Alternanthera sessilis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Amaranthaceae

Scientific Name: Alternanthera sessilis
Species Authority: (L.) R.Br. ex DC.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Sessile Joyweed, Dwarf Copperleaf
French Brède Emballages, Brède Chevrette, Magloire, Serenti
Alternanthera denticulata R. Brown
Alternanthera nodiflora R. Brown
Alternanthera sessilis R.Br.
Gomphrena sessilis L.
Illecebrum sessile L.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-04-25
Assessor(s): Gupta, A.K.
Reviewer(s): Lansdown, R.V. & Smith, K.
Contributor(s): Patzelt, A., Knees, S., de Belair, G. & Lansdown, R.V.
This species is widespread and abundant throughout most of its range with no known significant threats and it is therefore listed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species occurs throughout tropical and subtropical regions of the world, but is apparently largely absent from temperate and Mediterranean regions; reports of its presence in Europe and Russia are not reliable. It occurs throughout most of Africa south of the Sahara and Egypt, throughout the Middle East, east through the Indian subcontinent, most Indian Ocean island groups, East and Southeast Asia from the People's Democratic Republic of Korea south through Japan, China, Myanmar and Viet Nam to Malaysia. It also occurs in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Philippines and New Zealand. It is reported as native to some of the Pacific Ocean island groups and as introduced to others. In the Western Hemisphere it is non-native in the southern United States and of uncertain origin through Central America and the Caribbean south through much of South America to Chile and Argentina. It has also been naturalized in northern and eastern parts of Spain.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa (American Samoa, American Samoa); Australia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia); Bangladesh; Benin; Bhutan; Botswana; Brazil (Acre, Amazonas, Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Roraima, Santa Catarina, São Paulo); Burkina Faso; Cambodia; Cameroon; Cape Verde; Central African Republic; Chad; China (Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang); Christmas Island; Colombia; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands (Cook Is.); Côte d'Ivoire; Djibouti; Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland), Galápagos); Egypt (Egypt (African part)); Equatorial Guinea; Ethiopia; Fiji; French Polynesia (Marquesas, Society Is., Tuamotu); Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guam; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hong Kong; India (Andaman Is., Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Nicobar Is., Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttaranchal, West Bengal); Indonesia (Jawa, Papua); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Japan (Ogasawara-shoto); Jordan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Liberia; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Maldives; Mali; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius (Mauritius (main island), Rodrigues); Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar (Myanmar (mainland)); Namibia (Caprivi Strip, Namibia (main part)); Nauru; Nepal; New Caledonia; New Zealand (North Is., South Is.); Niger; Nigeria; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea (main island group)); Peru; Philippines; Pitcairn; Samoa; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles (Seychelles (main island group)); Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands (Santa Cruz Is., South Solomons); South Africa (Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tonga; Tuvalu; Uganda; Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen (North Yemen, Socotra, South Yemen); Zambia; Zimbabwe
United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaiian Is. - Native, Louisiana)
Present - origin uncertain:
Argentina; Belize; Chile; Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Dominican Republic; Guatemala; Jamaica; Nicaragua (Nicaragua (mainland)); Panama; Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico (main island)); Trinidad and Tobago
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species has a huge global range including both native and introduced distribution. It is probably no longer possible to be certain of its native range and consequently whether there may be different trends in native and introduced populations. However, it is extremely abundant and increasing in many areas, to the extent that it is widely considered a weed.
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a pioneer or ruderal species typically growing on disturbed parts of a variety of wetland habitats, often in species-rich associations with a range of other aquatic and wetland plants. It grows in the draw-down zones of water bodies or in water up to 1 m deep, where it may be part floating and part emergent or even grow in mats of floating vegetation. It is a typical plant of the floodplain wetlands, margins of rivers, streams, canals, ditches, ponds, reservoirs, tanks (in India). It will also grow in marshes, swamps, wet low-lying ground, ephemeral pools, seasonal pans and damp forest. It is a typical species of anthropogenic wetland habitats, such as damp areas in abandoned cultivation particularly in wet headlands, fallow rice fields, in seasonally waterlogged roadside depressions, on damp tracks and around villages, plantations, waste ground and even gardens. It will also grow in relatively dry situations on ditch banks or in cultivated crops. In Nigeria it is a weed of maize crops and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo it has been recorded growing in fields with sorghum, millet, Eleusine spp., maize, cotton, cassava, groundnuts and other cash crops. In the Philippines it occurs with tobacco, dry land field crops, pastures, and vegetable farms. It will grow on a range of soil types from poor sandy or alkaline soils, to loam or black cotton soils. It may extend into brackish water and estuarine habitats near the coast.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is eaten as a vegetable and cultivated as such. It is also used in medicine (Cook 1996, Larsen 1992) being used to treat diarrhoea, dysentery and fevers. The leaves, flowers and tender stems are used as a vegetable in Karnataka. Juice of this plant, deemed beneficial to eyes, is an ingredient in the making of medicinal hair oils and Kajal (kohl). The red variety of this plant is a common garden hedging plant, which is also used as a culinary vegetable. Young shoots and leaves of the weed are harvested as vegetables in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines and Indo-China. It also serves as good ground cover and fodder. Medicated lotions may also be produced from A. sessilis for treatment of beri-beri and fever, and infusions of the weed can be taken internally for fever and inflammation of the intestines (Burkill 1966, Soewardi et al. 1982, Pancho and Obien 1983, CABI).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A. sessilis is a weed of cultivated and waste ground. It is probably increasing both in range and abundance and is not subject to any known threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

The species is not the subject of conservation action and there is no evidence that such action is needed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
4. Grassland -> 4.6. Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.2. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent/Irregular Rivers/Streams/Creeks
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.3. Wetlands (inland) - Shrub Dominated Wetlands
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.6. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability:Suitable  major importance:No
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.9. Wetlands (inland) - Freshwater Springs and Oases
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.16. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Saline, Brackish or Alkaline Marshes/Pools
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.1. Artificial/Aquatic - Water Storage Areas (over 8ha)
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.2. Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha)
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.3. Artificial/Aquatic - Aquaculture Ponds
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.6. Artificial/Aquatic - Wastewater Treatment Areas
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.7. Artificial/Aquatic - Irrigated Land (includes irrigation channels)
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.8. Artificial/Aquatic - Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.9. Artificial/Aquatic - Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over part of range
  Occur in at least one PA:No
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention:Unknown
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No

♦  Food - human
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Food - animal
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

African plants database. 2012. African plants database (version 3.3.5). Pretoria Available at: (Accessed: 2012).

Al Khulaidi, A.W. 2004. Flora of Yemen.

Dassanayake, M.D. and Fosberg, F.R. (eds) 1980. A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon. Amerind Publishing Company, New Delhi.

IUCN. 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2014).

Miller, A.G. and Cope, T.A. 1996. Flora of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

Miller, A.G. and Morris, M. 2004. Ethnoflora of the Soqotra Archipelago. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

Missouri Botanical Garden. 2010(20 January).

Wood, J.R.I. 1997. A handbook of the Yemen flora. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew., London.

Wu, Z.Y., Raven, P.H. and Hong, D.Y. (eds). 2010. Flora of China. Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis.

Citation: Gupta, A.K. 2014. Alternanthera sessilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T164480A49527118. . Downloaded on 30 April 2017.
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