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Caution - Central, North, South

Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood1

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, Andrew K. Koeser, Deborah R. Hilbert, and Drew C. McLean 2


This rapidly growing evergreen or semi-evergreen tree can reach a height of 75 feet but usually is seen 30 to 50 feet tall in Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The dense rounded crown and thick trunk makes bishopwood a popular shade tree. However, enough light will not penetrate for a lawn to grow underneath bishopwood 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. Full Form - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Figure 1.  Full Form - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Credit: UF/IFAS

General Information

Scientific name: Bischofia javanica

Pronunciation: biss-CHOFF-ee-uh juh-VAN-ih-kuh

Common name(s): bishopwood, yoog tree, bischofia

Family: Phyllanthaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 10A through 11 (Figure 2)

Origin: native to tropical Asia and the Pacific Island

UF/IFAS Invasive Assessment Status: caution, may be recommended but manage to prevent escape (North, Central, South)

Uses: not recommended for planting

Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range


Height: 30 to 50 feet

Spread: 25 to 35 feet

Crown uniformity: symmetrical

Crown shape: round

Crown density: dense

Growth rate: fast

Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate (Figure 3)

Leaf type: trifoliate, odd-pinnately compound; made up of 3 leaflets

Leaf margin: serrulate

Leaf shape: ovate, elliptic (oval)

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: evergreen

Leaf blade length: leaflets are 2 to 5 inches

Leaf color: green or bronze green on top, lighter green underneath

Fall color: no color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. Leaf - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Figure 3.  Leaf - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Credit: UF/IFAS


Flower color: greenish yellow

Flower characteristics: not showy; emerges in clusters on hanging panicles

Flowering: early fall

Figure 4. Flower - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Figure 4.  Flower - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Credit: UF/IFAS


Fruit shape: round

Fruit length: ¼ to ½ inch

Fruit covering: fleshy, berry-like schizocarp

Fruit color: brownish-orange

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Figure 5. Fruit - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Figure 5.  Fruit - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Credit: UF/IFAS

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically one trunk; no thorns

Bark: gray or brown, with thin vertical fissures that look platey with age

Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure

Breakage: susceptible to breakage

Current year twig color: green

Current year twig thickness: medium

Wood specific gravity: unknown

Figure 6. Bark - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Figure 6.  Bark - Bischofia javanica: Bishopwood
Credit: Gitta Hasing, UF/IFAS


Light requirement: full sun to partial shade

Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; alkaline; acidic; wet to well-drained

Drought tolerance: moderate

Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


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, Bishopwood 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.


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


No diseases are of major concern, except root rot.


Koeser, A. K., Hasing, G., Friedman, M. H., and Irving, R. B. 2015. Trees: North & Central Florida. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Koeser, A.K., Friedman, M.H., Hasing, G., Finley, H., Schelb, J. 2017. Trees: South Florida and the Keys. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.


1. This document is ENH259, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2018. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department; Ryan W. Klein, graduate assistant, Environmental Horticulture Department, Gainesville, FL 32611; Andrew K. Koeser, assistant professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC), Wimauma, FL 33598; Deborah R. Hilbert, graduate assistant, Environmental Horticulture Department, GCREC; and Drew C. McLean, biological scientist, Environmental Horticulture Department, GCREC; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

IFAS Assessment

Central, North, South


Caution - manage to prevent escape. May be recommended by IFAS. Will be reassessed in two years.

view assessment

Publication #ENH259

Release Date:April 25, 2019

Related Collections

Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

    Organism ID


    • Andrew Koeser