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    (Click here to return to Plants & Creatures)

    Common Name:Koster's Curse
    Pretty Plant - Kill It
    Scientific:Clidemia hirta
    Size:1 to 3 ft bush
    Flower:Small white
    Habitat:Sea level to 2,000 ft

    The Koster's Curse is a plant related to Miconia (another invasive plant) and grows on most of the islands. The leaves are quite striking with highly symmetrical markings. The plant has small white flowers and small purple berries. The berries contain hundreds of small seeds that are eaten by birds and distributed as they fly and roost - making the plant difficult to control.

    Koster's Curse was introduced to the islands in the 1940s and by 1978 it had spread to over 90,000 acres of land on Oahu. In 1972 Koster's Curse was first spotted on the Big Island. Because it is easy to spread the small seeds on muddy shoes that have trampled on berries care should be taken when hiking in areas known to have this plant.

    This plant should be destroyed where ever found! To destroy the plant pull it up by its roots and hang it upside down so that the roots dry and can not reattach themselves to the ground. Be careful not to spread the berries!

    Close-up of Leaf

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    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun