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Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo)

Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo)

Nandina domestica, often called heavenly bamboo or just nandina, is on Florida Exotic Plant Council’s Category I invasive species list. It was introduced to the United States in 1804 as an ornamental plant because of its showing fruit and foliage (MacDonald et al. 2008). It has become invasive though because it grows quickly and reproduces both via seeds and vegetatively. It has been known to grow in conservation areas, woodlands and floodplains (MacDonald et al. 2008).

Heavenly bamboo is a woody shrub in the Berberidaceae family. It is evergreen that can grow to eight feet in height and reproduces both by seed and vegetatively from suckers and rhizomes (MacDonald et al. 2008). Leaves are 10 to 20 inches long, alternate, tri-pinnately compound, and turn from red-bronze to green to red again in the fall season.  Leaflets are 1 to 2 inches in length and ovate shaped (MacDonald et al. 2008). Inner bark is yellow. Flowers of Nandina domestica are white and are at the end of stems in panicles. Fruits are red and attract birds and wildlife, which help disperse this plant (MacDonald et al. 2008).

Management strategies include mechanical, preventative and cultural mechanisms. There are no known biological agents for Nandina domestica and limited research about chemical means of management, although glyphosate or triclopyr is likely to work (MacDonald et al. 2008). The best way to manage the N. domestica is to prevent planting and remove existing plants by hand-pulling the weed before seeds are produced. Often, alternative plants are available to plant that are native to Florida (MacDonald et al. 2008).