FPL | Melaleuca
 

Melaleuca

Origin: Australia

Impacts: Melaleuca is an aggressive tree, originally introduced in Florida in 1900 for landscaping and "swamp drying."

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 this plant.

 

Melaleuca quinquenervia

Photo courtesy of South Florida Water Management District