- Description: This species is a tree, growing to 3-12m tall, with green foliage.
- Origin and Worldwide Distribution: It is native to Mexico and Central America. It has become invasive in India, Israel, Jordan, Yemen, many countries in Africa, Australia, and French Polynesia.
- Potential or Known Impacts: This species encroaches onto grassland to create thorny woodland. This leads to a decrease in native flora and fauna species. As it can form dense thickets, access routes and irrigation channels can become blocked, leading to further biodiversity issues. The thickets can also cause a problem for soil, as loss of grasses and herbs under these trees can promote soil erosion. This species has deep-reaching roots, which compete with native flora for limited water and nutrient resources.
- How did it/could it get here? It has and still could be spread by man, either unintentionally or intentionally, through many of its expanded range. It could also spread via animal means when in introduced areas.
- If already present in Ireland where? Not present in Ireland
- Methods for Prevention: EU-level action includes a ban on sales and any planting or keeping, including in aquaria, as well as rapid eradication of any new populations to avoid the excessively high costs associated with its management later on.
- Current Legislative Position (Listed on 14 August 2019) This species must not intentionally be brought into the Union; kept; bred; transported to, from or within the United Kingdom, unless for the transportation to facilities in the context of eradication; placed on the market; used or exchanged; permitted to reproduce, grown or cultivated; or released into the environment. For further queries, you can contact the Non Native Invasive Species Team in the Northern Ireland Environment Agency on 028 9056 9558.