Durban Early Detection and Rapid Response

Clusia, pitch-apple Clusia rosea

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Common Name
Clusia, pitch-apple

Large evergreen shrub or tree from the Clusiaceae family. It is indigenous to southern Mexico and northern South America. It can grow 15 m tall, and up to 9 m across and has green leaves that are thick and leathery. Flowers are white or pink, and fruit are somewhat fleshy, globose capsules which are greenish brown. Seeds are dark red, thin, and fleshy.

Why is it a problem?
Prolific numbers of seeds are produced and bird dispersed. As a hemi-epiphyte, germination and growth can occur on rocks or other trees at the start of its life and resembles a strangling fig (Ficus sp.). Similar to strangler figs, it can overgrow its host tree by sending down many aerial roots, and eventually killing the host tree.
Control method
Chemical, via a cut-stump or basal bark method.
Where is it a problem?
Becoming naturalized in low elevation, disturbed areas in Hawai‘i. In South Africa, populations are known from the KZN South Coast and Kloof.

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