Native to tropical areas of the United States and Latin America, and present as an introduced plant in Hawaii. In the U.S. it occurs sporadically in Arizona, Texas, and the southeast.
This is a perennial shrub or tree, capable of growing over 30 feet in height with a dense and sprawling habit. Thick groves of the tree occur that crowd out more desirable vegetation, and plants may be found in almost any disturbed habitat. While the various plant parts are used as a high-protein food for cattle, other kinds of animals may suffer loss of hair if they feed on it. Reproduction is from seeds.
Mature plants are shrubby trees, with thick, strong, thorn-less trunks and stems. The foliage is dense, and leaves are pinnately compound, divided into up to 30 leaflets that are themselves divided in sub-leaflets. The flowers are white globes about 1.5 inches in diameter and occurring on long stalks. The flower head is composed of a dense cluster of long stamens that arise from the many flowers below. The seed pods are very large and flat, up to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, with up to 25 seeds per pod.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Trees can be killed with a systemic herbicide, but physical removal of the dead vegetation will still be necessary if the land is to be cleared.