Seaside mahoe

Thespesia populnea -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Thespesia populnea

Non-Native to Florida

seaside mahoe

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CATEGORY I on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's (FLEPPC) 2013 List of Invasive Plant Species

Download a Recognition Card(PDF 888 KB)

Download a page (PDF 178 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)
by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker

Date of introduction to Florida: pre-1928 (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.)

    Appearance: Evergreen shrubby tree, commonly to 13 m (40 ft) tall, with young branches minutely brown-scaly.

    Leaves: Alternate, simple, with petioles 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long; blades entire, heart shaped (poplar-like), shiny dark green above, 5–20 cm (2–8 in) long, with usually 5 main veins from base.

    Flowers: Showy, hibiscus-like, single at upper leaf axils, to 8 cm (3 in) across; corolla yellow with a red center, turning maroon by nightfall; stamens united into a column shorter than petals.

    Fruit: A leathery, flattened globose, 5-parted capsule, 4 cm
    (1.5 in) wide, yellow turning black, persisting unopened for a time and bearing several brown hairy seeds.

    Text from Invasive and Non-Native Plants You Should Know, Recognition Cards, by A. Richard and V. Ramey, 2007. UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants, Publ. No. SP 431.


    Thespesia populnea is found growing in the coastal hammocks and beaches of the central and southern peninsula of Florida (Wunderlin, 2003). It is native to the Old and New World tropics but escaped from cultivation. Seaside mahoe usually occurs in non-wetlands (estimated probability 67%-99%), but occasionally found in wetlands (estimated probability 1%-33%).

    View more information and pictures about seaside mahoe, as contained in the Langeland/Burks book, Identification & Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas.

    See the UF/IFAS Assessment, which lists plants according to their invasive status in Florida.

    seaside mahoe View the herbarium specimen image of the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.