Click on images to enlarge
massive infestation (Photo: Forest and Kim Starr, USGS)
infestation (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
climbing habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
scrambling habit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
compound leaf with three leaflets (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
cluster of small pea-shaped flowers (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
immature fruit (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of stems and mature fruit, which are covered in rusty-coloured hairs (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
close-up of seeds (Photo: Steve Hurst at USDA PLANTS Database)
young seedling (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
seedling (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
young plants (Photo: Sheldon Navie)
Neonotonia wightii (Arn.) J.A. Lackey
Glycine javanica L.Glycine wightii (Arn.) Verdc.Notonia wightii Arn.
Fabaceae (Queensland, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory)Fabaceae: sub-family Faboideae (New South Wales)Leguminosae (South Australia)Papilionaceae (Western Australia)
This species is widespread is tropical regions and its exact origin is obscure. It is possibly native to sub-Saharan Africa (i.e. Chad, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Cameroon, Gabon, Zaire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana), Saudi Arabia, the Indian sub-continent (i.e. India and Sri Lanka) and south-eastern Asia (i.e. Indonesia and Malaysia). However, some references state that it is native to Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Glycine (Neonotonia wightii) has been cultivated as a pasture legume or cover crop. Several cultivars have been released in Australia for use these purposes. The four main ones being 'Tinaroo', 'Clarence', 'Cooper' and 'Malawi', with 'Tinaroo' being the most common.
- a climbing plant with twining or scrambling stems up to 4.5 m long.
- its stems, leaves and fruit vary from being relatively hairless to having a dense covering of rusty velvet hairs.
- its alternately arranged leaves have three oval leaflets (1-10 cm long and 0.6-7 cm wide).
- its small white to mauve pea-shaped flowers (about 1 cm long) are borne in elongated clusters.
- its elongated pods (1.5-3.5 cm long) are turned downwards and turn dark brown or blackish when mature.
Stems and Leaves
The stems (0.6-4.5 m long) vary from being densely covered in rusty-coloured hairs (i.e. pubescent) to almost hairless (i.e. sub-glabrous). They tend to twine around themselves and other vegetation. The base of the stem becomes somewhat woody with age, while younger stems are greenish in colour.
The leaves (3-16 cm long) are alternately arranged along the stems and are borne on stalks (i.e. petioles) 2-12 cm long. They are compound with three oval (i.e. elliptic) or egg-shaped (i.e. ovate) leaflets. These leaflets (1-10 cm long and 0.6-7 cm wide) are usually velvety hairy (i.e. pubescent) on both sides, but are occasionally almost hairless (i.e. glabrous). They have entire margins and rounded to pointed tips (i.e. obtuse to acuminate apices).
Flowers and Fruit
The small flowers are arranged in elongated clusters (i.e. axillary racemes) 2-18 cm long and are borne on stalks (i.e. peduncles) 2-10 cm long. These pea-shaped flowers (about 1 cm long) are white to mauve in colour, sometimes with yellowish or purplish markings, and often turn orange as they die-off. Each flower has four or five hairy (i.e. strigose) sepals (3-8 mm long) that are fused together at the base into a short tube (i.e. calyx tube). They have a large upper petal (i.e. standard) 4-12 mm long, two side (i.e. wing) petals, and two lower petals that are fused together and folded (i.e. keel). They also have ten small stamens, nine of which are fused together, and an ovary topped with a curved style and a tiny stigma.
The small pods (1.5-3.5 cm long and 2.5-5 mm wide) are elongated in shape and somewhat flattened (i.e. compressed). They turn from green to dark brown or blackish in colour as they mature and are angled downwards (i.e. reflexed). These fruit are usually covered in rusty-coloured hairs (i.e. pubescent) and contain 4-9 seeds. The dark reddish-brown or black seeds (2.5-4 mm long and 1.5-3 mm wide) are kidney-shaped (i.e. reniform) to somewhat four-angled.
Reproduction and Dispersal
The seeds can be spread in contaminated agricultural produce (i.e. fodder) and dumped garden waste. They may also be dispersed by water and animals.
