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Have you seen Bocconia (Bocconia frutescens)?
Hawaii Early Detection Network Priority Pest for the Big Island of Hawaii


bocconia flowers
Bocconia flower stalk
Images: Forest & Kim Starr
Bocconia leaves and fruit
Lobed leaves and fruits
Bocconia tree
Bocconia tree showing the
light underside of the leaves

Identification: Bocconia, aka tree poppy, is a fast growing shrub/small tree that was introduced to Hawaiian gardens in the 1920's. This member of the poppy family often looks more like a small tree, growing up to 20 ft (6 m) tall. It has distinctively shaped LARGE LOBED LEAVES 4 - 18 in (10- 45 cm) long, 1.5 - 8 in (3.8 - 20 cm) wide. Leaves are often clumped at the end of the branches. The undersides of the leaves are often covered in a light colored fuzz. It exudes a thick YELLOWISH-ORANGE LATEX SAP. The plume poppy name refers to the upright clusters of up to 2000 small petal-less greenish-purple flowers that grow up to 23.5 in (60 cm) long. Fruits have fleshy red arils attached to shiny black seeds.
Impacts: Plants produce thousands of seeds which are dispersed long distances by birds, and readily germinate in disturbed areas along roads, pastures, and on lava fields. Once established in an area, this plant is very difficult to control by either chemical or mechanical (hand-pulling) means.
Dispersal Mechanism: It is moved around by humans as a garden or horticultural plant. Birds spread the seeds into natural areas. In Hawaii, it has become naturalized on the islands of Maui (map), Oahu, but is confined to a few areas on the Big Island at Wood Valley, Honomolino and Manuka. It is actively being removed from sites on the Big Island. If you see it anywhere else- let someone know!

More information about this pest external link


Bocconia look-alikes:


Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis):
Breadfruit has similar shaped leaves to bocconia. It can be differentiated from bocconia by it's large globe shaped fruits.

Breadfruit

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

Common castor bean (Risinus communis):
Common castor bean, a widespread weed in Hawaii, has leaves that are somewhat similar to bocconia. In contrast, castor bean leaves are sharp edged and shaped like a hand with spread fingers. Castor bean's highly toxic seeds are cased in a spiny green or red capsule.

Common guava

Common Castor Bean (Risinus communis)

Last Updated: Monday January 30 2012. If you have any questions about the Hawaii Early Detection Network contact reportapest-maui@lists.hawaii.edu.
Funding and support for this project was made possible by the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council, the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry assistance, and University of Hawai'i-Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit.