Jacaranda copaia (copaia, cupay) is an evergreen tree native to Northern South America.The tree is prevalent in the Brazilian Amazon, where it serves as a pioneer species, colonizing gaps in the forest and areas that have been cleared. This plant has many purported medical uses. In the dry season, people burn the leafy branches to deter biting insects. Research conducted in the Amazon region details the utilization of this plant for addressing skin infections, achieved by applying the sap extracted from its bark and leaves. Another study highlights the plant’s versatility, as it is also used for treatment of gastrointestinal issues, diarrhea, leishmaniasis, and cancer prevention. Juice from the young leaves is warmed and applied to persistent sores, by the indigenous people known as the Guyana Patamona. This plant has not been documented as naturalized in any Hawaiian Islands thus far.
High Risk Traits:
- Broad elevation range in the tropics
- Other Jacaranda species are regarded as invasive
- Tolerates many soil types (not substrate limited)
- Reproduces by seeds
- Fast growth rate (but time to reproductive maturity unknown)
- Seeds dispersed by wind, by ants, and through intentional cultivation
- Able to coppice and grow back repeatedly following cutting
Low Risk Traits:
- No reports of naturalization or invasiveness, but unclear how widespread cultivation is outside native range.
- Unarmed (no spines, thorns, or burrs)
- A light-demanding pioneer tree (dense shade may inhibit ability to spread)
- Self-incompatible (requires outcrossing for seed set)
- Not reported to spread vegetatively
- Seeds of are nondormant and do not form a persistent seed bank in the soil