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Chinaberry – Invasive Plant Species

Melia azedarach

USDA Forest Service, Southern Region, National Forests in Florida, September 2000, Protection Report R8-PR 50.

Environmental Impact

  • Is a non-native, exotic plant without natural insects or disease to keep its growth in check
  • Forms thickets excluding native vegetation
  • Usually flowers and fruits at shrub size
  • Prolific fruit production
  • Negatively impacts wildlife dependent on native vegetation for forage, nesting, and cover
  • Fruit is poisonous to humans and small mammals
  • A variety of songbirds relish the fruit but experience temporary intoxication
  • Interferes with recreational activities by threatening biodiversity and ecosystem stability on natural areas
  • Increases taxes or fees to offset costs associated with invasive plant management on public lands


  • Deciduous tree to 50 feet
  • Alternate, lacy, dark green (above), twice or thrice-compound leaves with toothed edges
  • Small, fragrant, lilac flowers in clusters from leaf axils in spring
  • Single-seeded, yellow to yellowish-green, round fruit maturing in summer and commonly persistent after leaf fall
  • Found from uplands to floodplains and marshes

If you are still in doubt, county extension agents are able to assist with the identification of plants.

Control Methods

  • Basal bark application with 15% to 30% triclopyr ester; treat 1-2 feet of trunk for larger trees*
  • Fell trees over 6" in DBH (diameter at breast height) and treat stumps with up to 30% triclopyr ester (apply within 5 minutes of cutting)*
  • Hand pick the berries and dispose in plastic bags

*Perform herbicide applications before fruit onset to avoid another generation of plants.

Triclopyr product, such as Brush-B-Gon®, is available in local garden and hardware stores. Always use an herbicide according to the entire label. Remember: The label is the law!


Pesticides used improperly can be injurious to humans, animals, and plants.

  • Read, understand, and follow the label.
  • Learn and follow all State and local rules.
  • Store pesticide safely in original containers.
  • Apply pesticides so that they do not endanger humans, or non-target animals or plants.
  • If a pesticide is swallowed or gets in the eyes, follow the first-aid treatment given on the label, and get prompt medical attention.
  • If a pesticide is spilled on your skin or clothing, remove clothing immediately and wash skin thoroughly.
  • Do not clean spray equipment or dump excess spray material in or near water.
  • Dispose of empty pesticide containers properly and promptly.

For additional information, please contact:

  • Lorraine Miller
    Ocala National Forest
    17147 East HWY 40
    Silver Springs, FL 34488
    Phone: (352) 625-2520
    TDD: (850) 942-9351
    Fax: (352) 625-7556

The use of trade or firm names in this publication is for reader information and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture of any product or service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of programs information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence AVE, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal employment opportunity provider and employer.

This pamphlet was produced by the USDA Forest Service through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation "Pulling Together Initiative" challenge grant, and donations by Monsanto Company and the University of Central Florida’s Agriculture-Horticulture Club and Environmental Society.

USDA Forest ServiceUSDA APHIS PPQ The Bugwood Network University of Georgia is a joint project of The Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service and USDA APHIS PPQ.
The University of Georgia - Warnell School of Forest Resources and
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Dept. of Entomology
Last updated on Thursday, July 25, 2002 at 03:12 PM
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