On this page - Australian Pine, Bowstring Hemp, Caesarweed, Lead Tree, Rattle Box, Sea Hibiscus, Natal Plum, Strawberry Guava, Two-leafed Nightshade, Papaya
Bowstring Hemp - Sansevieria hyacinthoides
Family - Agavaceae
Native to Africa. Perennial herbaceous category 2 plant with
waxy, mottled leaves. Height to about 3 feet. Dry to moist sites, primarily on and
around old home sites. This plant is one of over fifty species of
Sansevieria,forms large dense patches spreading from rhizomes. Native to
Africa. As the name implies fibers from the leaves have been and are
used to make string and rope.
Caesarweed - Urena lobata
Family - Malvaceae, (Hibiscus family)
Description - Perennial shrub. Height to 10 feet, small pink flower, many seeds
with tiny hooks are produced on a burr and "hitch-hike" a ride on any animal
passing through, dispersing seeds along the animals route. Widespread in various
Florida habitats, this invasive exotic plant forms scattered dense thickets in
the wild, crowding out native plants.
Lead Tree - Leucaena leucocephal
Family - Fabaceae
Habitat - West Indies, escapes from cultivation.
Description - Shrub or small tree to about 30 feet. Leaves alternate, bipinnately compound up to a foot long, each
with 10 - 20 pairs of opposite, oblong leaflets.
Flower - Clusters of white/creamy white puffball, 3/4 inch in diameter.
Fruit is a flattened reddish-brown or brown pod.
Rattle Box, Spanish Gold - Sesbania punicea
Family - Fabaceae
Description - Small tree reaching 6-8 feet often forming dense thickets. Leaf is
alternate, compound, 5-7 inches long with 7-16 pairs of 1 inch
Flower- Orange-red pea-like flowers in hanging clusters spring through early summer.
Fruit is a brown legume ending in a sharp point, 3 to 4 inches long
with 4 conspicuous longitudinal wings.
Sea Hibiscus, Seaside Mahoe - Hibiscus tiliaceus
Family - Malvaceae
Habitat - Ruderal, coastal areas, roadsides
Description - Not native, category 2 exotic plant. Large shrub, small tree to 25 feet in height with a
spreading habit of growth. Leaves are alternate, broadly cordate with pubescent
Flower - Hibiscus type flower,
yellow at opening, turning reddish-orange by days end.
Natal Plum - Carissa macrocarpa
Family - Apocynaceae
Habitat - Escapes from cultivation, dry sandy soils
Description - Introduced shrub to 20 feet tall is widely cultivated, several hybrids
produced. Dark green leaves are 2-3 inches long, opposite, ovate and have a
glossy upper surface. Branches have 'Y' shaped spines to 3 inches long.
Flower - Fragrant 2 inch white flowers have 5 overlapped petals with a waxy look. Fruit is a red berry about 2 inches long.
Strawberry Guava - Psidium cattleianum
Family - Myrtaceae
Habitat - Escapes from cultivation into wet areas.
Description - Category I invasive plant. Small tree or large shrub to 25 feet tall, grey to reddish-brown
peeling bark, leaves are opposite with entire margins, elliptic to oblong shaped
to 3 inches long.
Flower - Single white flowers produced from leaf axils, are just over 1 inch wide with many white and yellow
stamens. Fruit is a purplish-red globose berry to about 2 1/2 inches long containing many seeds.
Two-leafed Nightshade - Solanum diphyllum
Family - Solanaceae
Habitat - Ruderal, escapes from cultivation. Rare
Description - Category 2 exotic plant. Up to 6 feet in height,
leaves in pairs with 1 leaf larger, deep green, smooth, 1-3 inches long
Flower - Clusters of white flowers with yellow antlers - similar to the Black Nightshade plant, fruit is a 1/2 inch round, hard berry, yellow to orange in color.
Papaya - Carica papaya
Family - Caricaceae
Description - Introduced. Erect, un-branched soft trunk 6-20 feet (average 10') with umbrella like
canopy of deeply palmate 7 lobed leaves borne on 24" long
petioles. Bark is green to light brown.
Flower- Yellow, trumpet shaped, 2 inches. Fruit 3 1/2 inch, round to pear
Habitat - Hammocks, shell mounds, primarily near the coast.
Australian Pine - Casuarina cristata
Family - Casuarinaceae
Description - Introduced to Florida in the 1800's the Australian pine is listed as a category 1 invasive plant and is illegal to plant in many parts of Florida.
Widely used as a landscape tree it is now a common sight in south Florida, particularly on beach dunes and the shorelines of brackish and fresh waterways. Australian pine is not a pine at all and the "needles" are actually segmented branchlets - the leaves are very tiny, scale-like and are produced in whorls at the joints of these branchlets. Forms dense monocultures crowding out native plants, like some other exotic plants it also produces allelopathic compounds which prevent other plants from growing.