Intentionally planted in a garden in the Oceanview area of Hawai’i Island, purple toadflax escaped cultivation and invaded the dry native forest. The herbaceous perennial can be weedy in open areas with rocky substrate and good drainage.
Opposite or whorled leaves, entire to dentate, pinnately veined
Leaves blue-green in color and narrow
Erect stem sometimes branched at the base
Violet snapdragon-like flowers, very showy
Fast growth to maturity
Out-competes with native fauna by preventing new growth of native species
Hawaii Island – Only known population in Oceanview was eradicated
Smoke bush, known also as butterfly bush, is an aggressive shrub that is on the Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife’s list, “Hawaii’s Most Invasive Horticultural Plants”. This species is rated “HIGH RISK” for invasiveness, with a score of “7” by the Weed Risk Assessment for Hawaii and Pacific Islands. Smoke bush is recognized as an invasive species in Florida, Australia, South Africa, and in the Caribbean.
Viney shrub with dense, sprawling habit
Clusters of small, orange, attractive, fragrant flowers
Gray-green leaves 3-5″ long
Seeds born in pulpy fruits on terminal clusters
Native to Madagascar, introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental plant
Aggressive invader of disturbed areas at mid to low elevations, including open range, stream beds, and gulches
Forms dense stands that crowd out and compete with native plants
Plant produces numerous fruit that are attractive to birds, which disperse the seeds.
Mechanical and chemical control of this species is difficult.
On the island of Hawaii:
Infestations in Volcano, Puna, Waimea, Paauilo, South Kona. Targeted for control by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)
Axis deer was first illegally introduced in December 2009, but the first confirmed sighting wasn’t until February 2011. Four deer were transported from Maui where axis deer was previously introduced in 1959. BIISC immediately began monitoring the area and confirmed axis deer had made its way to the Big Island. Surveys were produced with the use of FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared Radar) equipment, helicopter flights, and other methods. The BIISC vertebrate team was able to quickly and successfully eradicate the deer. There have been no more confirmed sightings of axis deer since.
But that is not the end of the problem. Because the first confirmed sighting was a little more than a year after the initial introduction there is a possibility that the first deer had already begun breeding increasing the total amount of deer that was speculated to be on the Big Island. The BIISC vertebrate team is still conducting some surveys but relies heavily on sighting reports from the public. One of the main ways to ID and axis deer is by the white spots on its body.
Axis deer can cause a lot of damage to the Big Islands natural environment as well as the agricultural industry. In the past they have caused millions of damage to golf courses, food crops, ranches, landscaping, and more. Deer are also a carrier of bovine tuberculosis which can have devastating results to the cattle industry. Axis deer reproduce extremely quickly and it would only take a few years for them to become established and uncontrollable.
If you see and axis deer or any other kind of vertebrate that shouldn’t be there please let us know. Report A Pest or call the Deer Hotline immediately at (808) 443-4036