Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Schizolobium parahyba
(Brazilian fern tree)



Schizolobium parahyba (Brazilian fern tree)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Schizolobium parahyba
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Brazilian fern tree
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • S. parahyba is one of the fastest growing tree species, which is why it has been widely introduced in tropical regions; mainly for reforestation projects, as an ornamental or as a shade tree (

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Typical short-boled, branchy, wide-crowned medium sized tree of S. parahybum to 20 m in height.  Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.
TitleMature tree
CaptionTypical short-boled, branchy, wide-crowned medium sized tree of S. parahybum to 20 m in height. Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.
CopyrightColin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Typical short-boled, branchy, wide-crowned medium sized tree of S. parahybum to 20 m in height.  Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.
Mature treeTypical short-boled, branchy, wide-crowned medium sized tree of S. parahybum to 20 m in height. Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Tree in summer, 15 m in height.
TitleAdult tree
CaptionTree in summer, 15 m in height.
CopyrightSoraya Alvarenga Botelho
Tree in summer, 15 m in height.
Adult treeTree in summer, 15 m in height.Soraya Alvarenga Botelho
7-year-old mixed planting, 7 m high.
TitleMixed planting
Caption7-year-old mixed planting, 7 m high.
CopyrightSoraya Alvarenga Botelho
7-year-old mixed planting, 7 m high.
Mixed planting7-year-old mixed planting, 7 m high.Soraya Alvarenga Botelho
Small stand of S. parahybum showing typical branchy habit and short pale whitish-grey boles. Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.
TitleTree stand
CaptionSmall stand of S. parahybum showing typical branchy habit and short pale whitish-grey boles. Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.
CopyrightColin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Small stand of S. parahybum showing typical branchy habit and short pale whitish-grey boles. Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.
Tree standSmall stand of S. parahybum showing typical branchy habit and short pale whitish-grey boles. Near Huatusco, Veracruz, Mexico.Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Detail of the bark showing lenticels and petiolar scars.
CaptionDetail of the bark showing lenticels and petiolar scars.
CopyrightSoraya Alvarenga Botelho
Detail of the bark showing lenticels and petiolar scars.
BarkDetail of the bark showing lenticels and petiolar scars.Soraya Alvarenga Botelho
Bark of a young S. parahybum tree is typically smooth green.
CaptionBark of a young S. parahybum tree is typically smooth green.
CopyrightColin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Bark of a young S. parahybum tree is typically smooth green.
BarkBark of a young S. parahybum tree is typically smooth green.Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Bark of an older S. parahybum tree is typically whitish grey.  (Note centimetre rule for scale)
CaptionBark of an older S. parahybum tree is typically whitish grey. (Note centimetre rule for scale)
CopyrightColin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Bark of an older S. parahybum tree is typically whitish grey.  (Note centimetre rule for scale)
BarkBark of an older S. parahybum tree is typically whitish grey. (Note centimetre rule for scale)Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Close-up of bright yellow flowers of S. parahybum arranged on terminal branched inflorescences.
CaptionClose-up of bright yellow flowers of S. parahybum arranged on terminal branched inflorescences.
CopyrightColin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
Close-up of bright yellow flowers of S. parahybum arranged on terminal branched inflorescences.
FlowersClose-up of bright yellow flowers of S. parahybum arranged on terminal branched inflorescences.Colin Hughes, Dept. Plant Sciences, Univ. Oxford
TitleBranches with fruits
CopyrightSoraya Alvarenga Botelho
Branches with fruitsSoraya Alvarenga Botelho
TitleFruits and seeds
CopyrightSoraya Alvarenga Botelho
Fruits and seedsSoraya Alvarenga Botelho


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Schizolobium parahyba (Vell.) Blake

Preferred Common Name

  • Brazilian fern tree

Other Scientific Names

  • Caesalpinia parahyba (Vell.) Allemao
  • Cassia parahyba Vell.
  • Schizolobium amazonicum Huber ex Ducke
  • Schizolobium excelsum Vogel
  • Schizolobium glutinosum Tul.
  • Schizolobium kellermanii Pittier
  • Schizolobium parahybrum (Vell.) S.F.Blake
  • Schizolobium parahybum (Vell.) Blake

