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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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Photo Credit: Adrian van Leen

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Photo Credit: Forest & Kim Starr

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QUICK FACTS

  • HPRWA SCORE 13
  • FAMILY Araliaceae
  • CATEGORY Trees

octopus tree (Schefflera actinophylla)

A commonly seen invasive tree on the Hawaiian islands. The Division of Forestry and Wildlife of the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources has designated this species as one of Hawai`i's Most Invasive Horticultural Plants.

  • A tree up to 45 ft tall, branches at the base and sparingly above
  • 5-18 leaflets (up to 1 ft long) grow in a circle compound on the tip of a 2 ft long stem
  • Small red flowers grow closely on floral branches; bright red fruit (1/4 in) grow on a branch giving the appearance of octopus tentacles
  • Naturalized on all main Hawaiian islands; native to Australia and New Guinea
  • Seeds spread by birds

Harm

  • Easily spreads into the forests and forms dense thickets
  • Produces dense shade, inhibiting understory plant growth
  • Sometimes germinates on another plant, after the roots reach the ground it begins to strangle its host tree

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