Non-Native to Florida
Download a page (PDF 163 KB) from 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 Pub SP 257. 2008.
For control information, see Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (SP 242)
This species is listed on the Florida Noxious Weed List – Rule 5B-57.007, making it “. . . unlawful to introduce, multiply, possess, move, or release . . . except under permit issued by the department . . . .” See 5B-57.004 for more information.
Date of introduction to Florida: pre-1933 (ornamental)
(from 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.)
Colubrina asiatica is frequently found growing in coastal hammocks and beaches from Martin county to the southern peninsula of Florida. Latherleaf is native to the Old World but escaped from cultivation. It blooms all year (Wunderlin 2003).
Appearance: Glabrous, evergreen, scrambling shrub with diffuse, slender branches to 5 m (16 ft) long; in older plants, stems to 15 m (49 ft) long.
Leaves: Alternate, with slender petioles to 2 cm (0.75 in) long; blades oval, shiny dark green above, 4–9 cm (1.6–3.5 in) long and 2.5–5 cm (1–2 in) wide, with toothed margins and producing a thin lather when crushed and rubbed in water.
Flowers: Small, greenish white, in short branched few-flowered clusters at leaf axils; each with a nectar disc, 5 sepals, 5 hooded petals, and 5 stamens.
Fruit: A globose capsule, green and fleshy at first and turning brown upon drying, about 8 mm (0.33 in) wide, with 3 grayish seeds.
Ecological threat: Forms a thick mat, growing over and shading out native vegetation. Invades marly coastal ridges, tropical hammocks, buttonwood and mangrove forests, tidal marshes and disturbed coastal roadsides. Threatens a number of rare, listed native plant species. FLEPPC Category I
Distribution: SW, SE
Text from Invasive and Non-Native Plants You Should Know, Recognition Cards, 2007. UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Publ. No. SP 431.
Read the Colubrina asiatica (Lather Leaf) Management Plan: Colubrina Task Force by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.
View the UF/IFAS Assessment, which lists plants according to their invasive status in Florida.