Last week when I wrote about Norway Maple being one of my “most hated” invasive plants, I posted this question on twitter:
What’s your most-hated plant? Norway Maple tops my list. Tell me yours at: http://bit.ly/2Q2ih0 (@CB4wildlife)
And I got this response from @Gr8RedApe: Brazilian Pepper Tree. Listen to the frustration this plant causes:
@CB4wildlife It will.not.die. Have burned it, buried it, smothered it w/ oil, pulled out by roots (both it & my hair). Keeps comin’ back.
I am visiting Florida this week where Brazilian Pepper Tree is causing many problems in native ecosystems, so I’ve chosen this plant to top the “Most Hated Plant” list this week.
I’ve spent a lot of time in many different state parks in the area, and everyone agrees: this plant is definitely on the MOST HATED PLANT list. All the Rangers agree with @Gr8RedApe, you can burn it, pull it up by the roots, spray it, and still it keeps coming back.
It was introduced into this country in 1891 as an ornamental by the horticultural industry. This is one ornamental we could definitely do without!
Problems to the environment caused by Brazilian Pepper:
It invades hammocks, pinelands, and mangrove communities and outcompetes these native plants.
It is an extremely aggressive invader which is very difficult to eradicate.
The state of Florida is spending billions of dollars every year in an attempt to control/eradicate Brazilian Pepper.
The seeds are widely spread in the excrement of birds and mammals, and also by water. The tree produces a prolific crop of fruit which many birds consume and then spread wherever they have flown.
It produces a dense canopy which shades out all native plants.
This most hated plant can invade aquatic as well as terrestrial environments, making it doubly dangerous.
It sends up root suckers and new shoots when it is cut.
Brazilian Pepper is in the same family of plants as Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac and thus can cause extreme skin irritation and cannoot be burned.
Please do not ever plant this tree. Many birds, butterflies, and other wildlife are dependent on native plant communities for their very survival. This plant is wiping out these communities and causing severe environmental harm.
More From Ecosystem Gardening:
Pepper tree eradication
Brazilian pepper trees are definitely my most hated plant. I live in South Central Florida, where the species is very invasive and is taking over the woods all around my home. I have had great success in removing them from the lots all around my house by trimming them down to 6 inch stumps, and IMMEDIATELY painting the fresh stumps exposed surface with either glycophosphate (RoundUp) or tryclophyr (Bayer Brush Killer) concentrates. Works every time.