Impacts: Melaleuca is an aggressive tree, originally
introduced in Florida in 1900 for landscaping and "swamp
It spreads quickly, produces lots of seeds, and grows in
very dense aggregations. It out-competes native vegetation
and destroys suitable habitat, such as sawgrass marshes and
wet prairies, for other native animals and insects.
Unfortunately, melaleuca has taken over hundreds of thousands
of acres in the Everglades. It is an extremely difficult plant
to eradicate in that a single tree can produce up to one million
seeds per year and can store about 20 million seeds. Seed
dispersal is triggered by events such as storms and fires.
The State of Florida spends $3-6 million each year controlling
Photo courtesy of South Florida Water Management District