Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don, Mem. Wern. Nat. Hist. Soc. 4: 309 1823. (syn: Clidemia benthamiana Miq.; Clidemia cognata Steud. ex Naud.; Clidemia crenata (Vahl) DC.; Clidemia elegans (Aubl.) D. Don; Clidemia hirta var. chrysantha (Naud.) Cogn.; Clidemia hirta var. elegans (Aubl.) Griseb.; Clidemia hirta var. tiliaefolia (DC.) J.F.Macbr.; Clidemia pauciflora (Desr.) DC.; Clidemia tiliifolia DC.; Leandra fimbriata Raddi; Maieta hirta (L.) M.Gómez; Melastoma crenatum Vahl.; Melastoma elegans Aubl.; Melastoma hirta L.; Melastoma pauciflorum Desr.; Miconia hirta Baill.; Staphidium anceps Naud.; Staphidium benthamianum (Miq.) Naud.; Staphidium chrysanthum Naud.; Staphidium elegans (Aubl.) Naud.; Staphidium hostmannii Naud.; Staphidium pauciflorum (Desr.) Naud.; Staphidium tiliifolium (DC.) Naud.);
Originally from the American Neotropics (Mexico to Paraguay as well as the Caribbean), it has been introduced to Australia, Southern Asia and East Africa. It was introduced to Hawaii in the 1940s; by 1978 it had spread to over 90,000 acres (360 km2) of land on Oahu. In 1972 Koster’s Curse was first spotted on the Big Island. In Sri Lanka it is quite invasive in wet zone and upcountry forests, especially invading gaps in the forest, preventing other native species from emerging.
The plant grows 1–5 metres (3 ft 3 in–16 ft 5 in) tall, depending on habitat.
The black berries are up to 8 millimetres (0.31 in) long and taste a bit like a deeply flavored blueberry. Each fruit contains more than 100 tiny (0.5 mm) seeds. It flowers and fruits all year, if conditions are moist enough. A large plant can produce more than 500 fruits in a single year. The seeds are dispersed by birds, feral pigs, other animals, and humans. Sheep will not eat the plant, and the tannin inside the fruits is poisonous to goats. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 4 years.
The human edibility factor of this berry has not been fully explored. The tannin inside of the fruit is not harmful to humans and a delicious syrup may be made from the fruit. The syrup has a beautiful indigo blue color and may be used to enhance and remove the bitterness of teas such as yerba mate.
The epitheton hirta means “scrubby” in Latin. “Koster’s curse” is a commonly used name in places where the plant grows as a noxious weed, such as Hawaii.
Koster’s curse can form dense thickets that smother plantations, pastures and native vegetation.
Manually pulling plants out of the ground supplemented by herbicide application is an effective but temporary control method. The thrips species Liothrips urichi from Trinidad is being used to biologically control C. hirta; it was first employed on Fiji in 1930 (Simmonds, 1933).
(from Wikipedia on 14.3.17)
Shrubs 0.5-3 m tall; young branches rounded, hirsute. Leaves opposite, 5-16 x 3-8 cm, ovate to oblong-ovate, apex acute to short-acuminate, base rounded to subcordate, subentire to crenulate-denticulate, 5-nerved, upper surface sparsely strigose, lower surface finely bristly, margins ciliate; petioles 0.5-3 cm long. Pedicels 0.5-1 mm long in fruit; hypanthium 3-3.5 mm long, moderately to sparsely finely bristly, usually with a mixture of gland-tipped and stellulate hairs; receptacle bearing a conspicuous ring of fimbriate scales surrounding style. Calyx lobes broadly ovate to truncate in fruit, ca. 0.5 mm long, the linear external teeth projecting 2-4 mm. Petals white, 8-11 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, glabrous. Staminal filaments ca. 2.5 mm long; anthers 3.5-4.5 mm long, dorsal spur at base ca. 0.25 mm long. Berries 6-9 mm long; seeds 0.5-0.75 mm long.
Flowering and fruiting: December-March
Degraded forest areas
Native of South America; naturalised in Paleotropics
(Attributions- Dr. N Sasidharan (Dr. B P Pal Fellow), Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi from India Biodiversity Portal)
¿ Osbeckia ? FOR ID :: Galibeedu, Madikeri :: 23 FEB 2017 : 4 posts by 2 authors. 5 images.
¿ Osbeckia ? … (family: Melastomataceae)
Names of Plants in India :: Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don : 2 posts by 2 authors. 1 image.
klid-EM-ee-a — named for Klidemi, ancient Greek botanist … Dave’s Botanary
HER-tuh — hairy … Dave’s Botanary
commonly known as: Koster’s curse, soapbush
botanical names: Clidemia hirta (L.) D. Don … synonyms: status at The Plants List (2013). Version 1.1.
February 23, 2017 … Madikeri, Karnataka
Green leaves : 9 posts by 5 authors. 1 image.
I find these leaves very pretty.
Maybe it is Clidemia hirta (Melastomataceae) ….
Photo taken on 20/02/2018 in Rattota-Matale District-SriLanka.
Also check for Melastoma malabathricum
I believe it is Clidemia hirta. I have seen the plant in Madkeri (Coorg), Karnataka.
Clidemia hirta seems to me more like Melastoma malabathricum. I note this name!
Thank you for your expertise.
Looks close to Cidemia hirta
Noted. Thanks … I just made a suggestion before arriving at the ID by …