On this page - Cogongrass, Elephant grass,Schefflera, Climbing Cassia, Turk's Turban, Castor bean, Downy Rose Myrtle, Silky Sesban, Turkscap Mallow, Javanese Glorybower
Cogongrass - Imperata cylindrica
Category 1 Invasive plant
Family - Poaceae (Grasses)
Description - Perennial. Considered one of the worst top ten weeds worldwide, this plant
reproduces by rhizomes as well as seed. Cogongrass is usually 2 to 4 feet in height, a white off center mid-vein on its leaves helps to distinguish this species from other grasses. Flowers year-round in South Florida. Originally from Southeast Asia, China & Japan. Cogongrass invades most types of Florida habitats from the upland forest to wetlands, forming dense
mats of thatch that crowd out native plants.
Description - Category 1 invasive plant, native to Africa. Elephant grass grows
up to 16 feet high with stems to 3/4 inch diameter. Leaves are 12- 16 inches long with sharp finely serrated
margins. Stems are hirsute (hairy) and yellow to purplish in color. Elephant
grass spreads primarily by rhizomes forming dense thickets, flowers in late summer & fall.
Schefflera, Umbrella tree - Schefflera actinophylla
Description - Introduced category 1 invasive species to 40 feet tall with single or multiple
greenish trunks. Leaves are palmately compound with 7-16 oblanceolate
leaflets which are alternately arranged & shiny green on long petioles (leaf
stems). Schefflera has red flowers in summer and
fall that are on large inflorescence at the stem tips. Produces large numbers of seeds which
are then spread by birds. Seedlings can sometimes be seen growing in the "boots" of
our native Sabal palm fronds.
Description - Category 1 invasive plant. Sprawling shrub to 13 feet tall, leaves
alternate, pinnately compound with 3 -6 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are oblong,
up to 1 1/2 inches long with largest at tip. Flowers are yellow to
greenish-yellow to 1 1/2 inches or slightly more across with curved stamens,
produced on racemes near tips of branch in late fall to early winter. Fruit is a
brown smooth pod to 5 inches or more long containing numerous seeds.
Turk's Turban - Clerodendrum indicum L.
Family - Lamiaceae
Habitat - Ruderal
Description - Introduced exotic plant, native to the Malay Archipelago. Semi-woody perennial shrub or
annual in colder regions. Long, hollow stems are mostly un-branched & 6-9 feet
long. Leaves are 4 - 6 inches long, arranged in whorls, elliptic in shape with entire, wavy
margins. Numerous white flowers on large inflorescence from late summer into
Javanese Glorybower - Clerodendrum speciosissimum
Family - Lamiaceae
Description - Introduced, invasive - native to Indonesia, Java. Long used as
landscape plant in Florida where it escapes from cultivation. Perennial shrub,
5-12 feet tall with large "fuzzy"cordate leaves up to 12 inches long. Produces
clusters of red-orange flowers from spring through fall. Fruit is a 4 lobed
fleshy dark blue to black berry, dispersed by birds. Spreads by suckering from
Castor bean - Ricinus communis
Family - Euphorbiaceae
Habitat - Disturbed areas
Description - Introduced non-native plant, Castor bean has been cultivated for thousands of
years and is believed to have originated in tropical Africa. Grows as a shrub or
small tree and may be an annual or
perennial depending on the local climate. the Castor bean plant is capable of attaining a height of 40+ feet in a
tropical climate though it's more common in the 10 - 20 foot range in much of
Large palmate leaves to nearly 24 inches wide with 6 or more lobes,
margins toothed. Stems are herbaceous except on larger specimens the
base of the main stem may become woody. The leaves & stems of Castor
bean may be green, red or purple. Flowers are produced on an
inflorescence in warm months followed by spiny capsules containing
the seeds. All parts of the castor bean plant are poisonous, with
the seeds being the most toxic.
Downy Rose Myrtle - Rhodomyrtus tomentosa
Family - Myrtaceae
Habitat - Pinelands & flatwoods, margins of lakes, marshes
Description - Invasive exotic perennial shrub, native to Asia. Grows from 6-12 feet tall.
Introduced to Florida in the 1920s as an ornamental landscape plant. Rose myrtle produces 1-2 inch wide rose colored
flowers in the spring from leaf axils. Leaves are simple, oppositely arranged,
elliptic in shape with entire margins to about 3 inches long. Fruit is a purple globose berry 1/2 in. in
diameter. Birds & mammals eat the fruit & disperse seeds. Forms dense thickets, crowding out
Silky Sesban - Sesbania sericea
Family - Fabaceae
Habitat - Margins of fresh water marshes, ponds, lakes, river
and creek banks, other moist sites.
Description - Introduced annual or perennial shrub, subshrub,
height 6 feet. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, leaflets
have pointed tips.
Flower- Yellow to orange, 1-1/2 inch. Fruit is a long, thin seed pod, 6 in. or more.
Turkscap Mallow - Malvaviscus penduliflorus
Family - Malvaceae
Habitat - Ruderal, Old home sites, roadsides
Description - Not native, introduced from South America. Shrub to 10 feet tall, variable leaf forms alternately
arranged. Leaves may be oval, cordate or lobed, hirsute or glabrous. Margins
dentate or smooth, yellowish green to deep green in color.
Habit of growth can become vine like, especially when growing in shade.
Flower - Pendent or semi-erect red tubular flower that never opens fully, protruding stamen.