International Common Names

  • English: Brazilian fire tree; Brazilian firetree; false tree-fern; Mexican fire tree; quamwood; reach for the sky; the sky’s the limit; tower tree
  • Spanish: guanacaxtle; pachaco
  • Portuguese: guapiruvu; guapuruvu; tzementi

Local Common Names

  • Argentina: guapuruvú
  • Belize: plumajillo; quamwood; tambor; zorra
  • Bolivia: serebo
  • Brazil: baageiro; bacumbú; bacuparu; bacuru; bacurubu; bacurubu; bacurubu-ficheira; bacuruva; bacuruvi; bacuruvu; bacuva; bageiro; bandar; bandarra; beri; birosca; bocurubu; breu; bucuruva; caixeta; espanador-do-céu; fava-divina; fava-umbela; faveira; faveira; faveira-branca; faveiro; faveiro; ficha; ficheira; ficheira; ficheiro; gabiruvu; gapuvuru; garapuva; garapuvu; garipivu; guaburuvu; guaparuva; guaperubu; guaperuvu; guapiruvi; guapiruvu; guapivuçu; guaporuva; guapubu; guapurububu; guapururru; guapuruva; guapuruvu; guapuruvu; guarapivu; guarapuvu; guaripivu; guarirovo; guarupuvu; guavirovo; igarapobu; igarapuvu; paricá; paricá-grande; pataca; pataqueira; pau-de-canoa; pau-de-canoas; pau-de-tambor; pau-de-vintém; pau-vintém; pinho; pinho-branco; pinho-cuiabano; pino; pirosca; tambor; umbela
  • Colombia: keransí; pinguasi; tambolero; tambor; tamborero
  • Costa Rica: gallinazo; gavilan; quamwood
  • Cuba: guapurubú
  • Ecuador: cotanga; favena; guanacasle; guapurura; masachi; pachaco; pacheco; palo de picho; quillo-caspi
  • El Salvador: chapulaltapa
  • Guatemala: copte; cucte; guanacaste; plumajillo; plumillo; zorro
  • Honduras: cola de zorro; tambo
  • Mexico: cuchillal; guanacaste; guanacaxtle; judío; palo de judío; palo de picho; quon
  • Nicaragua: gallinazo; gavilán
  • Panama: indio; tinecú
  • Peru: pashaco; yurac-caspi
  • Singapore: yellow jacaranda
  • South Africa: feather-duster tree; parasol tree; verestofferboom

Trade name

  • serebo

Summary of Invasiveness

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S. parahyba is one of the fastest growing tree species, which is why it has been widely introduced in tropical regions; mainly for reforestation projects, as an ornamental or as a shade tree (Turchetto et al., 2012). It is a pioneer species, with large seeds that help its quick establishment, even in thick ground cover and litter. Although not being considered as an invasive species in most of its range, it has been noted to have recruitment in managed pastures and airport grass strips in Costa Rica and southeastern Brazil, where other species are unable to get established (Williamson et al., 2012). It is considered as invasive in the seasonal semideciduous forests in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Abreu et al., 2014). Although the invaded area is not large, and its spread has not been extensive, it dominates the area where it occurs, threatening the natural regeneration processes under its canopy. Abreu et al. therefore recommend extirpation of the species from this ecosystem and avoidance of cultivation away from its native range.

Biondi and Pedrosa-Macedo (2008) list the species as a potential invasive species for the urban areas of Curitiba, Brazil, based on the reports of Abreu et al. (2014). It is reported as invasive in Cuba, but without further details (Oviedo-Prieto et al., 2012).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Fabales
  •                         Family: Fabaceae
  •                             Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
  •                                 Genus: Schizolobium
  •                                     Species: Schizolobium parahyba

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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S. parahyba is a species which ranges from southern North America (Mexico) to southeastern Brazil, with the distribution interrupted twice by the Andes and by the dry corridor formed by the Cerrado and Caatinga ecoregions in Brazil. This had caused the species to have two centres of genetic diversity, one in the southeast Atlantic forest and one in the Amazonian basin, hence the use of two varieties by some authors (S. parahyba var. parahyba and S. parahyba var. amazonicum). Molecular studies support a single species concept (Canchignia-Martinez et al., 2007, quoted in Williamson et al., 2012). Both Schizolobiumamazonicum Ducke. and Schizolobium parahyba (Vell.) S.F.Blake, however, are given as accepted species by The Plant List (2013).

