Sorry schefflera

!schefflera---dead-@-fmel
The only good Schefflera is a dead Schefflera, as pictured above due to the herbicide handiwork last year of Diane LaRue (Class of 2012), Jean ‘JJ’ Romano (Class of 2013), and Susan Warmer (Class of 2006). Note that the tire in the background is part of a Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory mosquito research project.

Known as umbrella tree, octopus tree, or just plain schefflera (Schefflera actinophylla) is a ‘Category 1’ invasive pest plant according to the Florida Invasive Pest Plant Council. This plant, native to Australia, once was widely planted for its fast rate of growth and palmately compound leaves that gave a tropical feel to landscapes. Though this plant can grow to more than 40 feet tall, it often was planted beneath roof eaves.

You can find it invading a variety of habitats in Indian River County, including the hammock at the County-owned Lagoon Greenway …

!schefflera-@-irlt-(2)

… the North Sebastian Conservation Area at the entrance next to a cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto)…

!sabal-&-schefflera

… and the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area near native wild coffee (Psychotria nervosa) and Category 1 invasive pest vine, rosary pea (Abrus precatorious) …

!schefflera-w-psychotria

Many invasive pest plants at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area and the adjacent Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory have been hand-pulled, de-berried, and/or treated with herbicide by the intrepid team of Diane, Jean, Susan, and Ken Gonyo (Class of 2012). They report that it takes about a year for schefflera to succumb to their herbicide treatments and are carefully watching the schefflera that they treated recently …

!Schefflera-upper-leaves-dying-2

!schefflera-dying-leaves

They celebrate the sight of the fallen dead leaves of the schefflera that they treated last year …

!schefflera-dead-leaf-litter2

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