Sign up for the iWire to get breaking news, event info and the species spotlight.


Go Back | Printer Friendly Fact Sheet

Federal Noxious Weed
TDA Noxious Weed
TPWD Prohibited Exotic Species
Invasive Plant Atlas of the US

NOTE: means species is on that list.

Leucaena leucocephala


Popinac

Synonym(s):
Family: Fabaceae (Pea Family)
Duration and Habit: Perennial Tree


Photographer: Colin Wilson
Source: www.issg.org

Description

Exists as a shrub or small tree. Leaves are bipinnately compound and are up to 10 inches long, and have 11 - 17 pairs of leaflets. Leaflets are small and exist opposite each other. Flowers are white and occur in 0.5 - 1 inch diameter heads with peduncles (stems of flowers) 2 - 2.5 inches long. Seeds occur in clusters of 5 - 20 pods (4 - 6 inches long) per flower head and contain 8 - 18 seeds per pod. Lead tree is fast growing, reaching 25 - 50 feet in height and 20 inches in bole diameter in a period of 20 - 40 years.

Ecological Threat: Lead tree forms dense monospecific thickets when not heavily grazed or controlled. It threatens native plant communities, and leaves large areas of land unusable. Easily escapes cultivation and is difficult to eradicate once established.

Biology & Spread: A prolific seed producer that is self-fertile and readily grows from seeds dispersed by rodents, birds, and cattle. Will flower and seed throughout the year if moisture is available. Vigorously regrows after fire, from cut stumps, as well as cuttings.

History: Introduced first to Hawaii in 1864 and soon afterwards to the mainland United States in Florida and Texas as a high protein cattle fodder and for land reclamation and erosion control. Its wood is used for firewood and lumber. Given its origins in Mexico and Central America, this species is considered by some to be native to Texas. Wide distribution of this species by humans has obscured the true extent of its native range.

U.S. Habitat: Favors alkaline and limestone soils. Does best in wet conditions but is resistant to drought once established. River banks, cultivated areas, and pastures are prone to invasion. Requires warm temperatures; little resistance for cold.

Distribution

U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.

Native Origin: Native to Central and South America

U.S. Present: AZ, CA, FL, TX

Distribution: Naturalized populations exist in Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona as well as Hawaii. Locally found in Harris and Galveston counties.

Mapping

Invaders of Texas Map: Leucaena leucocephala
EDDMapS: Leucaena leucocephala
USDA Plants Texas County Map: Leucaena leucocephala

Invaders of Texas Observations

List All Observations of Leucaena leucocephala reported by Citizen Scientists

Resembles/Alternatives

Red mulberry (Morus rubra), Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis var. canadensis), American holly (Ilex opaca)

Management

Small individual plants may be manually removed, taking care to remove the roots. Controlled grazing before it grows out of cattles? reach controls it. On larger specimens or infestations, this option will probably not be feasible.

USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.

Text References

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area. Lisa Gonzalez and Jeff DallaRosa. Houston Advanced Research Center, 2006.

Online Resources

Search Online

Google Search: Leucaena leucocephala
Google Images: Leucaena leucocephala
NatureServe Explorer: Leucaena leucocephala
USDA Plants: Leucaena leucocephala
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Leucaena leucocephala
Bugwood Network Images: Leucaena leucocephala

Last Updated: 2007-03-24 by Damon Waitt
Share