The genus name Schizolobium comes from the Greek schizo, “divide” and lobion, “pod”; referring to the inner and outer layers of the pod separating when mature (PROTA, 2016). S. parahyba was first described by J.M.C. Vellozo in 1825 under the name Cassia parahyba (Encyclopedia of Life, 2016). The specific epithet comes from the Parahyba River in Brazil (Orwa et al., 2009).

Synonyms listed include the spelling variants: S. parahybrum and S. parahybum. The epithet preferred should be parahybum; however, it is a noun in apposition and refers to a river name, not to an adjective, the reason for not being the subject of gender change (Garcia and Monteiro, 1997; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016).

S. parahyba is often mistaken for ferns or palms, as young sterile plants are usually unbranched with leaves over two metres long: some of its common names reflect this confusion (Orwa et al., 2009). 


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The following description is from Flora of Panama (2016):

A tall, buttressed tree to 25 m or more, the branchlets subglabrous. Leaves very large, twice-pinnate, multifoliolate; petiole stout, 1 dm or more long, evidently eglandular, glabrous or somewhat viscid, slightly flattened or sulcate above; secondary petioles similar, about 1 cm long, callous basally; rachis several dm long, eglandular, flattened and margined above, the pinnae (several to many) arising opposite in pairs on the upper side; stipules apparently small, caducous; leaflets several to many pairs on each pinna, oblong or linear-oblong, 1.5-3 cm long, 4-7 mm wide, rounded apically and basally, dark and puberulent to glabrous above, lighter and appressed-pubescent below, subcoriaceous, the midvein very prominent, the lateral veins obscure; ultimate petiolules about 1 mm long. Inflorescence multiflorate; bracts lanceolate, scarcely 2 mm long; pedicels up to 1 cm long in age, articulate above the middle. Flowers attractive, yellow; calyx-tube turbinate, 2-3 mm long, dark and usually tomentulose; calyx-lobes ovate-elliptic, about 6 mm long and 3 mm wide, puberulent; petals obovate-spatulate, almost 2 cm long and usually 4-6 mm wide, subglabrous, obscurely veined; stamens 10, about as long as the petals, the filaments broader and scurfy basally, the anthers broadly elliptic, about 2 mm long; ovary subfalcate, about 5 mm long and 2 mm broad, hispid-tomentose with dark hairs, few-ovulate. Legume obovate-spatulate, narrowed baseward, about 10 cm long and 2.5-5 cm wide, glabrous, bearing the solitary seed apically; seed flattened-ovoid, up to 2 cm long.

Plant Type

Top of page Perennial
Seed propagated
Vegetatively propagated


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The natural distribution of S. parahyba ranges from southern Brazil, 30°15'S (Carvalho, 1994), to southern Mexico, 17°N (Heuveldop et al., 1997). In Brazil it is a characteristic and exclusive species to the Atlantic forest (east coast) and it occurs occasionally in the semi-deciduous forests in São Paulo (Carvalho, 1994). It has been introduced as an ornamental, for wood products and timber or habitat restoration in Africa, Asia, the southern USA, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Fiji (see Distribution Table for details). As cultivated species are usually under-collected and poorly represented in herbaria, its distribution might be more extensive than what is reported in the literature.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes


IndiaPresentIntroducedFlowers of India, 2016
SingaporePresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedNational Parks Board, 2016
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009


BotswanaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2016
KenyaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
South AfricaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced Not invasive Henderson, 2007; AGIS, 2016
TanzaniaPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroducedBruneau et al., 2001

North America

MexicoPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Chiapas, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Veracruz.
USAPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009
-ArizonaPresentIntroducedPacific Horticulture, 2016Phoenix
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedDave's Garden, 2016; Pacific Horticulture, 2016Southern California
-FloridaPresentIntroducedDave's Garden, 2016
-HawaiiPresent only in captivity/cultivationIntroduced1940NMNH, 2016Honolulu, Kona

