This distinctive small tree has columnar stems and huge umbrella like leaves. It can grow from 5 - 10 m (15 - 30 ft) tall with round leaves 60 - 100 mm (1 - 4 in) long. Stem attached to the middle of the leaf, rather than the edge. Pink, petal-less flowers form in clusters near the base of the leaf stalk. Young plants may superficially resemble Hawaiian taro (Colocasia esculenta.)
Impacts: On the island of Hawai'i, bingabing was seeded from airplanes along with many other weedy forestry species near Hilo after a fire. Today, it lines roadsides, gulches, and disturbed forests in the vicinity. Its large leaf structure creates a dense growth that can crowd and shade out other vegetation.
Dispersal Mechanism: Long distance dispersal of bingabing is achieved primarily through humans who use the plant in ornamental landscaping or reforestation. Bingabing is an established pest on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii, but is not known to currently grow in Maui County (see map), or Kauai. If you see it anywhere else on Maui, Lanai, or Kauai- let someone know!
Parasol leaf tree (Macaranga tanarius):
This relative of bingabing is another invasive pest that has already escaped into the wild on West Maui and Kauai and may prove to be a pest in the rest of Hawaii. It can be distinguished from bingabing by its smaller leaves (60-100 cm or 24-40 in) and pale green to yellowish green calyx (tough outer petals that protect the bud before it opens).
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.