An invasive tropical tree with a low-quality aroma. Native to Indonesia, Cinnamomum burmannii has thrived in Hawaiʻi’s tropical climate since its introduction in the 1930s. While it does yield the cinnamon spice, other species produce a higher quality product. Widely planted as a reforestation tree and now naturalized on all the main islands, C. burmannii is a severe pest for some watersheds. It can colonize and dominate native forests due in part to its ability to grow in deep shade, prolific seeding production, and viable seed dispersal by birds. The root network tends to be shallow, a weak structure to keep topsoil from washing away. Besides that, C. burnamii does not hold up in high wind events and easily falls over. This species hosts a plethora of pests such as beetles, whiteflies, scale, thrips, moths, nematodes, and fungal disease. It can be distinguished from other cinnamons by the coppery color of new leaves.
Description and Dispersal:
- An evergreen tree reaching 15 meters tall
- New leaves are coppery in color, turning green with age
- 3 prominent longitudinal veins on oval leaves
- Cinnamom smell is emitted from the bark when scratched
- Fruit is an ellipsoid berry
- Seeds dispersed by birds and humans