Myoporum laetum

Myoporum laetum_JM DiTomaso
Photo: Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: ngaio tree; false sandalwood; mousehole tree

Myoporum laetum (ngaio tree) is an evergreen shrub or small tree (family Myoporaceae) found along the coast of California and in the San Francisco Bay region. It favors coastal areas, woodlands and riparian areas. This landscape ornamental has white flowers with purple dots and reddish-purple fruits. Ngaio tree has escaped cultivation in many areas, and is commonly found near urban areas. It is native to New Zealand. It may crowd out native plants, growing to form dense stands. It is susceptible to damage from the introduced myoporum thrips (Klambothrips myopori; Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae), which is believed to have slowed its spread.  A recently introduced thrips-resistant cultivar (Clean n Green) has also been evaluated as potentially invasive. Ngaio tree foliage contains toxic chemical compounds that can cause fatal liver damage in livestock, so grazing is not a control option. Mature plants are commonly treated by cutting at ground level and painting the stump with an herbicide.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate?

CDFA Rating: None?


Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Does not include management information.

Weed Management Notes

  • Management Notes - Information on management techniques and effectiveness from the University of California Cooperative Extension’s Weed Research & Information Center.

Cal-IPC Newsletter Articles

Cal-IPC Symposium Presentations

Presentations are linked where available. Where a presentation is not available, find more information by reading the abstract in the Cal-IPC Symposia Archive.

Other Myoporum laetum Information

  • CalPhotos - Images of plants taken mostly in California.
  • Calflora - Distribution map and records of this species in California.
  • CalWeedMapper - Distribution map of this species in California with ability to determine regional priorities.
  • EDDMapS - Distribution of this species in North America.
  • GBIF - Global distribution information.
  • Jepson Interchange - Information on this plant's taxonomy, biology, and distribution from UC Berkeley's Jepson Herbarium.
  • USDA PLANTS Database - Information on identification and distribution, with links to websites in individual states.
  • The Plant List - Global taxonomic resource and collaborative clearinghouse from Kew Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Missouri Botanic Garden and others.
  • Additional photos

    Myoporum laetum_ngaio tree_Jutta Burger_cropped
    Myoporum laetum (ngaio tree) fruits. Photo: Jutta Burger
    Myoporum laetum_flowers_copyright2008_NealKramer
    Myoporum laetum (ngaio tree) flowers. Photo: &#169 2008 Neal Kramer
    Myoporum laetum_infestation (San Mateo Co.)_copyright2010_NealKramer
    Myoporum laetum (ngaio tree) infestation (San Mateo Co.). Photo: &#169 2010 Neal Kramer