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Cupaniopsis anacardiodes (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)
Cupaniopsis anacardiodes (photo courtesy of Richard Shiell)

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Zone
Zones 16-24, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Ample WaterRegular WaterMinimal Water
Ample, Moderate, Minimal

Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Carrot Wood
Sapindaceae
Evergreen, Trees

This tough Australian native is loved by some, loathed by others. It has a slow to moderate growth rate to 40 ft. tall and 30 ft. wide. Its glossy dark green leaves are divided into 6 to 10 leathery, 4-in.-long leaflets.

Carrot wood tolerates seacoast conditions, heat, drought, and poor soils. It is generally neat in appearance, but as the trees approach maturity, they may produce marble-size, leathery yellow to orange fruit that splits but does not squash or stain. Some trees fruit heavily enough to be an annoyance, while others never fruit, for reasons not understood. One theory is that young trees selected for unusual vigor and broader-than-usual leaflets will produce less fruit than others. Another is that trees under stress tend to develop more female flowers, hence more fruit. It is also believed that thinning out the tree every 2 years or so will result in production of young, nonfruiting wood. In its younger years, it makes an attractive, well-behaved tree. Consider underplanting with a groundcover deep enough to swallow the fruit drop, but be prepared to pull volunteer seedlings when they appear. Many landscape architects feel that the tree’s virtues outweigh its faults.

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