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Publication #ENH1222

Alternatives to Invasive Plants Commonly Found in South Florida Landscapes1

Gary W. Knox, Sandra B. Wilson, Zhanao Deng, and Rosanna Freyre2

Invasive plants are non-native plants that form expanding populations in natural areas and other plant communities with which they were not previously associated (Langeland 1998, rev. 2012). Invasive plants can cause ecological impacts such as displacing native plants and associated wildlife or altering natural water flow and fire patterns.

Some ornamentals listed as invasive by the University of Florida IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas or by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council are still in commercial production and widely found in Florida landscapes. Homeowners might replace invasive plants if non-invasive alternatives are researched, publicized and made readily available. By shifting production and use from invasive ornamentals to native or non-invasive cultivars, the nursery and landscape industry could benefit from potential revenue while fostering greater collaboration with state agencies and environmental groups.

University of Florida research and Extension efforts over the last 10 years have focused on identifying non-invasive alternatives by assessing the invasive traits of popular non-native ornamentals, related genera, and their cultivars. In more recent years, University of Florida breeding efforts have focused on producing and trialing new non-invasive cultivars. Table 1 lists alternatives (both native and non-invasive, non-native ornamentals) to invasive plants commonly used in Florida landscapes. Only plants considered to be generally available in the nursery trade are listed. Alternative plants are similar to respective invasive plants as much as possible in terms of size, habit, texture, and flower color. Non-native, non-invasive plants in Table 1 were determined to be non-invasive by the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas (IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group 2008) or have not yet been evaluated.

References

Fox, A. M., D. R. Gordon, J. A. Dusky, L. Tyson, and R. K. Stocker. 2009. IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas: Status Assessment. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment/pdfs/Final_PDF_SS-AGR-225_04.30.09.pdf

Fox, A. M., D. R. Gordon, C. Gantz, G. W. Knox, and S. B. Wilson. 2007. IFAS Assessment: Infraspecific Taxon Protocol. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment/infraspecific_taxon_protocol.html.

IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group. 2008. IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment/.

Langeland, K. A. 1998, rev. 2012. “Help protect Florida's natural areas from non-native invasive plants.” Circular1204. Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. February 1998. Revised May 2012. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ag108

Wilson, S. B., J. A. Gersony, K. L. Nolan, J. C. Broda, and E. A. Skvarch, Jr. 2013. “Recommended Native Landscape Plants for Florida's Treasure Coast.” ENH1082. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. March 2013. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep348

Tables

Table 1. 

Invasive ornamentals commonly found in south Florida landscapes and commonly available native and non-native, non-invasive substitutes.

Invasive ornamentalz

 

Scientific Name

Common Name

Native substitute

Non-native, non-invasive substitutez

Ardisia crenata

Coral ardisia

Ardisia escallonioides, Marlberry

Callicarpa americana, American beautyberry

Chrysobalanus icaco, Coco plum

Citharexylum spinosum, Fiddlewood

Hamelia patens, Firebush

Ilex vomitoria, Yaupon holly

Myrsine cubana, Myrsine

Psychotria ligustrifolia, Bahama wild coffee

Psychotria nervosa, Wild coffee

Viburnum obovatum, Walter's viburnum

Acalypha wilkesiana, Copperleaf

Bauhinia

variegata

Orchid tree

Acacia choriophylla, Cinnecord

Acacia farnesiana, Sweet acacia

Bourreria succulenta, Bahama strongbark

Canella winterana, Cinnamon bark

Capparis cynophallophora (syn. Cynophalla flexuosa, syn. Capparis flexuosa), Jamaican caper

