A native plant in North America, found from Texas throughout the southeast states to Florida and North Carolina.
A perennial shrub that reproduces from seeds. The seeds are exceptionally toxic to livestock, and large numbers of cattle have been recorded as killed after eating these plants. The plants can be found in most open areas of pastures, meadows, and disturbed open areas.
Mature plants can be well over 12 feet tall as open, well-branched bushes. Branches grow perpendicular to the main stem, growing out laterally and drooping as they develop the large seed pods. These are conspicuous and hang downward, giving the overall plant an interesting “Christmas Tree” look. Leaves may be a foot or more in length and are divided into a dozen or more elongate-oval leaflets. The small flowers grow in racemes that arise from the axils of the leaves, but give way to the huge seed pods. These are lighter green than the leaves, pointed at both ends and flattened, with only 2 large seeds per pod.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Physical removal may be effective for individual plants, or a systemic herbicide that will effectively kill all plant parts for larger infestations.