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Environmental weeds

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Mexican Bean Tree

Mexican bean tree Mexican Bean Tree (Cecropia peltata and C. palmata) is a pioneer rainforest tree native to the American tropics and has recently been discovered within the Gold Coast. The Queensland Government has declared Mexican Bean Tree as a category 2, 3, 4 and 5 restricted matter, which means it cannot be sold and property owners (including City of Gold Coast) must remove it from their land.

Mexican Bean Tree has the potential to invade rainforests of the Gold Coast, outcompeting native plants and replacing food sources for native animals.

Mexican Bean Trees are aggressive colonisers capable of rapid growth to 40 metres in height. They produce succulent fruits that are readily sought by various animals. Their seeds are also dispersed by flowing water and as a contaminant of soil taken from beneath mature trees.

Mexican Bean Trees tend to be among the first pioneer species to occupy creek banks, edges of rainforests and forest areas altered by human activity or storm events. They have large circular leaves about 30-40 centimetres in diameter which are deeply divided, resembling those of a paw-paw. The lower leaf surface is very pale to nearly white/silver which is conspicuous from a distance on windy days.

Mexican Bean Trees have male and female flowers borne on separate trees. Female trees bear distinctive cylindrical, finger-like spikes while the male flowers are smaller with more ‘fingers’ than the female.

If you have seen this plant, please contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Alternatively, you can use our online form to report a sighting.

Report a Mexican bean Tree sighting online

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