Poncirus trifoliata, Trifoliate Orange

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener February 09, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Poncirus trifoliata, Trifoliate Orange

Trifoliate orange is an invasive deciduous shrub or small tree that grows from 8 to 30 ft (2.4 to 9.1 m) in height. The leaves are alternate, compound (trifoliate), and up to 2 in. (5.1 cm) long and have winged petioles. The twigs are green with stout thorns that are 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. The bark is conspicuously green striped. Spring flowers are white, five-petaled, 1 to 2 in. (2.5 to 5.1 cm) in diameter, and showy. Fruit is a dull yellow, sticky orange (berry) that is 1.5 to 2 in. (3.8 to 5.1 cm) in diameter. Trifoliate orange invades woodlands, forest edges, fencerows, and urban green spaces.

What are invasive species, and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Sapindales > Rutaceae > Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.

Synonym(s): hardy orange

Poncirus trifoliata - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

trifoliate orange - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

County Extension Offices - Find your county Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Shrub

Trifoliate orange is a shrub or small tree that grows from 8 to 30 ft (2.4 to 9.1 m) in height. The twigs are green with stout thorns that are 1 in. (2.5 cm) long. The bark is conspicuously green striped.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org Steve Manning, Invasive Plant Control, bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves are alternate, compound (trifoliate), and up to 2 in. (5.1 cm) long and have winged petioles.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org

Flower

Spring flowers are white, five-petaled, 1 to 2 in. (2.5 to 5.1 cm) in diameter, and showy.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org

Fruit

Fruit is a dull yellow, sticky orange (berry) that is 1.5 to 2 in. (3.8 to 5.1 cm) in diameter.

James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, bugwood.org James Johnson, Georgia Forestry Commission, bugwood.org

 

Native Species That Resemble Trifoliate Orange

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Trifoliate Orange

trifoliate orange - Images at invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Trifoliate Orange

 

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control program, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your Land-Grant University's College of Agriculture, University Cooperative Extension Service, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Invasives Database - TexasInvasives.org

Invader of the Month: Archived Invaders - Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland

A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service

A Management Guide for Invasive Plants of Southern Forests - USDA Forest Service


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.