Source: California Invasive Plant Council


URL of this page: http://www.cal-ipc.org/landscaping/dpp/plantpage.php

Don't Plant a Pest

Trees of the Southern California region

Invasive plants are listed in red boxes. Alternatives are listed below in green.
Invasive plants that are also a fire hazard are identified by this symbol: 

Invasive! Do Not Plant! Invasive!

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myoporum
Myoporum laetum
Invades along the coast from Sonoma County to San Diego. Forms dense stands with no other vegetation. Can cover large areas. Spread by birds. Leaves and fruits are toxic to wildlife and livestock. Burns easily. Doesn't typically spread in interior areas.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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Brazilian pepper, California pepper or Peruvian pepper
Schinus terebinthifolius or Schinus molle
Pepper trees are native to South America (despite the fact that Peruvian peppertree is sometimes called California peppertree). Seeds are transported by birds and mammals into natural areas. The aggressive growth of peppers enables them to displace native trees and form dense thickets in natural areas. They produce undesirable suckering and sprout unwanted seedlings. A serious problem in southern California. Less of a problem in the San Francisco Bay Area and Central Valley, but care should be taken if planting near wildlands.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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tree of heaven
Ailanthus altissima
Although not commonly sold in nurseries, this tree is sometimes "shared" among gardeners. Tree-of-heaven produces abundant root sprouts that create dense thickets and displace native vegetation. These root sprouts can be produced as far as 50 feet away from the parent tree. In California, it is most abundant along the coast and Sierra foothills, as well as along streams. A single tree can produce up to a million seeds per year.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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blue gum eucalyptus
Eucalyptus globulus
Found along the coast from Humboldt to San Diego and in the Central Valley. Most invasive in coastal locations. Easily invades native plant communities, causing declines in native plant and animal populations. Fire departments throughout Southern California recommend against using eucalyptus trees for landscaping because they are extremely flammable.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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Russian olive
Elaeagnus angustifolia
Found throughout California. Able to spread long distances with the help of birds and mammals. Invades river and stream corridors, pushing out native willows and cottonwoods. Reduces water levels. Provides poor wildlife habitat. Serious invader in other western states.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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saltcedar
Tamarix spp.
A serious invader throughout California and southwestern states. Uses excessive amounts of water, increases soil salinity, changes water courses. Diminishes wildlife habitat, and increases fire hazard. Not commonly sold but still occasionally available.
Invasive!   Do Not Plant!   Invasive!

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edible fig
Ficus carica
Can be a problem in the San Francisco Bay area, the Central Valley, and southern California. May be spread by birds and deer, as well as by vegetation fragments. Can dominate stream and riverside habitat.
Key to plant care
Try these plants instead

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Australian willow
Geijera parvifolia
full sunlow water
Evergreen tree reaches a height of 25 to 30 feet tall, with 3 to 6 inch long, narrow, medium green colored leaves. Its main branches sweep up and out, while the smaller branches tend to hang down.

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California bay
Umbellularia californica
full sunpart sunlow water
Grows up to 60 feet tall. Evergreen, aromatic, native from the California mountains into Oregon. Excellent as a screen, hedge, or background planting.

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California sycamore
Platanus racemosa
full sunpart sunlow water
Very attractive deciduous tree with smooth, pale bark. Fast growing up to 75 feet tall, California native tree. Requires water when young, but drought tolerant once established. Can be found growing wild throughout California in creeks, canyons and drainages. Makes a great tree for landscaping because it can tolerates excess water and grows well adjacent to or inside an irrigated lawn. Do not confuse this plant with its sister species London plane tree (Platanus acerifolia). Platanus acerifolia is intentionally NOT RECOMMENDED as an alternative because of its ability to hybridize with locally native California sycamores (Platanus racemosa) and negatively impact wild populations.

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fern pine
Podocarpus gracilor
full sunpart sundrought
Evergreen tree 20 to 60 feet tall. Makes an excellent street tree or individual specimen in a park setting. One of the most pest-free trees, able to tolerate a variety of soil conditions and temperatures. Can also be used as a hedge or screen plant. Many species and varieties are available at nurseries.

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chitalpa
XChitalpa tashkentensis
full sunlow water
Chitalpa makes a great street tree with its compact size and beautiful white or pink showy flowers. It is drought tolerant and sterile. No messy seed pods. Grows 20ft. to 30ft. tall.

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coast live oak
Quercus agrifolia
full sunlow water
Evergreen tree that can reach 40 ft. tall and 20 ft. wide. Native to California, drought tolerant, and attracts many birds and butterflies to your garden.
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