Glycine (Neonotonia wightii) is regarded as an environmental weed in Queensland and northern New South Wales. It is also seen as a potential environmental weed or "sleeper weed" in other parts of northern Australia. This species can infest extensive areas of open land and rainforest margins where it smothers grasses and other understorey vegetation, and sometimes even shrubs and smaller trees. It reduces the amount of light reaching these plants, eventually even killing them, and prevents the regeneration of native species. Its growth is most prolific in tropical and sub-tropical climates where the annual rainfall is between 750-1500 mm.
Glycine (Neonotonia wightii) is currently of most concern in south-eastern Queensland, and during a recent study it was ranked among the top 20 most invasive environmental weeds in this region. It appears on numerous local environmental weed lists in south-eastern Queensland (i.e. in Ipswich City, Gold Coast City, Maroochy Shire, Beaudesert Shire, Cooloola Shire and Redland Shire) and is regarded as a threat to ecosystem integrity in conservation areas in Springbrook, on the Gold Coast hinterland.
Glycine (Neonotonia wightii) is also listed as an environmental weed in the Townsville City Council region and as an undesirable plant in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in northern Queensland. In New South Wales, glycine (Neonotonia wightii) is sporadically naturalised in coastal districts, mainly north from the Bellingen area.
Glycine (Neonotonia wightii) can be confused with the native rhynchosia (Rhynchosia minima). These two species can be distinguished by the following differences:
- glycine (Neonotonia wightii) has white or mauve coloured flowers that turn orange in colour when they die off. Its pods are elongated in shape (15-36 mm long), contain several (4-7) seeds, and are usually covered in obvious rusty-coloured (i.e. ferruginous) hairs.
- rhynchosia (Rhynchosia minima) has yellow flowers with reddish-coloured markings. Its pods are relatively short (10-15 mm long), contain only a few (1-3) seeds, and are covered in short fine hairs (i.e. puberulent).
Not declared or considered noxious by any state government authorities.
For information on the management of this species see the following resources:
- the Biosecurity Queensland Fact Sheet on this species, which is available online at http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au.
Anonymous (2002). A Global Compendium of Weeds. http://www.hear.org/gcw. Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project and Department of Agriculture - Western Australia.
Anonymous (2002). Australia's Virtual Herbarium. http://www.anbg.gov.au/avh. Australian National Botanic Gardens, Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.
Anonymous (2006). Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/index.pl. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, National Genetic Resources Program, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Beltsville, Maryland, USA.
Anonymous (2006). Glycine. Neonotonia wightii. Natural Resources and Water Facts - pest series, PP80. The State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Water), Brisbane, Queensland.
Anonymous (2006). Neonotonia wightii (Wight & Arn.) Verdc., Fabaceae. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER): plant threats to Pacific ecosystems. http://www.hear.org/pier/species/neonotonia_wightii.htm. Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hawaii, USA.
Anonymous (2007). Neonotonia wightii (Wight & Arn.) Lackey. Perennial soybean. Plants Profile. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=NEWI2. Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Batianoff, G.N. and Butler, D.W. (2002). Assessment of invasive naturalized plants in south-east Queensland. Plant Protection Quarterly 17: 27-34.
Harden, G.J. (2007). Neonotonia wightii (Arn.) J.A.Lackey. PlantNET - The Plant Information Network System of Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au. Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, New South Wales.
Kleinschmidt, H.E., Holland, A. and Simpson, P. (1996). Suburban Weeds. 3rd Edition. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.
Navie, S.C. (2004). Crop Weeds of Australia. CD-ROM. The University of Queensland, St. Lucia., Queensland.
Navie, S.C., Markwell, B., Playford, J. and Adkins, S.W. (2002). Suburban and Environmental Weeds: an interactive identification and information system. CD-ROM. The University of Queensland, St. Lucia. Queensland.
Partridge, I. (2003). Glycine (Neonotonia wightii). Better Pastures for the Tropics and Subtropics. http://www.tropicalgrasslands.asn.au/pastures/default.htm. Tropical Grassland Society of Australia Inc., St. Lucia, Queensland.
Stanley, T.E. and Ross, E.M. (1983). Flora of South-eastern Queensland. Volume 1. Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.
Wilson, B.J., Hawton, D. and Duff, A.A. (1995). Crop Weeds of Northern Australia: identification at seedling and mature stages. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, Queensland.