Central America and Caribbean

BelizePresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Cayo, Toledo
Costa RicaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Guanacaste, Heredia, Punta Arenas, San José. 0-600 m elevation. Sometimes cultivated. Common in secondary vegetation
CubaPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012; Oviedo Prieto et al., 2012
El SalvadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016
GuatemalaPresentNativePROTA, 2016Petén
HondurasPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Santa Bárbara
NicaraguaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Atlántico Norte, Boaco, Granada, Managua, Matagalpa. 40-500m elev. Tropical forest, road margins, submontane forests.
PanamaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Canal area, Darién, Panamá
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedAcevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentNativeGarcia and Monteiro, 1997; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016Corrientes
BoliviaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Beni, Cochabamba, La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz. Also cultivated. Lowlands, 0-1500 m elevation.
BrazilPresentNativeOviedo Prieto et al., 2012
-AcrePresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-AlagoasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-AmazonasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-BahiaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-CearaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Espirito SantoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-GoiasPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Mato GrossoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Minas GeraisPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-ParaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-ParaibaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-ParanaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-PernambucoPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Rio Grande do SulPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-RondoniaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Santa CatarinaPresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
-Sao PauloPresentNativeAbreu et al., 2014; Flora do Brasil, 2016
-SergipePresentNativeFlora do Brasil, 2016
ColombiaPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Antioquia, Boyacá, Chocó, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Meta, Putumayo, Santander. 0-1500 m elevation
EcuadorPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Native to Amazonian Ecuador but introduced to coastal regions for timber production
ParaguayPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Central
PeruPresentNativeMissouri Botanical Garden, 2016Cusco, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Ucayali
VenezuelaPresent Planted


FijiPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009

History of Introduction and Spread

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Although the species has been introduced outside its native range as an ornamental, for wood products and timber or habitat restoration, there is little data readily available about its introduction. Abreu et al. (2014) report that the species had not spread much in areas where it occurs in Sao Paulo. In Ecuador it is planted for wood production (Heuveldop et al., 1997). Experimental plantations occur in Venezuela (Rosales et al., 2000) and Argentina (Carvalho, 1994).

Risk of Introduction

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S. parahyba is a species of medium to high risk of introduction. It is not considered as a threat to forests as its seedlings do not survive in the shade, it spreads slowly into areas and its reproduction is infrequent (Orwa et al., 2009). Nevertheless, it is a fast growing pioneer species that could inhibit the regeneration of native trees (Abreu et al., 2014). Its large seeds allow the species to germinate and establish in pastures where grasses impede the establishment of small-seeded pioneers (Williamson et al., 2012). Seeds are available in nurseries and over the internet and are advertised as a species to be used for wood production, habitat restoration and as an ornamental, making it highly possible that it could be introduced into suitable tropical areas (Trianoski et al., 2011).


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S. parahyba is a widespread pioneer tree species naturally occurring in four of the five types of Neotropical rainforest environments: Atlantic forest, Amazonian, Andean and Central America forests (Turchetto-Zolet et al., 2012). It is characteristic of lowland, semideciduous to deciduous forests, occurring on plains, hillsides, galley forest, dry land forest, deciduous forest and very rarely in dense primary forests (Garcia and Monteiro, 1997; Orwa et al., 2009). It occurs in river margins that are rarely subjected to flooding (Williamson et al., 2012; Reforestation Southern Bahia, 2016). It can also be found in ruderal habitats, abandoned pastures, and roadsides (Williamson et al., 2012; Encyclopedia of Life, 2016; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). It is common in secondary vegetation (Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). 

Habitat List

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Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Barcode sequence data is available at the Barcode of Life project (BOLDS, 2016). The species showed low genetic variability for the characters studied by Silva Chinelato et al. (2014) in Brazil. 

Reproductive Biology

S. parahyba is a self-incompatible, hermaphroditic species that is pollinated by bees and has wind-dispersed fruits (Turchetto-Zolet et al., 2012). Reported pollinators are: Apis mellifera, Plebeia schrottkyi (syn. Friesella schrottkyi), Paratrigona subnuda, Trigona spinipes, Melipona marginata,Centris labrosa, Centris varia, Xylocopa frontalis and Megachile species (Cortopassi-Laurino and Ramalho, 1988; Imperatriz-Fonseca et al., 1989; Garcia and Monteiro, 1997; Encyclopedia of Life, 2016).

