Myoporum laetum

Myoporum laetum_JM DiTomaso
Photo courtesy Joseph DiTomaso

Common names: ngaio tree; false sandalwood; mousehole tree

Myoporum laetum (myoporum) 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. Myoporum has escaped cultivation in many areas, and is commonly found near urban areas. Myoporum 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. Myoporum 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: Watch

Cal-IPC Assessment

Plant Risk Assessment - An evaluation of the potential for a plant to be invasive in California.

Cal-IPC Rating: Moderate