FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Triadica sebifera

Common Name(s): Popcorntree, Chinese tallowtree


Eastern Asia

Ecological Impact

This tree can become the dominant species and take over large areas (Langeland and Burks, 1998).  Listed as a Category I invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC). 


A deciduous tree that can grow up to 52 feet.  Leaves are simple, alternate, with broad ovate blades.  Bark is light gray and fissured.  Flowers are small and yellow on spikes; petals absent.  Fruit is a 3-lobed capsule that turns brown at maturity and contains 3 white seeds.

Identification Tips

Look for a brown fruit or clusters of white seeds which remain attached to the tree, resembling popcorn.  Flowers in spring with fruit maturing from August to November.  On leaves, using magnification, look for hairless, lime-green petioles with 2 tiny glands on the upper side of juncture between petiole and blade (Miller, Chambliss, and Loewenstein, 2010).


Introduced to the United States in the 1970s as an ornamental and potential oil crop (Langeland and Burks, 1998).

Florida Range

Found throughout the state Florida.

Prevention/Management Strategies

Do not plant.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants