Invasive species of Paies

The invasive species walk and talk was under essentially clear sunny skies. The walk also included review of some of the plants of campus. On the way north from the classroom I noted Sphagneticola trilobata, Ischaemum polystachyum, Falcataria moluccana, and Pterocarpus indicus. Pterocarpus indicus is not particularly invasive on Pohnpei. A recent weed whacking of the area of the former ethnobotanic garden had cut down the Heterotis rotundifolia. I also could not find Hippobroma longiflora. We gazed at the Clerodendrum quadriloculare from across the road.

The Ipomoea carnea was thriving. and Chromolaena odorata was scattered along the walking route. We eventually became buried amid Ischaemum polystachyum, Merremia peltata, and young Falcaria moluccana. The sun was blazing and every plant swallowing us was an invasive. I pointed this out and noted that while everyone was focused on the dual citizen issue and concern over foreigners, foreign plants had taken over portions of Pohnpei. I pointed out we were surrounded by tuhke en wai. Bad plants. Evil plants. Plants that did not belong there. And in the heat and four foot deep tangle these statements made sense.

Prior to crossing the soccer field I located the Acacia, which is not in good shape. After crossing the field I spotted the tree above amid Falcataria moluccana and other invasives.

Although tree is young, there was no sign of the falcate leaves of Acacia auriculiformisAcacia mangium is reported on Pohnpei, perhaps this is A. mangium. Or perhaps the falcate leaves will appear later. The tree is not all that small nor young.

Euphorbia hirta is a common roadside weed that Kosraeans have recently turned to in the treatment of dengues. Tea from the boiled leaves is used to treat the symptoms of dengue fever in the Philippines. Euphorbia hirta was also studied in Pakistan, using herbal water, where researchers found that "In over 70% patients there was improvement in platelet count, TLC, fever, and flue-like symptoms." The Kosraeans learned this ethnomedical knowledge from a healer from the south Pacific. While the plant may technically be invasive, this plant is already being credited with treating dengue in Kosrae. Some invasives may be beneficial for people.

Soursop tree, not an invasive. After an hour in the sun, the class and the instructor were ready to retire for the day.


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