The species can be reproduced vegetatively by cuttings from the stem, although the most common means of reproduction is by seed (Orwa et al., 2009). Propagation by cuttings requires treatment with Naphtyl­Acetic Acid (PROTA, 2016).

The seeds require scarification or thermal shock to break dormancy and promote germination (Pereira de Souza and Válio, 2001; Orwa et al., 2009; Dave’s Garden, 2016).

Physiology and Phenology

S. parahyba is one of the fastest growing tropical tree species reaching up to 20-35 m in height (Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA; 2016). Seedlings can reach 3 m in height after one year, 7-13 m after two years and 18 m after five years (Orwa et al., 2009; Williamson et al., 2012; PROTA; 2016). The species is heliophylous (Abreu et al., 2014); seedlings do not survive in shade or prolonged periods of anoxia (Pereira de Souza and Válio, 2001; Kolb et al., 2002).

The species produces numerous flowers during the dry season after losing almost all of its leaves (Orwa et al., 2009). It is reported as flowering from September to December in South America; and from January to March in Central America. Fruiting is from December to January in South America and from March to April in Central America, ripening until June (Garcia and Monteiro, 1997; Encyclopedia of Life, 2016; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016).

Although it is reported by some as being able to fix nitrogen, it is a non-nodulating legume species (Cernusak et al., 2011; PROTA, 2016). S. parahyba very rarely lives over 40 years (Abreu et al., 2014).

Environmental Requirements

S. parahyba is found in its native range from near sea level to 700 (-900) m altitude, but under cultivation it is found up to 2200 m (PROTA, 2016; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016; Useful Tropical Plants, 2016). The forests where it occurs range from dry, humid to very humid; it will not grow in savanna and xeromorphic forests (Turchetto-Zolet et al., 2012; Missouri Botanical Garden, 2016). It is limited to high light environments, and will not survive in the shade (Williamson et al., 2012).

The species grows best in 20-26°C, but tolerates 9°-30°C. It prefers well drained, moist loam to clay soils with a pH from 4.5 to 7.5 and will grow in soils with low nutrients (Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2016; Useful Tropical Plants, 2016). It can tolerate mild droughts and will not grow in inundated areas (Kolb et al., 2002; PROTA, 2016). It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1200 – 1600 mm, but tolerates 1000 - 1800mm (Useful Tropical Plants, 2016).


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Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
17 -31 0 2000

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 19 23
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 23 27
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 15 20


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall11002400mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Summer

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • infertile

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Ceratocystis fimbriata Pathogen All Stages not specific
Lasiodiplodia pseudotheobromae Pathogen All Stages not specific
Lasiodiplodia theobromae Pathogen All Stages not specific
Mysaromima liquescens Herbivore Stems not specific
Neofusicoccum parvum Pathogen All Stages not specific
Neofusicoccum umdonicola Pathogen All Stages not specific
Neofusicoccum vitifusiforme Pathogen All Stages not specific
Pantophthalmus chuni Herbivore Roots not specific
Quesada gigas Herbivore Roots not specific
Solenopsis saevissima Herbivore Leaves not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Insects reported feeding on S. parahyba are: Mysaromima liquescens, Quesada gigas, Solenopsis saevissima, Pantophthalmus kerteszianus and Pantopthalmus chuni (Lunz et al., 2009; Lunz et al., 2010; Pitta and Wruck, 2014). S. parahyba is susceptible to attack by Acanthoderes jaspidea (Psapharochrus jaspideus), and in Brazil this has been reported as a major pest for this species. Attacks mainly occur during summer to the beginning of autumn, and the risk is higher during the first 4 years. Other pests include: the wood-boring beetle Micrapate brasiliensis; the branch- and stem-girdlers Oncideres dejeani and Oncideres saga; Rhaphiorhynchus pictus; and acarids (Carvalho, 1994).

