Durban Early Detection and Rapid Response

Ant Tree Triplaris americana

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Common Name
Ant Tree
CARA Category 1

Originating from Central and South America, the Ant Tree belongs to the Polygonaceae family. This tree grows between 8-10m tall with a straight, smooth grey trunk with pyramidal crown. The leaves are poisonous and are bright green and smooth, or brownish-velvety beneath along the midrib and veins. Between April and May this tree produces small flowers in large clusters along densely greyish-yellow, light brown hairy axes. Female flowers are red and are found on separate trees to male flowers. Fruits are shiny and brown. Mass production of seeds allows for high rates of propagation.

Male flower
Female tree with flowers
Female tree with flowers
Why is it a problem?
It competes with, and has the potential to replace, indigenous species. The leaves are also poisonous.
Control method
The Ant Tree is typically controlled my means of mechanical removal. There are no herbicides registered for it and no biological control agents have been introduced.
Where is it a problem?

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