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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334692

Research Project: Watershed-scale Assessment of Pest Dynamics and Implications for Area-wide Management of Invasive Insects and Weeds

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: Foliar lifespan, phenology and seasonal dynamics of the invasive shrub Schinus terebinthifolia

item Hogg, Brian
item Stokes, Keith
item Rayamajhi, Min
item GEIGER, JOHN - Florida International University
item Pratt, Paul

Submitted to: Invasive Plant Science and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2020
Publication Date: 3/10/2020
Citation: Hogg, B.N., Stokes, K.H., Rayamajhi, M.B., Geiger, J., Pratt, P.D. 2020. Foliar lifespan, phenology and seasonal dynamics of the invasive shrub Schinus terebinthifolia. Invasive Plant Science and Management. 60(3)212-220.

Interpretive Summary: Brazilian peppertree is an invasive tree from South America that is problematic in Florida, southern California, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii, and has spread to over 20 countries. The goal of this research was to provide information about the development of Brazilian peppertree that would be useful in managing this invasive weed in Florida. Over a period of 16 months we measured the lifespan of leaves, the timing of leaf development and loss, and the survival of leaves that emerged in either spring, summer or autumn. Although leaves are present on Brazilian peppertree throughout the year, most leaves were produced from April to September, and leaf loss occurred in late winter, in February and March. Leaves lived relatively long (>140 days on average). Leaves that appeared in spring and summer lived longer than those that emerged in autumn. The results of this study suggest that future releases of natural enemies for Brazilian peppertree should occur in spring and summer, when newly growing leaves would be most vulnerable to insect attack.

Technical Abstract: Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia Raddi; Anacardiaceae) is a dioecious tree native to South America that has become an invasive weed in Florida, southern California, southern Arizona, Texas, and Hawaii and has been naturalized in over 20 countries. We examined leaf phenology of S. terebinthifolia over a period of 16 months to provide insights into the foliar dynamics of this weed in Florida. We document leaf lifespan, the seasonality of leaf development and abscission, and the survivorship of leaves that emerged during either spring, summer or autumn. Average leaf lifespan was relatively long (>140 days at all sites), and leaf phenology followed the seasons closely. Although S. terebinthifolia possesses leaves throughout the year, leaf production was greatest from April to September, and most leaves were lost in February and March. Spring- and summer-emerging leaves were also longer-lived than leaves produced during autumn. Results suggest that the sap-sucking and leaf-feeding agents of S. terebinthifolia that are currently under consideration would be most effective in spring and summer, when vulnerable, newly growing leaf tissue is most plentiful.