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Publication #ENH259

Bischofia javanica: Toog Tree1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2

Introduction

This rapidly growing evergreen or semievergreen tree can reach a height of 75 feet but usually is seen 40 to 50 feet tall in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The dense rounded crown and thick trunk makes toog tree a popular shade tree. However, enough light will not penetrate for a lawn to grow underneath toog trees but a groundcover will serve nicely, helping to cover the exposed tree roots. Branching is typically coarse with several large-diameter laterals originating fairly close to the ground. The shiny, bronze-toned, green trifoliate leaves are especially attractive when young and reach two to five inches in length. The stem will exude a milky sap when wounded. Small blue-black or reddish berries are produced in copious drooping clusters and drop to the ground creating a mess following the inconspicuous flowers on female trees. Unfortunately, the sex of the tree cannot be determined on young plants.

Figure 1. 

Middle-aged Bischofia javanica: Toog Tree


Credit:

Photo by Vic Ramey, University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Used with permission.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Bischofia javanica
Pronunciation: biss-CHOFF-ee-uh juh-VAN-ih-kuh
Common name(s): Toog Tree, Bischofia
Family: Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10A through 11 (Fig. 2)
Figure 2. 

Range


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Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: According to the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas (IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group 2008), in Florida Bischofia javanica should be treated with caution, may be recommended but managed to prevent escape.
Uses: not recommended for planting
Availability: not native to North America

Description

Height: 30 to 50 feet
Spread: 25 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: round
Crown density: dense
Growth rate: fast
Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate (Fig. 3)
Leaf type: trifoliate, odd-pinnately compound
Leaf margin: serrulate
Leaf shape: ovate, elliptic (oval)
Leaf venation: pinnate
Leaf type and persistence: evergreen
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches, 4 to 8 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: no color change
Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. 

Foliage


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Flower

Flower color: green
Flower characteristics: not showy

Fruit

Fruit shape: round
Fruit length: less than .5 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: red, black
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Figure 4. 

Fruit.


Credit:

Photo by Vic Ramey, University of Florida/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants. Used with permission.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: susceptible to breakage
Current year twig color: green
Current year twig thickness: medium
Wood specific gravity: unknown

Culture

Light requirement: full sun, partial sun or partial shade
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; extended flooding; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate

Other

Roots: can form large surface roots
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: sensitive to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Growing in full sun on various soil types, toog tree is very easily grown and grows quickly. It has only moderate salt tolerance. It appears to grow well in confined urban soil spaces, however, the fruit is considered messy and stains walks when it drops to the ground and the seeds often germinate in the landscape and could become a nuisance. Aggressive roots can lift sidewalks if they are planted within five or six feet of the walk. If you plant this tree, locate it in a lawn area where regular mowing will kill the sprouting seedlings, not in a landscape bed. The tree is not generally recommended for street tree planting and can be a nuisance in lawns as surface roots make mowing difficult close to the trunk. Branches reportedly break from the tree on occasion. There are too many other high quality trees available in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11 to encourage planting this tree.

Propagation is by seeds or cuttings.

Pests

Toog tree suffers from severe scale infestations, especially false Oleander scale which is followed by sooty mold.

Diseases

No diseases are of major concern, except root rot.

Literature Cited

Fox, A.M., D.R. Gordon, J.A. Dusky, L. Tyson, and R.K. Stocker (2008) IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas: Status Assessment. Cited from the Internet (November 16, 2012), http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/assessment/pdfs/status_assessment.pdf

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH259, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date November 1993. Revised April 2007 and February 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, 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.