Cinchona pubescens

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Cinchona pubescens
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Order: Gentianales
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Family: Rubiaceae
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Genus: Cinchona
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Species: C. pubescens
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Binomial name
Cinchona pubescens
Vahl, 1790
Trinomial name
Type Species

Cinchona pubescens is known for its bark's high quinine content- and has similar uses to Cinchona officinalis in the production of quinine, most famously used for treatment of malaria (Kinyuy et al. 1993). Its native range spans Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. In Ecuador, C. pubescens is distributed within an altitude from 300 to 3900 m and has the widest distribution of all Cinchona species (Acosta-Solis 1945; Missouri Botanical Garden specimen database 2002) Its distribution is at well documented by the Missouri Botanic Garden's Nomenclatural Data Base w3TROPICOS.

Planted outside of its native range on tropical islands it has become an invasive species (Invasive Species Specialist Group. In Galapagos it has become a dominant species in the formerly shrub dominated Miconia and Fern-Sedge zones (sensu Wiggins and Porter 1971) on Santa Cruz Island (Buddenhagen & Yánez 2005; Buddenhagen et al. 2004; Jäger 1999; Kastdalen 1982; Lawesson 1990; Macdonald et al. 1988; Mauchamp 1997; Tye 2000; and see more references below). It is also invasive in Hawaii on Maui and the Big Island [1].

It has been subject to control in the [Galapagos National Park][2] to reduce its impacts using a variety of methods (Buddenhagen et al. 2004), but controlling it over its total range on Santa Cruz island would cost several million US dollars according to research done through the Charles Darwin Foundation[3] (Buddenhagen and Yanez 2005).


Acosta Solis, M. 1945. Botánica de las Cinchonas. Pages 29-55 in M. Acosta Solis, editor. Flora. Instituto Ecuadoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito.

Acosta Solis, M. 1945. Habitat y distribución de las Cinchonas en el Ecuador. Pages 8-19 in M. Acosta Solis, editor. Flora. Instituto Ecuadoriano de Ciencias Naturales, Quito.

Buddenhagen, C., and P. Yánez. 2005. The cost of quinine Cinchona pubescens control on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Galapagos Research 63:32-36.

Buddenhagen, C. E., J. L. Rentería, M. Gardener, S. R. Wilkinson, M. Soria, P. Yánez, A. Tye, and R. Valle. 2004. The Control of a Highly Invasive Tree Cinchona pubescens in Galapagos. Weed Technology 18:1194-1202.

Cronk, Q. a. J. F. 1995. Plant Invaders: The threat to natural ecosystems. Chapman and Hall, London.

Gibbs, J. P., W. G. Shriver, and H. Vargas. 2003. An assessment of a Galapagos Rail population over thirteen years (1986 to 2000). Journal of Field Ornithology 74:136-140.

Jäger, H. 1999. Impact of the introduced tree Cinchona pubescens Vahl. on the native flora of the highlands of Santa Cruz Island (Galapagos Islands). Page 102. University of Oldenburg, Oldenburg.

Kastdalen, A. 1982. Changes in the biology of Santa Cruz 1935-1965. Noticias de Galapagos 35:7-12.

Kinyuy, W. C., D. Palevitch, and E. Putievsky. 1993. Through integrated biomedical\ethnomedical preparations and ethnotaxonomy, effective malaria and diabetic treatments have evolved. International symposium on medicinal and aromatic plants, Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee, Israel:205-214.

Lawesson, J. E. 1990. Alien plants in the Galapagos Islands, a summary. Pages 15-20 in J. E. Lawesson, O. Hamann, G. Rogers, G. Reck, and H. Ochoa, editors. Botanical research and management in Galapagos. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO.

Macdonald, I. A. W., L. Ortiz, J. E. Lawesson, and J. B. Nowak. 1988. The invasion of highlands in Galapagos by the red quinine-tree Cinchona succirubra. Environmental Conservation 15:215-220.

Mauchamp, A. 1997. Threats from alien plant species in the Galapagos Islands. Conservation Biology 11:260-263. Moll, E. J. 1998. A further report on the distributions of introduced plants on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. University of Queensland School of Natural and Rural Systems Management.

Prado, G. 1986. Censo de especies arboreas introducidas en la zona agricola de la Isla Santa Cruz. Charles Darwin Research Station, Puerto Ayora. Rentería, Jorge Luis; Rachel Atkinson, Ana Mireya Guerrero, Johanna Mader 2006. Manual de Identification y Manejo de Malezas en las Islas Galápagos. Segunda edición, Fundación Charles Darwin, Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador.

Rentería, J. L., and C. Buddenhagen. 2006. Invasive plants in the Scalesia pedunculata forest at Los Gemelos, Santa Cruz, Galapagos. Galapagos Research 64:31-35.

Sauer, J. D. 1988. Plant migration; The dynamics of geographic patterning in seed plant species. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Schmidt, S. K., and K. M. Scow. 1986. Mycorrhizal fungi on the Galapagos Islands. Biotropica 18:236-240.

Schofield, E. K. 1989. Effects of introduced plants and animals on island vegetation: Examples from the Galapagos archipelago. Conservation Biology 3:227-238.

Schofield, E. O. 1973. Galapagos flora: the threat of introduced plants. Biological Conservation 3:48-51.

Starr, F., Starr, K., and Loope, L. 2003. Cinchona pubescens. Report for the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project [ (HEAR).

Tuoc, L. T. 1983. Some thoughts on the control of introduced plants. Noticias de Galapagos 37:25-26.

Tuoc, L. T., and E. Potts. 1983. A preliminary study of the use of herbicides to eradicate Cinchona succirubra on Santa Cruz, Galapagos. Pages 15-16. Annual Report of the Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Tye, A. 2000. Invasive plant problems and requirements for weed risk assessment in the Galapagos Islands. Pages 153-175 in R. H. Groves, F. D. Panetta, and J. G. Virtue, editors. Weed Risk Assessment. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.

Utreras, M. 1983. Distribucion de la guayaba (Psidium guajava) y aplicacion de tres quimicos (herbicidas) para su control en la isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos. Estacion Cientifica Charles Darwin, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos.

van der Werff, H. 1979. Conservation and vegetation of the Galapagos Islands. Pages Chapter 20; 391-404 in D. Bramwell, editor. Plants and Islands. Academic Press, London and New York.

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