Rivina humilis L.
Family: Phytolaccaceae Common name: bloodberry, bloedbessie, rivina, coral berry, pigeon berry Catergory: proposed 1a (NEMBA), 1 (CARA)
DescriptionPerennial herb, sometimes woody at the base, 300-900 mm high with spreading branches; finely hairy when young. Leaves light green, thin textured, ovate to ovate-elliptic, on long slender petioles. Flowers, white or greenish to rosy, small, in slender, loose, many-flowered racemes. Flowering time from October - June or all year. Fruits, glossy, bright red berries, with one hairy seed per fruit.
DistributionNative to North, Central and South America and West Indies. It is widely naturalized in Indo-Malesia and the Pacific Islands. In Australia it invades rainforest margins and shady places and in other islands like Fiji, it occurs in coastal areas and along roadsides.
How it SpreadsBloodberry spreads mainly by seed. The attractive bright red colour of the seeds makes the rivina a choice food for many kinds of birds which allows seeds to be easily dispersed.
History in South Africa Bloodberry was introduced to South Africa as an ornamental. The earliest record is a specimen in Pretoria National Herbarium collected in 1944 at Lower Tugela in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal and in 1946 at Queens Park in East London, Eastern Cape.
Environmental and economic impactsBloodberry is a dwarf-like plant hence the species name humilis, and is shade tolerant. It threatens plants that grow at lower altitude in forests. Following disturbance of natural vegetation, this plant interferes with the re-establishment of native forest vegetation as it forms dense monocultural stands. All parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the leaves. Although birds will eat the berries, they are somewhat poisonous to humans.
How to eradicateFor small infestations, seeds can be collected and destroyed. Plants with no seeds can be hand-pulled and hung up to dry. Seed heads can be removed to minimize new growths. Ideally control should be done before the plants have the chance to form berries and/or flowers. There are no herbicides registered for this plant in South Africa.
What can you do to help?Report sightings of these plants to the Early Detection and Rapid Response Programme (EDRR) team. We will need to know its locality (the exact locality, supply any landmarks or GPS information if possible).
Contact detailsKanyisa NyafuEmail address: email@example.com Tel: 021 799 8762
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- Bromilow, C. 2010. Problem plants and Alien weeds of South Africa. Briza publications. South Africa.
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- Nellis, D.N. 1997. Poisonous plant s and animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Pineapple Press Inc. Florida.
- Smith, A. C. 1981. Flora Vitiensis nova: a new flora of Fiji. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Kauai, Hawaii. Volume 2. 810 pp