Cupaniopsis anacardioides


Nonnative to FloridaFlorida Noxious Weed ListFISC Category 1 Invasive

Species Overview

Native to: Australia, New Guinea

Carrotwood was introduced into Florida as early as the 1960s for use as an ornamental tree. It has since escaped cultivation as its seeds are readily dispersed by birds. Carrotwood invades natural areas, forming dense monocultures, crowding out and out-competing native plants for available light and nutrients.

Species Characteristics

  • Family: Sapindaceae
  • Habit: slender evergreen tree, usually single-trunked, to 10 m (33 ft) tall, with dark gray outer bark and often orange inner bark
  • Leaves: Alternate, once compound (usually even-pinnate), with petioles swollen at the base; 4–12 leaflets, stalked, oblong, leathery, shiny yellowish green
  • Flowers: numerous, white to greenish yellow, in branched clusters to 35 cm (14 in) long at leaf axils; 5 petals; 6–8 stamens; blooms from spring to summer
  • Fruit: short-stalked, woody capsule, to 2.2 cm (0.9 in) across, with 3 distinctly ridged segments; yellow orange when ripe, drying to brown and splitting open to expose seeds
  • Seeds: 3 shiny oval black seeds covered by a yellow-red crust (aril)
  • Distribution in Florida: central and south


Carrotwood invades spoil islands, beach dunes, marshes, tropical hammocks, pinelands, mangrove and cypress swamps, scrub habitats and coastal strands, where it greatly alters understory habitat. Carrotwood is a prolific seed producer and the brightly colored fruits are very attractive to birds which disperse it widely.

Carrotwood is not recommended by UF/IFAS. It is a prohibited plant according to the FDACS Florida Noxious Weed IndexThe UF/IFAS Assessment lists carrotwood as prohibited in all parts of the state. It is listed by FLEPPC as a Category l invasive species due to its ability to invade and displace native plant communities.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Regular monitoring and removal of plants can prevent the spread and establishment of carrotwood. Programs to educate homeowners on proper plant identification will also reduce the spread of this species. Plant native alternatives including paradise tree (Simarouba glauca), pigeon plum (Coccoloba diversifolia) and Florida Cupania (Cupania glabra).



Remove seed pods if possible and pull seedlings. Hand-pulling and removal of entire plants, particularly the roots, is practical for small infestations.


Cut and remove existing trees and seedlings.


There are no known biological control agents for carrotwood.

  • Cut stump: 10–50% Garlon 3A or 100% glyphosate product
  • Basal bark: 10–20% Garlon 4 or 100% Pathfinder II. Frill or girdle: 10–20% Garlon 4

*Note label restrictions with respect to high-tide mark and use extra caution near mangroves

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