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Koster's Curse - Clidemia hirta
Family: Melastomaceae

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TPIUC

Description

Koster’s curse is a coarse perennial shrub up to 2 m tall. The stems are covered with red bristles that lighten with age. The leaves are opposite, simple and petiolate. The ovate-to-oblong leaf blades are hairy with crenate margins. The surfaces appear pleated. Five major veins originate at the base of the leaf and extend to the apex. The inflorescence is a panicle that can be terminal or axillary. The calyx has five hairy linear lobes atop a long urceolate hypanthium. The corolla consists of five small white petals. The fruit is a hairy ovoid many seeded bluish-black berry.

Interesting facts

The shrub has become common in wet open or disturbed places. In areas with abundant moisture, it can grow vegetatively and reproduce throughout the year. Its success as an invasive species is due to prolific seed production, high seed viability, rapid growth, broad environmental tolerances, and abundance of dispersal vectors including birds, pigs, and humans.

The shrub spreads rapidly into forest gaps that have been opened due to disturbance. Once it becomes established Koster’s curse forms dense monotypic stands that shade out all the understory vegetation.


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Website, video, and graphics by Rob Nelson
For more information on this plant or management please contact US Army Corp of Engineers

 

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