EXOTIC PLANTS IN THE RESERVE

Air Potato Plants in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Air Potato

Dioscorea bulbifera
Known for its potato-like tubers and heart shaped leaves, the air-potato is one of the fastest-growing invasive plants in the Reserve. During the winter months, the plant goes into a dormant phase as the stems die back but when spring arrives the tubers resprout.

Where to Find

Air potatoes are originally from tropical Asia.

Brazilian Pepper

Schinus terebinthifolius
The Brazilian pepper is a large woody shrub with dark green leaves and clusters of red berries that are usually produced in winter. It is related to poison ivy and causes similar reactions in some people. It can grow to 40 feet tall and wide, and effectively crowds out native plants and reduces biodiversity.

Where to Find

Brazillian peppers are native to Brazil and Paraguay. It is one of the most widespread of Florida's nonnative invasive plant species occupying more than 700,000 acres. They are often found in relatively undistributed areas adjacent to mangroves.
Brazilian Pepper Plants in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Caesar Weed Plants in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Caesar Weed

Urena lobata
Caesar weed is a gangly plant that is abundant in disturbed areas. It can reach heights of about five feet, has large, lobe-shaped, hairy leaves and pretty pink flowers. Seeds are small, brown, and covered with hook-like spines that easily cling to fur and clothing for easy dispersal in new locations.

Where to Find

Caesar weeds are originally from India and tropical Asia

Downy Rose Myrtle

Rhodomyrtus tomentosa
The downy rose myrtle has oval-shaped hairy (“downy”) leaves and rose-like pink flower. It produces a dark purple fruit with sweet, aromatic flesh. The downy rose myrtle is highly invasive and can form large, dense stands, called monocultures, that outcompete native species for space and sunlight.

Where to Find

The downy rose myrtle is originally from tropical Asia
Downy Rose Myrtle Plants in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve
Earleaf Acacia Plants in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

Earleaf Acacia

Acacia auriculiformis
Earleaf acacia is an evergreen tree that reaches heights up to 50 feet. Leaves are blade-like, slightly curved, and 5-8 in long.  Bright yellow flower stalks appear spring through fall. Seeds are dispersed by several bird species, including the introduced European starling.

Where to Find

Earleaf acacoa is native to southeast Asia, this species was introduced to the U.S. pre-1930 and used extensively in street landscaping in southern Florida for many years. Now common in disturbed areas, it has invaded pinelands, scrub, and hammocks.

Rosary Pea

Abrus precatorius
The rosary pea is a woody vine with compound leaflets made up of tiny oval-shaped leaves. Seed pods split open to reveal 3-8 shiny red and black seeds. These seeds are highly toxic to animals and people.

Where to Find

The rosary pea is originally from India and tropical Asia.
Rosary Pea Plants in Naples | Rookery Bay Research Reserve

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