Marion County residents and landowners should be aware of this highly toxic and invasive tree. The tung oil tree (Aleurites fordii) produces attractive blooms but all parts of the plant are toxic to livestock and humans. One seed can kill a person. Some people suffer from rashes simply by touching the leaves.
Introduced for tung oil production and as an ornamental tree, the tung tree can be found in various parts of the state, including Marion County. The tree is invasive and spreads by seed and roots. Tung trees can grow up to 40 feet tall, the bark is smooth, and the heart-shaped leaves can grow up to 6 inches wide. The blooms are white with a dark pink or rose-colored center. Removing the tree is highly recommended.
Avoid planting tung trees. Remove saplings by hand and trash fruit. For mature trees, cut the stump close to the ground. Within 1 minute spray cut stump with a 50% triclopyr solution. Always follow the label instructions.
For more information, contact your UF/IFAS Extension Service Marion County at 352-671-8400 or visit http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/plant-directory/aleurites-fordii/