In the picture above carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) grows from inside a very thick variegated arbicola (Schefflera arboricola ‘Trinette’) hedge, demonstrating its invasiveness. This plant continues to “volunteer” at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area and other natural areas, even though it was added to the Florida Noxious Weed List in 1999, prohibiting its propagation and sale.
A plant of Australia origin, carrotwood was brought to Florida in the 1960’s. By 1990, it was invading coastal areas the Everglades and spoil islands in the Indian River Lagoon beneath the canopy of Australian pine (Casuarina sp.) and Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolia).
Growers loved carrotwood because it was so easy to propagate and so fast-growing, becoming a cheap and easy to sell shade tree. Carrotwood flowers in the late winter and produces co;pious amounts of yellow fruits in the early spring that are spread by crows and other birds.
As with many fast-growing exotic trees, many carrotwood have succumbed to hurricanes or strong winds. Still carrotwood trees continue to show up everywhere from natural areas to ornamental plantings. Check your yard and shrubs for seedlings to remove!