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Guru
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Popcorn Tree

05/11/2017 11:47 AM

Down South, along the Eastern seaboard and California, there is an invasive species of tree, called a Chinese Tallow, also know locally as a "popcorn tree". It's Latin name is Sapium Sebiferum. It grows fast, it's leaves are toxic and it steals the nutrients from the soil needed for other native species. Upon reading up on it, I learned that one of it's uses is a source for bio fuel. I never heard that this was being done; maybe it's not cost effective. It would be great if we could get rid of this tree by putting it to good use.

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Guru

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#1

Re: Popcorn tree

05/11/2017 11:51 AM

It would help if people stopped planting these as ornamentals.

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Guru

Join Date: Mar 2007
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#2

Re: Popcorn tree

05/11/2017 11:54 AM

..."It is useful in the production of biodiesel because it is the third most productive vegetable oil producing crop in the world, after algae and oil palm."...

..."The seed's white waxy aril is used in soap making. The seed's inner oil is toxic but has industrial applications.

The nectar is non-toxic, and it has become a major honey plant for beekeepers. The honey is of high quality, and is produced copiously during the month of June, on the Gulf Coast. In the Gulf coast states, beekeepers migrate with their honey bees to good tallow locations near the sea.

The tree is highly ornamental, fast growing and a good shade tree. It is especially noteworthy if grown in areas that have strong seasonal temperature ranges with the leaves becoming a multitude of colours rivaling maples in the autumn.

The tree grows well in urban areas, and is very good for "sidewalk holes" along busy roads with a lot of traffic where most trees will not grow well. It can provide shade to counter the heat island effect of mainly-concrete areas, as well as habitat for urban animals such as lizards and birds."...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triadica_sebifera

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Popcorn tree

05/11/2017 2:54 PM

Printing selectively only the positive comments of the Wikipedia article suggests you are a fan of this species.

Did you know that in Florida, the state from which you hail, Chinese tallow is considered a noxious invasive exotic? It has been on the top (or bottom depending on perspective) 10 least wanted list. A Florida Chinese Tallow Task Force has even been created to deal with the nuisance.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Popcorn tree

05/11/2017 3:59 PM

Haha, South Florida is almost entirely invasive species anymore....and while we're on the subject I don't see anything so great about the native plants....The only trees I can remember seeing in great quantities in my childhood are pine trees and palm trees, of which there several hundred species, the coconut palm being the only cool one, and that under attack from greening or yellowing or whatever....so how much genetic modification is allowed for the plant to still be called native? ...and how is "native" determined anyway, to me it's all a bit sketchy....

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Popcorn tree

05/11/2017 6:24 PM

It isn't so much about upside of individual native plants as it is about the downside of loss of ecosystems/diversity when an invasive exotic is introduced that has no natural predators/pathogens that impede its spread in the area.

Yes, native plants in the wild have blotches. It isn't like in a well kept greenhouse. Things are munching on them.

Look, I have no problem with exotics planted as ornaments, as long as they are not aggressively invasive or care is taken to ensure they don't escape. Chinese Tallow are aggressively invasive and measures necessary to insure they don't escape would have to be extreme. These things produce 100s of thousands of seeds annually for mature trees. Those seeds remain ready to grow for long periods and are easily transportable by water, wind, and birds.

The loss of habitat for native species isn't a price you need to pay just to have some leaves change color. There are native species that can do that....or non invasive exotics......or LEDs.... or maybe some paint?

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Popcorn tree

05/12/2017 2:41 AM

Yes I'm sure the indigenous peoples here felt the same about the European settlers....and perhaps the animals that were here before the indigenous peoples as well, haha...

One day you're saving the planet, the next you're an invasive species....and finally replaced with ugly technology...seems to describe the lifecycle of just about everything ecological...

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Popcorn tree

05/12/2017 5:19 AM

You are probably right. South Florida is f⊙#& ed. No reason to waste any though or resources on ecology down there.

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#13
In reply to #11

Re: Popcorn tree

05/12/2017 9:13 AM

All South Florida needs now is clean beach sand (broken bottles removed), and lots of beer in coolers.

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#19
In reply to #13

Re: Popcorn tree

05/12/2017 1:45 PM

Check, and check...!

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#18
In reply to #10

Re: Popcorn tree

05/12/2017 12:36 PM

These are the only invasive Florida species that bother me...well also snow birds.

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#5

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/11/2017 4:39 PM

That tree reminds me of someone: It grows fast, it's leaves are toxic and it steals the nutrients from the soil needed for other native species.

I just can't quite put my finger on who they are, but I think the address is or was going to be Washington, D.C. (otherwise known as Foggy Bottoms).

I expect that is one high BTU/lb son of a gun. How bad are they on chain saws?

Next question: Do they sucker up with 20 more from the sawn stump?

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/11/2017 6:30 PM

They aren't really that bad on chain saws though a little damp, IIRC.

They do sprout suckers in number consistently from any stump. They will also sprout suckers after fire even if top-killed.

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#8

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/11/2017 10:03 PM

Popcorn trees were introduced into the U.S. around 200 years ago, according to Wikipedia.

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#9

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/11/2017 11:06 PM

I read Wiki - no mention of the source of the nickname "popcorn tree".

Maybe the shape of all the seeds??

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#12
In reply to #9

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 9:12 AM

Use Chinese Tallow Tree as a search term.

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#14
In reply to #9

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 10:26 AM

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 10:45 AM

Apparently, this little guy likes them:

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#16

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 11:09 AM

It grows on my property, but is conspicuously subdued compared to Brazilian Pepper, some that I have cut to a stump over a dozen times, shunning the recommended poisons, now becoming questionable in long term eradication efforts.

One of the earliest arrivals was the water hyacinth, now at 120 - 130 years on scene. There are several cases of them pushing over wooden bridges by stacking against the up current side during storm flows of the creek. Now, from the Feds on down, the dozen or so aquatic herbicides are slowly taking down the hyacinths and most everything else.

Most of the invasive stuff in Florida is quite temperature sensitive, so you young folks UpNawth better start keeping an eye out as the heat builds up.

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 11:14 AM

Maybe, but we don't want them to go anoxic while they wait and hold.

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#20

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 4:43 PM

It would be great if we could get rid of this tree by putting it to good use.

If a good use was discovered, they would plant more of them.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Popcorn Tree

05/12/2017 9:04 PM

Actually - we would over-crop them to extinction!!

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