Mexican bean tree

Mexican Bean Tree

Mexican bean tree (Cecropia peltata and C. palmata) is a rainforest tree native to the American tropics. The Queensland Government has classified this species as category 2, 3, 4 and 5 restricted matter, which means it cannot be sold and property owners must remove it from their land. It has been discovered within the Gold Coast region.

The tree has large circular leaves about 30 to 40 centimetres in diameter and deeply divided, resembling those of a pawpaw. 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.

This tree has the potential to invade our rainforests, outcompeting native plants and replacing food sources for native animals. It is an aggressive coloniser and is capable of rapid growth up to 40 metres in height. It produces succulent fruits readily sought by various animals. The seeds are then dispersed by them, flowing water, and as a contaminant of soil taken from beneath mature trees.

Mexican bean trees tend to be among the first species to occupy creek banks, edges of rainforests and forest areas altered by human activity or storm events.

Report a sighting

If you find a plant that resembles the characteristics of the Mexican bean tree, contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

You can also click on the following button and scroll down to 'Pest plants' to complete our online form. 

Report a problem – Trees, plants & vegetation