Terminalia catappa

tropical almond

Nonnative to FloridaFISC Category 2 Invasive

Species Overview

Native to: Southeast Asia to Australia, Madagascar

Tropical almond has been extensively introduced across the global tropics into littoral habitats, coastal forests, gardens and parks to be used as an ornamental, shade tree, and sand-dune stabilizer. It is a prolific seed producer and fruits may remain viable for a long time, even after floating in salt water for considerable time periods.

Species Characteristics

Family: Combretaceae

Habit: Deciduous tree to 35 m tall (usually to 15 m in Florida), bases often buttressed. Branches conspicuously whorled and horizontally tiered, spreading to 10 m.

Leaves: simple, alternate, broadly ovate, clustered at branch tips, to 30 cm long and 12 cm wide, glossy, stiff, glabrous or with a few hairs below, turning vivid red prior to leaf fall (usually at least one red leaf present). Lateral veins prominent, in 6-9 pairs. Margins entire, bases slightly heart shaped to wedge shaped with 2 glands at base, tip rounded or with a small pinched tip, petiole to 1.5 cm.

Flowers: slender, open, many-flowered spike, to 15 cm long, shorter than the leaves. Bisexual flowers on lower part of spike, male flowers above. Flowers tiny, greenish-white, petals lacking, 10-12 stamens, calyx lobes triangular, hairy below.

Fruit: firm, fleshy, almond-like drupe, ellipsoid, with distinct rigid wings, reddish yellow to dark purple when mature, to 8 cm long and 5 cm wide, 1-2 seeded.

Seeds: edible, to 4 cm long, cylindrical, encased in a fibrous husk.

Distribution in Florida: South


The seeds are dispersed via water and animals and plants are tolerant of saltwater and flooding. It invades coastal habitats, hammocks, and disturbed sites, displacing native vegetation and altering coastal dynamics.

Control Methods

Preventive Measures

Do not plant.


Replace in the landscape with native trees.


None known.


Cut stump: 50% Garlon 3A. Basal bark: 10% Garlon 4. Consult your local UF IFAS Extension for further assistance with management recommendations. Additional information can be found in the EDIS Publication Integrated Management of Non-Native Plants in Natural Areas of Florida.


Learn more about this species

UF IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas

Atlas of Florida Plants


USDA Plant Database

Invasive Species Compendium

View records and images from University of Florida Herbarium