The following fungi are reported as pathogens that can cause rot, lesions or die-back in S. parahyba: Ceratocystis fimbriata, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, Neofusicoccum parvum, Lasidiplodia pseudotheobromae, Neofusicoccum vitifusiforme and Neofusicoccum umdonicola (Mehl et al., 2014).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Breeding and propagationPropagated to be used for plantations, regeneration and ornamental uses. Yes Yes Reforestation Southern Bahia, 2016; Trianoski et al., 2011
Horticulture Yes Yes Pacific Horticulture, 2016
Internet sales Yes Yes
ResearchAt experimental forest plantations in Brazil for research for agroforestry. Yes Trianoski et al., 2011
Timber trade Yes Yes Grandtner and Chevrette, 2013

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
WindFruits wind-dispersed Yes Turchetto-Zolet et al., 2012

Environmental Impact

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S. parahyba is considered as a threat for the regeneration of species under its canopy in the seasonal semideciduous forests in Sao Paulo, Brazil, dominating the area where it occurs (Abreu et al., 2014). Density, basal area and richness of the regenerating plant community under S.parahyba were remarkably lower than under the equivalent native species or in the understory as a whole.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately


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Economic Value

The wood of S. parahyba is very light wood 320 kg/cubic metre, white-yellowish, soft, surface irregularly lustrous, thick texture, irregular grain, of low durability under natural conditions, sapwood and heartwood not differentiated, imperceptible smell and flavour. The wood is easy to cut and to process, but does not hold nails and screws well. The wood has good physical and mechanical characteristics, it dries and works well, and produces a good quality veneer. The wood presents low hardness and resistance to pressure and also low resistance to fungi, insects and environmental factors in general. Therefore it is not indicated for use as structural wood or external use (Heuveldop et al., 1997). The wood is used for panels, doors, toys, model aircraft, matches, veneers and light boxes (Rizzini, 1977; Jankowsky et al., 1990; Lorenzi, 1992). It is considered excellent for pulp production and short fibre pulp, presenting wood and bark with more than 60% fibre (Correa, 1984). It is also suitable for the manufacture of particleboard. Annual wood production is reported as up to 20 tons per hectare (Orwa et al., 2009).

This species is planted as an ornamental for its flowers, to use in urban areas and street sides, but the trees have brittle branches that will break off easily in the wind (PROTA, 2016). It is recommended to be used for intercropping in coffee plantations because of its light shade (Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2016). The species contains tannin in the bark, which is used to tan leather.

Social benefit

S. parahyba extracts have anti-snake venom properties against Bothrops pauloensis and Crotalus durissus terrificus (Mendes et al. 2008). It is cultivated and used to prepare teas to treat colds, fevers and prevent coughing (Teller and Romero, 2006; Grandtner and Chevrette, 2013). The flowers produce nectar which forms a clear and perfumed honey (Barros, 1960). Seeds are traditionally used as buttons and beads.

Environmental services

The seeds of S. parahyba are a major component of Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) diet (Renton, 2006). Tree cavities of the species are used as shelters by the round-eared bat, Tonatia bidens (Martuschelli, 1995).

Due to its fast growth and tolerance to low fertility of soils, it is recommended as a pioneer species to use for the restoration of woodlands. It is also used for erosion control and to improve soil fertility due to the enormous amount of leaves that are produced by the tree (Orwa et al., 2009; PROTA, 2016). It has been planted in Brazil for restoring degraded areas (Leal Silva et al., 2011).

Uses List

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Animal feed, fodder, forage

  • Forage


  • Agroforestry
  • Erosion control or dune stabilization
  • Revegetation
  • Shade and shelter
  • Soil improvement
  • Wildlife habitat


  • Fuelwood


  • Ornamental

Human food and beverage

  • Honey/honey flora


  • Bark products
  • Beads
  • Carved material
  • Dye/tanning
  • Fibre
  • Miscellaneous materials
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Source of medicine/pharmaceutical
  • Traditional/folklore

Wood Products

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  • Boxes
  • Cases



  • Short-fibre pulp

Wood-based materials

  • Laminated wood
  • Plywood


  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Matches
  • Pencils
  • Toys

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Although the species is recommended for restoring woodlands and amply planted for its wood, almost no information is available regarding its effects on natural habitats or other species.


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Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.


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31/07/2016 Original text by:

Jeanine Vélez-Gavilán, University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

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