Schefflera actinophylla, Octopus Tree

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species, Extension Master Gardener January 28, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Schefflera actinophylla, Octopus Tree

Octopus tree is invasive and can grow to 40 ft. (12.2 m) tall. Stems can be single or multi-stemmed. Leaves are palm-like with 7 to 16 leaflets. Leaflets are ovate, entire, and 12 in. (30 cm) long. Flowering occurs in summer to early fall, when large red inflorescences develop at the stem tips. Flowers are red and 1 in. (92.5 cm) wide. Fruits are round, dark purple, and 1/4 in. (7 mm) in diameter. Octopus tree is native to Australia and was introduced into Florida in 1927 as an ornamental. Plants can tolerate a wide range of sun and moisture levels but are restricted to areas with minimum temperatures above 35°F (1.7°C).

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


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Apiales > Araliaceae > Schefflera actinophylla (Endl.) H.A.T. Harms

Synonym(s): brassaia, ivy palm, schefflera, umbrella tree

Schefflera actinophylla - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Octopus tree - 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 and place 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

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative 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.

Tree

Octopus tree is invasive and can grow to 40 ft. (12.2 m) tall.

Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, bugwood.org Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, bugwood.org

Foliage

Leaves are palm-like with 7 to 16 leaflets. Leaflets are ovate, entire, and 12 in. (30 cm) long.

Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, bugwood.org Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in summer to early fall, when large red inflorescences develop at the stem tips. Flowers are red and 1 in. (92.5 cm) wide.

Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, bugwood.org Forest & Kim Starr, Starr Environmental, bugwood.org

Fruit

Fruits are round, dark purple, and 1/4 in. (7 mm) in diameter.

 
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, bugwood.org bugwood.org

Native Species That Resemble Octopus Tree

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

 

Additional Images for Octopus Tree

Octopus tree - Images at Invasive.org

 

Learning Resources for Octopus Tree

Identification and Biology of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas - University of Florida

 

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 process, always refer to the product label.

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

EDIS - IFAS Extension, University of Florida

Schefflera actinophylla - Missouri Botanical Garden

Schefflera actinophylla - Hawaii’s Most Invasive Horticultural Plants

Meet the Plants - National Tropical Botanical Garden

Invasive.org - Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health


 

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