Erythrina herbacea, Coralbean

Guaiacum sanctum, Lignumvitae

Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson’s stopper

Piscidia piscipula, Jamaican dogwood

Bauhinia ×blakeana, Hong Kong orchid tree

Cassia afrofistula, Dwarf golden shower

Cassia fistula, Golden shower

Clerodendrum quadriloculare, Starburst clerodendrum

Cordia boissieri, White cordia, Mexican olive

Dombeya ×seminole, Seminole dombeya, Tropical rose hydrangea

Gardenia thunbergia, Wild gardenia

Hamelia cuprea, West-Indian firebush, Bahama firebush

Tabermaemontana divaricata, Crepe jasmine

Tibouchina granulosa, Purple glory tree

Bischofia javanica

Bishopwood

Juniperus silicicola, Southern red cedar

Pinus elliottii var. densa, Slash pine

Taxodium distichum, Bald cypress

Juniperus chinensis 'Torulosa', Torulosa juniper

Platycladus orientalis, Oriental arborvitae

Podocarpus macrophyllus, Podocarpus, Japanese yew

Casuarina equisetifolia

Australian pine

Juniperus silicicola, Southern red cedar

Pinus elliottii var. densa, Slash pine

Taxodium distichum, Bald cypress

Juniperus chinensis 'Torulosa', Torulosa juniper

Platycladus orientalis, Oriental arborvitae

Podocarpus macrophyllus, Podocarpus, Japanese yew

Colocasia esculenta

Elephant ear

Acrostichum danaeifolium, Giant leather fern

Crinum americanum, Seven-sisters, String-lily

Hymenocallis latifolia, Mangrove spiderlily

Cordyline fruticosa, Ti plant

Crinum asiaticum, Grand crinum lily

Monstera deliciosa, Monstera

Philodendron bipinnatifidum, Selloum philodendron

Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Carrotwood

Conocarpus erectus, Buttonwood

Piscidia piscipula, Jamaican dogwood

Sapindus saponaria, Soapberry

Simarouba glauca, Paradise tree

Ficus rubiginosa, Rusty fig

Peltophorum dubium, Yellow poinciana

Terminalia bucerasy (syn. Bucida buceras), Black olive

Dioscorea bulbifera

Air-potato

Campsis radicans, Trumpet creeper

Jacquemontia pentanthos, Key West morning glory, Skyblue clustervine

Lonicera sempervirens, Coral honeysuckle

Aristolochia littoralis, Calico flower

See Flowering Vines for Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg097) for additional vines

Eugenia uniflora

Surinam Cherry

Ardisia escallonioides, Marlberry

Bourreria succulenta, Bahama strongbark

Calyptranthes pallens, Spicewood

Citharexylum spinosum, Fiddlewood

Forestiera segregata, Florida swampprivet

Guaiacum sanctum, Lignumvitae

Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson’s stopper

Myrsine cubana, Myrsine

Psychotria nervosa, Wild coffee

Myrciaria cauliflora, Jaboticaba

Pittosporum tobira, Pittosporum

Hibiscus tiliaceus (syn. Talipariti tiliaceum)

Sea hibiscus, Mahoe

Bursera simaruba, Gumbo limbo

Clusia rosea, Pitchapple

Piscidia piscipula, Jamaican dogwood

Cassia fistula, Golden shower

Cassia javanica, Apple blossom

Ficus elastica, Rubber tree

Ficus lyrata, Fiddleleaf fig

Jasminum dichotomum

Gold coast jasmine

Ernodea littoralis, Beach creeper

Hymenocallis latifolia, Mangrove spiderlily, Perfurmed spiderlily

Mimosa strigillosa, Powderpuff

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Blue porterweed

Jasminum laurifolium var. laurifolium (syn. J. nitidum), Shining Jasmine, Star jasmine

Jasminum multiflorum, Downy jasmine

Solandra grandiflora, Showy chalicevine, Solandra

Lantana camara

Lantana

Byrsonima lucida, Locustberry

Cordia globosa, Butterfly sage, Curacao bush

Hamelia patens, Firebush

Lantana involucrata, Wild sage

Lycium carolinianum, Christmasberry

Salvia coccinea, Tropical sage

Senna ligustrina (syn. Cassia bahamensis), Bahama cassia

Sophora tomentosa var. truncata, Yellow necklacepod

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Blue porterweed

Viburnum obovatum, Walter's viburnum

Lagerstroemia spp., Crapemyrtle (dwarf forms)

Lantana camara T2x, T2 lantana (sterile)

Lantana camara T3x, T3 lantana (sterile)

Lantana camara T4x, T4 lantana (sterile)

Lantana camara T9x, T9 lantana (sterile)

Lantana montevidensis, Trailing lantana

Rosa spp., Rose

Lonicera japonica

Japanese honeysuckle

Campsis radicans, Trumpet creeper

Lonicera sempervirens, Coral honeysuckle

Symphyotrichum carolinianum (syn. Aster carolinianus), Climbing aster

Trachelosperumum jasminoides, Confederate jasmine

See Flowering Vines for Florida (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg097) for additional vines

Melaleuca quinquenervia

Melaleuca

Annona glabra, Pond apple

Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus, Silver buttonwood

Conocarpus erectus, Buttonwood

Magnolia virginiana, Sweet bay

Simarouba glauca, Paradisetree

Callistemon rigidus, Erect bottlebrush

Callistemon viminalis, Weeping bottlebrush

Podocarpus macrophyllus, Podocarpus, Japanese yew

Psidium cattleyanum

Strawberry guava, Cattley guava

Acacia choriophylla, Cinnecord

Annona glabra, Pond apple

Bourreria succulenta, Bahama strongbark

Calyptranthes pallens, Spicewood

Canella winterana, Cinnamon bark

Capparis cynophallophora (syn. Cynophalla flexuosa, syn. Capparis flexuosa), Jamaican Caper

Citharexylum spinosum, Florida fiddlewood

Coccoloba diversifolia, Pigeon plum

Erythrina herbacea, Coralbean

Guaiacum sanctum, Lignumvitae

Guapira discolor, Blolly

Ilex cassine, Dahoon holly

Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson’s stopper

Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis, Elderberry

Simarouba glauca, Paradisetree

Lagerstroemia spp., Crapemyrtle

Macadamia integrifolia, Macadamia nut

Noronhia emarginata, Madagascar olive

Pimenta dioica, Allspice tree

Pimenta racemosa, Bay rum tree

Ruellia simplex (syn. R. brittoniana)

