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Photo Credit: J.B. Friday

image description

Photo Credit: J.B. Friday

image description

Photo Credit: J.B. Friday

image description

Photo Credit: J.B. Friday

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QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE 21
  • FAMILY Apocynaceae
  • CATEGORY Trees

Devil's poison pepper (Rauvolfia vomitoria)

Rauvolfia vomitoria is an invasive fast growing tree.

  • A small tree or shrub up to 30 ft tall, with a trunk 1 ft in diameter
  • Long skinny leaves (up to 9.5 in long) with pointy tips grow in a whorled pattern in groups of 3-5
  • Minute cream colored flowers (less than 1/10 in) grow in clusters and are sweet smelling; clustered red-orange fruits (1/3 in diameter)
  • Only known in Hawai`i naturalizing in North Kohala on Big Island and cultivated on O`ahu; native to Africa
  • Seeds dispersed long distances by birds, produces fruit year-round

Harm

  • Quickly spreads into both pastures and closed-canopy forests where it outgrows many other trees including other invasives like strawberry guava
  • Grows extremely fast, reaching 30 ft and producing seeds in two years
  • Forms dense thickets that are extremely difficult to control
  • All parts of this tree are poisonous and have been reported to cause nausea when handled

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