;
MANAGE FORESTS & LAND
  • FOREST HEALTH: INVASIVE PLANTS IN THE WEST TEXAS LANDSCAPE

    (Click each image for a larger view.)

     Tree of HavenTree of Heaven: Ailanthus altissima: Originally from China; rapid growing tree to 80 feet tall; alternate, compound leaves, 10-40 leaflets with smooth margins on 1- to 3-foot stalks. Large terminal clusters of small yellowish-green flowers yield wing-shaped fruit on female trees. Forms thickets and dense stands.
     MimosaMimosa: Albizia julibrissin. Brought from Asia in 1745 as an ornamental, mimosa is a deciduous tree with alternate, doubly compound leaves and showy, fragrant pink blossoms. Leguminous seedpods persist during winter. Leaves resemble those of honeylocust.
     Tall FescueTall Fescue: Lolium arundinaceaum. Tall fescue is a vigorous, perennial, bunch grass which may have short slowly spreading rhizomes. This grass, often cultivated in wet pastures for forage or for turf, is a perennial, 3 to 4 foot tall clump grass with medium-wide leaves that are rough-ribbed on top.
     Yello Star ThistleYellow Star Thistle: Centaurea repens. Native to southern Europe, it grows in disturbed, sunny sites at low to middle elevations. An annual plant that can reach up to one meter in height. The flowering heads have long tan spines, some of which exceed 0.4 inches in length. The vegetative part of the plant is spineless. The stem has obvious leafy wings.
     Salt CedarSalt Cedar: (Tamarix spp.). Salt cedars are characterized by slender branches and gray-green foliage. The bark of young branches is smooth and reddish-brown. As the plants age, the bark becomes brownish-purple, ridged and furrowed. Leaves are scale-like, about 1/16 inch long and overlap each other along the stem. They are often encrusted with salt secretions. From March to September, large numbers of pink to white flowers appear in dense masses on 2-inch long spikes at branch tips.
     Chinaberry TreeChinaberrytree: Melia azedarach. Introduced from Asia in the mid-1800s as an ornamental tree. Dark green leaves are doubly compound, alternate, deciduous, and display bright yellow fall colors. Fruit is spherical, about ½" in diameter, yellow, persists on the tree in winter and is poisonous.
     Glossy (Japanese) PrivetGlossy (Japanese) Privet: Ligustrum lucidum, L. japonicum. Also known as wax-leaf ligustrum, glossy privet is an evergreen shrub or small tree to 30 ft tall with glossy 2-4 inch pointed, waxy leaves arranged opposite each other on the stem. Small white flowers yield clusters of blue-black berries. Native to China, Korea, Japan. Commonly planted as in hedgerows, but has become invasive in certain areas.
     Siberiam ElmSiberian Elm: Ulmus pulmila. This elm is distinguished by its small, elliptical, smooth, singly-toothed leaves, that reach lengths of 0.8-2.6 inches. They are tapering or rounded at their asymmetrical base. The alternate leaves are dark green and smooth above, paler and nearly hairless beneath. Foliage is slightly pubescent when young. Flowers are greenish, lack petals, and occur in small drooping clusters of 2-5 blossoms. The winged fruits are about 1/2 inch wide and hang in clusters.
     Giant Cane ReedGiant Cane Reed: Arundo donax. Corn-like stems to 20 feet in height; gray-green, hairless stems with long lanceolate alternate leaves that droop at ends. Terminals form dense plumes of flowers to 36 inches long.
     Chaste TreeChaste Tree: Vitex agnus-castus. Leaves are opposite, fan-shaped and compound, 2 to 6 inches across, usually five leaflets per leaf (sometimes 7); leaflets mostly elongated with smooth margins, dark and shiny green above and pale hairs below; very aromatic when crushed. The flower is bright blue-lilac, very fragrant, in slender spiked clusters at the branch tips, to 8 inches. Fruit is round and fleshy.

     + Contact
    For detailed descriptions and more photos, see James H. Miller's publication "Nonnative Invasive Plants of Southern Forests" at http://www.invasive.org/eastern/srs/.
  • RELATED INFORMATION