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CUPANIOPSIS anacardioides

Image of Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Carol Cloud Bailey

Family

Sapindaceae

Botanical Name

CUPANIOPSIS anacardioides

Plant Common Name

Carrotwood Tree

General Description

A widely adaptable evergreen tree, carrotwood produces copious amounts of orange-red fruits and seedlings. A spreading tree native to tropical northern Australia and New Guinea, it has become a noxious, invasive problem in regions such as Hawaii and the Florida peninsula.

The leaves are compound - made up of six to ten leathery, oval, green to yellow-green leaflets. If crushed, they smell like a fresh carrot, as do the branches. In spring, wiry clusters of tiny, white flowers appear and are pollinated by bees. The marble-sized, yellow-beige fruits split open to reveal bright orange to red seeds with a black spot. These colorful seeds are eaten and then dispersed by both birds and small mammals.

Carrotwood tree grows with ease in full sun to partial shade in all soil types and pH ranges. It handles saltspray, heat, drought and soggy conditions without faltering. Its production of seeds can be variable between plants, but in general is messy once the fruits drop. In Mediterranean climates it seems to be not as invasive as in tropical regions with sandy loams, ample humidity, warmth and cyclical rainy seasons.

Consult with local authorities regarding the use of carrotwood as a shade or street median tree. For more information about the invasive threat of this species, go to: http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=641&fr=1&sts=sss&lang=EN .

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 8

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    20'-35' / 6.1m - 10.7m

  • Width

    30'-45' / 9.1m - 13.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring

  • Native To

    Australia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Pollution, Drought, Salt, Soil Compaction

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Spreading

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Orange, Light Yellow, Orange Red, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Yellow Green

  • Bark Color

    Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Shade Trees, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Yes

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes