Common Name(s): Carrotwood
Non-Native to Florida
Introduction to Florida: 1968 (ornamental)2
Video ID segment (2-3 minutes / transcript below) | YouTube Link
This species appears on the following legally prohibited plant lists
|Federal Noxious Weed List||Florida Noxious Weed List||Florida Prohibited Aquatic Plants List|
UF-IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas
CATEGORY I on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s (FLEPPC) 2017 List of Invasive Plant Species
Download a recognition card (PDF) from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know3
Download a page (PDF) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition1
For control information, see Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242) by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker4
Cupaniopsis anacardioides is occasionally found in disturbed sites along the central peninsula of Florida, and in Miami-Dade county. It is native to Australia but escaped cultivation. Carrotwood blooms from spring to summer.
Slender evergreen tree, usually single-trunked, to 10 m (33 ft) tall, with dark gray outer bark and often orange inner bark.
Alternate, once compound (usually even-pinnate), with petioles swollen at the base; 4–12 leaflets, stalked, oblong, leathery, shiny yellowish green, to 20 cm (8 in) long and 7.5 cm (3 in) wide; margins entire and tips rounded or slightly indented.
Numerous, white to greenish yellow, up to 0.8 cm (0.4 in) wide, in branched clusters to 35 cm (14 in) long at leaf axils; 5 petals; 6–8 stamens.
A short-stalked, woody capsule, to 2.2 cm (0.9 in) across, with 3 distinctly ridged segments; yellow orange when ripe, drying to brown and splitting open to expose 3 shiny oval black seeds covered by a yellow-red crust (aril).
Invades spoil islands, beach dunes, marshes, tropical hammocks, pinelands, mangrove and cypress swamps, scrub habitats, and coastal strands; greatly altering understory habitat. FLEPPC Category I
NW, NE, C, SW, SE
For more information about carrotwood, download the following publications:
- UF/IFAS-EDIS, Cupaniopsis anacardiopsis Carrotwood, by E.F. Gilman and D.G. Watson.
- UF/IFAS-EDIS, Natural Area Weeds: Carrotwood, by K.A. Langeland.
Excerpted from Identification & Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas, by K.A. Langeland and K. Burks
Carrotwood – Cupaniopsis anacardioides
Hi, I’m Ken Langeland, Professor of Agronomy, at the University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. We’re here today, in Sarasota, Florida, to talk about the invasive tree, carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides). It’s an invasive tree in Florida. It occurs mainly in south central Florida and down through the southern part of the state. It was placed on the Florida Noxious Weed List in 1999, which makes it illegal to introduce, possess, transport, or sell in the state. Now let’s look at some of the details. Carrotwood is an evergreen tree that can be either single-trunk or multi-trunk. The outer bark is dark gray and smooth. The tree is called carrotwood because it often has orange-colored inner bark. Carrotwood leaves are compound and alternate; and usually even pinnate, but they can also be odd pinnate. The petioles (or leaf stalks) are swollen at the base. The compound leaves are made up of 4 to 12 stalked leaflets that are oblong, leathery, glossy, and yellowish-green. The leaves measure up to 8 inches long and 3 inches wide; and have smooth margins and tips that are rounded or slightly indented. Numerous white to greenish-yellow flowers occur in branched clusters of 14 inches long, from late January to March, depending on the weather. Fruit are the most striking identifying characteristic, being a short-stalked, woody capsule up to 1 inch across; with distinctly ridged segments that are yellow-orange when ripe, in April or May. The capsules split open to expose three shiny, oval, black seeds peeking out of a yellow-to-red fleshy sleeve that will later turn brown. One of the big problems with natural areas is that fish crows feed on the seeds and disperse them. They feed on the trees in urban areas; and then they come out and they roost on these coastal islands, and they carry seeds out here with them. These are the Edwards Islands, in Roberts Bay. This is actually one of the first places we found carrotwood escaping from cultivation and becoming invasive. Even though carrotwood was placed on the Florida Noxious Weed List, there are still numerous plants in landscapes and urban plantings. So to help protect natural areas, what we really need to do is learn how to identify this plant when we see it in our landscape; and remove it.
View the herbarium specimen image from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.
1. Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition,
by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 257. 2008.
2. Strangers in Paradise, Impact and Management of Nonindigenous Species in Florida, Chapter 2: Florida’s Invasion by Nonindigenous Plants: History, Screening, and Regulation, by D.R. Gordon and K.P. Thomas, pp. 21-37. Island Press, Washington, DC, 1997.
3. Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know – Recognition Cards,
by A. Richard and V. Ramey. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 431. 2007.
4. Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida, by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 242. 2011.