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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Stephen Ausmus, USDA Agricultural Research Service, bugwood.org

image description

Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

image description

Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE 15
  • FAMILY Myrtaceae
  • CATEGORY Trees

paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia)

A quick growing tree that forms thick strands. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated this species as one of Hawai`i's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants.

  • A tall tree up to 75 ft with thick, spongy, tan bark that peels in papery layers
  • Narrow leaves (3.5 in long by 0.6 in wide) with 3-5 prominent veins grow in an alternate pattern
  • Flowers are cream colored and grow in "bottlebrush" spikes; small woody fruits are button-like seed capsules
  • Present on all main Hawaiian islands, planted in forests and as an ornamental; native to Australia, New Caledonia, and New Guinea
  • Seeds are dispersed by wind and water, large numbers of seeds are stored in the tree and released after a disturbance occurs

Harm

  • Quickly colonizes wetlands and forest, displacing native vegetation
  • Forms impenetrable thick stands that can carry fire into the canopies
  • Pollen and sap may cause blisters, rash, or respiratory distress

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