Alien Invasives

Belhambra (Phytolacca dioica)


04 October 2016

Belhambra (Phytolacca dioica)

This large, soft-wooded, semi-evergreen tree can grow up to 20 metres tall with an impressive buttressed trunk. The leaves and stems are succulent. It has bright green leaves, oval-shaped leaves with smooth margins. Creamy-yellow flowers appear from September to December in 10cm long clusters with male and female flowers appearing on separate trees from . The berry-like fruits start off green then turn black.

Other names
Monkey Grape, Ombu, Poke Berry, Umbra Tree (English)
Belambraboom, Dikboom, Bobbejaandruifboom (Afrikaans)
uMzimuka (isiZulu)
Invasive status
NEMBA Category 3
CARA 2002 Category 3

Originally from
South America (northern Argentina, southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay)
Where is it a problem?
Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces
How does it spread?
Seed dispersal
Why is it a problem?
It competes with indigenous speciesand because of its enourmous size, even a single tree can seriously affect a natural ecosystem. In urban areas seedlings often germinate along fencelines or walls and can cause considerable damage to property if they are allowed to grow to tree size.
Planting alternatives
White Stinkwood (Celtis africana)
Ornamental shade tree

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