Miconia

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Miconia
Starr 031118-0115 Miconia calvescens.jpg
Velvet Tree (Miconia calvescens)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Melastomataceae
Genus: Miconia
Ruiz & Pavón
Species

Many, see text

Miconia is a genus of flowering plants in the glory bush family, Melastomataceae, native to warm temperate to tropical regions of the Americas. The species are mostly shrubs and small to medium-sized trees up to 15 m tall. The generic name honours Catalan physician and botanist Francesc Micó.[1]

Many species are threatened by habitat destruction in their native range, and some are feared to be on the brink of extinction. On the other hand, M. calvescens is a contributing factor in the decline and maybe even extinction of other plants: it has become a highly invasive weed on a number of Pacific Islands where it was introduced, including Hawaii and Tahiti. It is often referred to as the "purple plague" or the "green cancer" in reference to its habit of overgrowing native ecosystems, and its leaves which are bright green above and bright purple below.

Miconia fruit are a favorite food of many birds (invasive M. calvescens spreads by this route). The leaves of some species are eaten by caterpillars of the interesting moth-butterflies (Hedylidae).

Selected species[edit]

M. albicans
M. fallax

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names. III M-Q A-C. CRC Press. p. 1676. ISBN 978-0-8493-2677-6. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Miconia at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Miconia at Wikispecies