Cestrum nocturnum (night-blooming jasmine) HPWRA Score: 17 High-Risk Family: Solanaceae
Impacts: Forms dense thickets, shade tolerant, is self-compatible, reproduces vegetatively, matures quickly, and is unpalatable to grazing animals. This plant has been observed growing in native koa forests, preventing new koa seedlings from establishing. It is found thriving in areas where there are no homes! Birds, attracted to the white pea-sized fruit, eat the fruit containing viable seed and fly away where they excrete the seed which survives passage through the birds gut. It is very hard to control in a landscape once established. Considered one of the Hawai’i’s worst invasive plants.
Description: Fast growing, woody, sprawling shrub that can grow 6′-20′ tall. Branches are often long and curve downward with greenish colored bark. Flowers are tubular, white and highly fragrant at night.The leaves are shiny, alternate, and elliptical shaped that can get up to 6″ long. The fruit are white and pea-sized with a styrofoam-like texture, each containing 10 seeds.
Comments from green industry professionals: “Extremely invasive”, “I don’t grow it because it has a bad reputation”, “Too much seed-weedy”, “Purchased from local nursery before I was aware of its invasiveness potential.Plants were removed and destroyed”, “Seems very invasive even in areas where there are no homes so must spread easily, and appears very shade tolerant. I have seen thickets of it.”, “some people are severely allergic to the scent”, and “All vines are a problem here”.