Mexican petunia

Crinum americanum, Seven-sisters, String-lily

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Blue porterweed

Bougainvillea 'Helen Johnson', 'Helen Johnson' dwarf bougainvillea

Ixora coccinea, Flame of the woods

Ruellia simplex 'Mayan Purple' x, "Mayan Purple' Mexican petunia

Ruellia simplex 'Mayan White' x, 'Mayan White' Mexican petunia

Russelia equisetiformis, Firecracker plant

Sapium sebiferum

Chinese tallow tree, Popcorn tree

Acer rubrum, Red maple

Bourreria succulenta, Bahama strongbark

Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus, Silver buttonwood

Conocarpus erectus, Buttonwood

Guapira discolor, Blolly

Liquidambar styraciflua, Sweetgum

Platanus occidentalis, Sycamore

Sapindus saponaria, Soapberry

Simarouba glauca, Paradisetree

Jacaranda mimosifolia, Jacaranda

Lagerstroemia spp., Crapemyrtle

Peltophorum dubium, Yellow Poinciana

Scaevola taccada var. sericea

Beach naupaka

Argusia gnaphalodes, Sea lavender

Chrysobalanus icaco 'Horizontal', 'Horizontal' Coco plum

Genipa clusiifolia, Sevenyear apple

Scaevola plumieri, Inkberry

Sophora tomentosa var. truncata, Yellow necklacepod

Suriana maritima, Bay cedar

Yucca aloifolia, Spanish bayonet

Carissa macrocarpa, Dwarf natal plum, Carissa

Pittosporum tobira, Pittosporum

Schefflera actinophylla

Schefflera, Umbrella tree

Canella winterana, Cinnamon Bark

Guapira discolor, Blolly

Simarouba glauca, Paradisetree

Beaucarnea recurvata, Ponytail palm

Pandanus utilis, Screw pine

Ravenala madagascariensis, Travelers palm

Strelitzia nicolai, White bird of paradise

Schinus terebinthifolius

Brazilian pepper

Ardisia escallonioides, Marlberry

Calyptranthes pallens, Spicewood

Citharexylum spinosum, Fiddlewood

Erythrina herbacea, Coralbean

Forestiera segregata, Florida swampprivet

Hamelia patens, Firebush

Ilex cassine, Dahoon holly

Ilex vomitoria, Yaupon holly

Myrcianthes fragrans, Simpson’s stopper

Myrica cerifera, Wax myrtle

Myrsine cubana, Myrsine

Psychotria nervosa, Wild coffee

Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis, Elderberry

Tetrazygia bicolor, Florida tetrazygia

Viburnum obovatum, Walter's viburnum

Viburnum odoratissimum, Sweet viburnum

Viburnum odoratissimum var. awabuki, Awabuki viburnum

Viburnum suspensum, Sandankwa viburnum

Senna pendula var. glabrata

Christmas senna, Climbing cassia

Guaiacum sanctum, Lignumvitae

Sambucus nigra subsp. canadensis, Elderberry

Senna ligustrina (syn. Cassia bahamensis), Bahama cassia

Senna mexicana var. chapmanii, Chapman’s senna

Sophora tomentosa var. truncata, Yellow necklacepod

Senna polyphylla, Desert cassia

Senna surattensis, Glaucous cassia

Tabermaemontana divaricata, Crepe jasmine

Sphagneticola trilobata

(Wedelia trilobata)

Wedelia

Ernodea littoralis, Beach creeper

Helianthus debilis, Dune sunflower

Hymenocallis latifolia, Mangrove spiderlily, Perfumed spiderlily

Mimosa strigillosa, Powderpuff

Stachytarpheta jamaicensis, Blue porterweed

Zamia pumila, Coontie

Arachis glabrata, Rhizoma perennial peanut

Bougainvillea 'Helen Johnson', 'Helen Johnson' dwarf bougainvillea

Juniperus chinensis 'Parsonii', Parson's juniper

Trachelospermum asiaticum, Asiatic jasmine, Yellow star jasmine

Zamia furfuraceay, Cardboard palm

Syzygium

cumini

Java plum

Bursera simaruba, Gumbo limbo

Ficus aurea, Strangler fig

Morus rubra, Red mulberry

Quercus laurifolia, Laurel oak

Quercus virginiana, Live oak

Sideroxylon foetidissimum, False mastic

Swietenia mahagoni, West Indian mahogany

Azadirachta indica, Neem

Ficus elastica, Rubber tree

Ficus lyrata, Fiddleleaf fig

Ficus rubiginosa, Rusty fig

Peltophorum dubium, Yellow Poinciana

Terminalia bucerasy (syn. Bucida buceras), Black olive

zAs listed by the University of Florida/IFAS Status Assessment. The initial component of the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas (IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group 2008) is the Status Assessment (Fox et al. 2009), in which evidence is reviewed concerning ecological impacts, potential for expansion, difficulty of management, and economic value of non-native species.

yCaution: may be recommended for landscape use, but manage to prevent escape.

xNon-invasive cultivar derived from the invasive species as determined by the University of Florida/IFAS Infraspecific Taxon Protocol (Fox et al., 2007). The Status Assessment is generally applied at the species level. It is only applied independently to infraspecific taxa (e.g., cultivars, varieties, or subspecies) if these taxa can be clearly distinguished in the field and are not likely to revert.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH1222, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date September 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Gary W. Knox, Extension specialist and professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL; Sandra B. Wilson, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Indian River Research and Education Center, Fort Pierce, FL; Zhanao Deng, associate professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Wimauma, FL; and Rosanna Freyre, research scientist, Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville, FL, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.