expansion in northern Florida (Fox et al. 2006).

14. Inherent Ability to Invade Conservation Areas and Other Native Species Habitats:Moderate significance
Comments: Not particularly shade tolerant (PIER 2006), which limits its ability to spread into many communities. However, appears able to establish in natural riparian areas with no additional disturbance by humans (Brusati and DiTomaso 2005). Also found in a number of naturally open communities in the southeast (e.g. savannahs and open pinelands) (Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Isely 1990, Wunderlin and Hansen 2003, Weakley 2007); the extent of disturbance necessary to facilitate establishment in these areas is unclear.

15. Similar Habitats Invaded Elsewhere:Moderate significance
Comments: Also established in South Africa, where it was declared noxious in 1979, as well as Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, and the gulf coast of Mexico (Agricultural Research Service 1970, Csurhes and Edwards 1998, PIER 2006). In South Africa, it appears to have penetrated more significantly into both forest and grassland habitats than it has as yet in the US (Weber 2003, PIER 2006).

16. Reproductive Characteristics:High significance
Comments: Reproductive individuals produce 500 - 10,000 seeds per year (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). This species is a shrub/small tree that can begin producing seed in the first year of growth if germination occurs early enough (Sacramento Weed Warriors no date, PIER 2006); therefore it appears to grow more rapidly to reproductive maturity than most plants of its life form. Seeds are thought to remain viable in the soil for three or more years (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003, Weber 2003, Brusati and DiTomaso 2005). Plants that are cut but that do not have cut stumps painting with herbicide can resprout vigorously from the stump (Brusati and DiTomaso 2005), although resprouting from roots does not occur (PIER 2006).

Subrank IV. General Management Difficulty: Medium/Low

17. General Management Difficulty:Moderate significance
Comments: Young plants can be pulled by hand or with a pulling tool (e.g. weed wrench); the root system is not very large, especially in waterlogged situations, so pulling is relatively easy (Rice 1998, Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). Larger plants can be cut and the stump immediately planted with herbicide (e.g. triclopyr or Aquamaster) (Rice 1998, Weber 2003). In California, it was found that these cut stumps required a second herbicide treatment in the same year to achieve effective control (Cal-IPC 2006). However, the lack of root sprouting when the shoot is damaged has been cited as a fortunate feature which makes control easier (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003). In addition to cutting and painting established plants, two visits to the site per year are required to remove emerging seedlings (Cal-IPC 2006). Effective biological control of this species has been achieved in South Africa using a combination of three weevil species (DiTomaso and Healy 2003).

18. Minimum Time Commitment:Medium/Low significance
Comments: Seeds are thought to remain viable in the soil for three or more years (Hunter and Platenkamp 2003, Weber 2003, Brusati and DiTomaso 2005).

19. Impacts of Management on Native Species:Low significance
Comments: The small size of the root system (Rice 1998, Hunter and Platenkamp 2003) suggests that pulling plants could result in minimal damage to native species. Cutting plants and painting stumps with herbicide is also likely to be minimally invasive, provided this is done with care.

20. Accessibility of Invaded Areas:Low significance
Comments: Some of the very wet or boggy areas or sand/gravel islands in midstream may be difficult to access. Also, because this species is still used horticulturally, some infestations may be located on private lands.
Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 07Jun1994
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Yekell, S. (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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  • Agricultural Research Service. 1970. Common weeds of the United States. Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washington, D.C. 463 pp.

  • Bernardi, Luciano. 1984. Contribución a la dendrología paraguaya, Boissiera 35: 1-341. Mémoires de botanique systematique, conservatoire et jardin botaniques de Genéve, Génova.

  • Black, R. J. 1985, reviewed 2003. Salt-tolerant plants for Florida. Document ENH-26. Department of Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Online. Available: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP01200.pdf (Accessed 2007)

  • Brusati, E. and J. DiTomaso. 2005. Part IV. Plant Assessment Form, for use with "Criteria for Categorizing Invasive Non-Native Plants that Threaten Wildlands" by the California Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Southwest Vegetation Management Association: Sesbania punicea (Cav.) Benth. Available: http://portal.cal-ipc.org/files/PAFs/Sesbania%20punicea.pdf (Accessed 2007).

  • Correll, D.S., and M.C. Johnston. 1970. Manual of the vascular plants of Texas. Texas Research Foundation, Renner. 1881 pp.

  • Csurhes, S. and R. Edwards. 1998. National Weeds Program: Potential Environmental Weeds in Australia: Candidate Species for Preventive Control. Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Queensland, Australia. Online. Available: http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/publications/weeds-potential/pubs/potential-weeds.pdf (Accessed 2006).

  • DiTomaso, J.M. and E.A. Healy. 2003. Aquatic and riparian weeds of the West. Regents of University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Publication 3421.

  • Fox, A.M., D.R. Gordon, J.A. Dusky, L. Tyson, and R.K. Stocker. 2006, October last update. IFAS assessment of the status of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Online. Available: http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment.html (Accessed 2006).

  • Godfrey, R.K., and J.W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and wetland plants of southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. Univ. Georgia Press, Athens. 933 pp.

  • Hunter, J. C. and G. A. J. Platenkamp. 2003. The hunt for red sesbania. CalEPPC News: Quarterly newsletter of the California Exotic Pest Plant Council. 11(2): 4-6.

  • Isely, D. 1990. Vascular flora of the southeastern United States. Vol. 3, Part 2. Leguminosae (Fabaceae). Univ. North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 258 pp.

  • 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.

  • Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). 2006, 25 October last update. Sesbania punicea. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Institute of Pacific Island Forestry. Online. Available: http://www.hear.org/Pier/species/sesbania_punicea.htm (Accessed 2007).

  • Randall, R.P. 2002. A global compendium of weeds. R.G. and F.J. Richardson, Melbourne. 905 pp.

  • Rice, B. 1998. Weed Alert! Sesbania punicea (syn. "Sesbania tripetii", "Daubentonia punicea") (Rattlebox, Chinese Wisteria). The Nature Conservancy Global Invasive Species Initiative. Online. Available: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/alert/alrtsesb.html (Accessed 2007).

  • Russell, A.B., J.W. Hardin, and L. Grand. 1997. Poisonous plants of North Carolina. North Carolina Cooperative Extension, North Carolina State University. Available: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/poison.htm. (Accessed 2007).

  • Sacramento Weed Warriors. no date. Red sesbania (Sesbania punicea): Invasive weed fact sheet. Online. Available: http://www.sacvalleycnps.org/Projects/weedFiles/invasives/SesbaniaFactSheet.pdf (Accessed 2007).

  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC). 2003. Workshop scheduled to address concerns about invasive species in coastal Georgia. Press release, August 18, 2003. Online. Available: http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/georgia/press/press1213.html (Accessed 2007)

  • 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. 2007 last update. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, MD. Online. Available: http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl (Accessed 2007).

  • Weakley, A.S. 2007. Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, and surrounding areas. Working draft of 11 January 2007. University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU), North Carolina Botanical Garden, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. [http://www.herbarium.unc.edu/flora.htm (accessed 2007)]

  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds. CABI Publishing, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 548 pp.

  • Whitinger, D. 2007. Dave's Garden: PlantFiles. Online. Available: http://davesgarden.com/pf/ (Accessed 2007)

  • Wunderlin, R.P. and B.F. Hansen. 2003. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida. 2nd edition. University Press of Florida, Tampa. 788 pp.

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