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Publication #ENH380

Cupaniopsis anacardiopsis: Carrotwood1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


This compact, single-trunked, evergreen tree has 4-inch-long, glossy, dark green, divided leaflets and makes an ideal shade, specimen, patio or poolside tree. It is popular in many yards and is used as a small to medium-sized street tree spaced about 20 feet apart. The insignificant small lime-green flowers are followed by 1/2-inch diameter, green fruits which split open to reveal seeds but do not squash or stain. The seeds germinate in the landscape and may be a litter problem. There have been some reports of carrotwood becoming invasive along coastal islands of Florida so use caution in planting in these areas. In addition, the seeds may be disseminated by birds which would make it easy for the tree to spread rapidly into native hammocks.

Figure 1. 

Mature Cupaniopsis anacardiopsis: Carrotwood


UF/IFAS Extension

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General Information

Scientific name: Cupaniopsis anacardiopsis
Pronunciation: koo-pan-nee-OP-sis an-nuh-kar-dee-OP-sis
Common name(s): Carrotwood
Family: Sapindaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10A through 11 (Fig. 2)
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential: According to the UF/IFAS Assessment of the Status of Non-Native Plants in Floridas Natural Areas (Fox et al. 2005), Cupaniopsis anacardiodes (carrotwood) is prohibited for use in Florida.
Availability: not native to North America

Figure 2. 


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Height: 25 to 35 feet
Spread: 25 to 35 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: round
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


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

Figure 3. 


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Flower color: green
Flower characteristics: not showy


Fruit shape: round, irregular
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: fleshy
Fruit color: green, orange
Fruit characteristics: attracts birds; not showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: brown
Current year twig thickness: thick
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; occasionally wet; well-drained
Drought tolerance: high
Aerosol salt tolerance: high


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: yes
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: susceptible
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Carrotwood tolerates poor, dry or wet soils, full sun, and hot, salty winds. It is truly a durable, urban-tolerant tree, able to grow even in confined planting pits in downtown sidewalks. Perhaps it is best used in these areas. It is deep-rooting on well-drained soils and will tolerate drought. Selected, upright branches in the crown can be removed to allow for more light penetration and better turf growth under the crown. If not, the dense canopy will shade out all but the most shade-tolerant plants. The wood is bright apricot-colored in cross-section, and resists breakage because it is hard. If you cut one down, save the wood. Wood-workers enjoy turning it on a lathe and making spindles and bowls.

Propagation is by seed.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern. Warning: Use with caution since the tree has become invasive in South Florida. Commonly used as a street tree in southern California.



This document is ENH380, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Reviewed June 2014. Visit the EDIS website at


Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, 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.