Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Triadica sebifera
(L.) Small, Euphorbiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results: 

High risk, score: 14 (Go to the risk assessment (Pacific))
Reject, score: 18 (Go to the risk assessment (U.S. (Florida)))

Other Latin names:  Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb.

Common name(s): [more details]

Chinese: wu jiu

English: candleberry tree, chicken tree, Chinese tallow tree, Florida aspen, popcorn tree, tallowtree, vegetable tallow, white wax berry

French: arbre à suif, boiré

Spanish: árbol del sebo

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Recognized by leaf blades as wide as long or nearly so, a pair of glands on upper side of juncture of petiole and blade.  Trees to 17 m tall by 97 cm diameter, rapid-growing, often forming thickets.  Twigs glabrous, slender, brittle; sap milky and poisonous.  Leaf tips acuminate; leaves turning yellow to red in autumn.  Flowers tiny, unisexual, in slender spikes to 10 cm long, male flowers toward the end, a few female flowers near the base.  Fruits capsules, 10-18 mm across, slightly 3-lobed, the outer part splitting and falling off, leaving attached the 3 elliptical white waxy seeds"  (Duncan & Duncan, 1988; p. 252).

Habitat/ecology:  "Wet forests and grassland, freshwater wetlands, riparian habitats.  This fast growing and salt tolerant tree spreads rapidly and transforms native wetland prairies into woodland dominated by this species.  Once established, it forms pure stands that exclude almost all other plants and affect wildlife by reducing food sources.  Extensive stands alter nutrient cycling and the species composition of decomposers due to a rapid leaf decay.  Such stands reduce fuel loads in invaded areas and prevent the spread of fires.  Seedlings are able to establish in a wide range of environmental conditions including closed-canopy forests'  (Weber, 2003; p. 438).  "Planted as an ornamental, but easily spreading, often becoming weedy" (Duncan & Duncan, 1988; p. 252).  Also planted for its oil.  "Tallow tree typically grows in wetlands, swamps and bottomland forests, readily out-competing native hardwoods"  (Randall & Marinelli, 1996).

Propagation:  "The tree is a prolific seed producer and seeds are mainly dispersed by birds and water.  The tree suckers from roots and resprouts vigorously if damaged"  (Weber, 2003; p. 438).

Native range:  China.

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (pp. 140-141)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands introduced
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral/Imada, Clyde T. (2000) (p. 21)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
China (People's Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
China
China
Hong Kong native
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 187)
As Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb. In thin forests.
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) native
Cronk, Q. C. B./Fuller, J. L. (2001) (p. 194)
Japan
Japan
Japan (country) introduced
Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro (2004) (p. 186)
As Sapium sebiferum Roxb.
Taiwan
Taiwan Island
Taiwan Island uncertain if native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
Also reported from
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
United States (other states) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
invasive
Cronk, Q. C. B./Fuller, J. L. (2001) (p. 194)
United States (continental except west coast)
United States (other states)
USA (Florida) introduced
U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. (2013)

Comments:  Listed as a noxious weed in Florida and Louisiana (U.S.). Planting of this species is prohibited in Miami-Dade County, Florida (U.S.) (Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning, 2010).

Control:  Control information from the Bugwood Wiki.

Physical: Hand-pull seedlings. Cutting trees older than one year leads to root and stump suckering.

Chemical:  "Mature trees should be treated with a triclopyr herbicide applied to the base of the tree.  Follow-up programmes are necessary to treat regrowth and seedlings"  (Weber, 2003; p. 438).

Additional information:
Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, University of Florida.
Information from the Bugwood Wiki.
Information from the Purdue University NewCROP web site.
NRCS Plant Guide.
Information from the Global Invasive Species Database.
Information from the publication "Nonnative invasive plants of Southern forests: A field guide for identification and control".
Information from the Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual.
Information from the book "Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas" (PDF format).
Species profile from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Invasive Species Information Center.

Additional online information about Triadica sebifera is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Triadica sebifera as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Triadica sebifera may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Cronk, Q. C. B./Fuller, J. L. 2001. Plant invaders. Earthscan Publications, Ltd., London. 241 pp.

Florence, J. 1997. Flore de la Polynésie française, Vol. 1. Paris. Editions de l'Orstom, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération, Collection Faune et Flore Tropicales 34. 393 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Kato, Hidetoshi. 2007. Herbarium records of Makino Herbarium, Tokyo Metropolitan University. Personal communication.

Langeland, K. A./Burks, K. Craddock. eds. 1998. Identification and biology of non-native plants in Florida's natural areas. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida. 165 pp.

Miami-Dade County Dept. of Planning and Zoning. 2010. The landscape manual. Draft ninth edition, August 2010. 249 pp.

Mito, Toshikazu/Uesugi, Tetsuro. 2004. Invasive alien species in Japan: the status quo and the new regulation for prevention of their adverse effects. Global Environmental Research 8(2)/2004: 171-191.

Randall, J. M./Marinelli, J. (eds.). 1996. Invasive plants: weeds of the global garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden Handbook 149. 111 pp.

Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral/Imada, Clyde T. 2000. Survey of invasive or potentially invasive cultivated plants in Hawai‘i. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers No. 65. 35 pp.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Nat. Res. Cons. Serv. 2013. The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.

Weber, Ewald. 2003. Invasive plants of the World. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, UK. 548 pp.

Wu, Te-lin. 2001. Check List of Hong Kong Plants. Hong Kong Herbarium and the South China Institute of Botany. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department Bulletin 1 (revised). 384 pp.

Zhengyi, Wu/Raven, Peter H./Deyuan, Hong. 2013. Flora of China (online resource).


Need more info? Have questions? Comments? Information to contribute? Contact PIER! (pier@hear.org)

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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 4 JUL 2012.