Tropical spiderwort (more appropriately called Benghal dayflower) poses a serious threat to crop production in the southern United States. Although tropical spiderwort has been present in the United States for more than seven decades, only recently has it become a pest in agricultural fields. Identified as an isolated weed problem in 1999, tropical spiderwort became the most troublesome weed in Georgia cotton by 2003. Contributing to the significance of tropical spiderwort as a troublesome weed is the lack of control afforded by most commonly used herbicides, especially glyphosate. Vegetative growth and flower production of tropical spiderwort were optimized between 30 and 35 C, but growth was sustained over a range of 20 to 40 C. These temperatures are common throughout much of the United States during summer months. At the very least, it appears that tropical spiderwort may be able to co-occur with cotton throughout the southeastern United States. The environmental limits of tropical spiderwort have not yet been determined. However, the rapid spread through Georgia and naturalization in North Carolina, coupled with its tolerance to current management strategies and aggressive growth habit, make tropical spiderwort a significant threat to agroecosystems in the southern United States.
Additional index words: Exotic invasive weed, federal noxious weed, Benghal dayflower.