Bryant is again the author of today’s entry. He writes:
A tip of the hat to Priscilla Burcher (aka Priscilla Burcher@Flickr) for today’s image of Bocconia frutescens (commonly, parrot weed or plume poppy), a tree-like shrub that grows to 6 meters tall. Bocconia frutescens is a member of the Papaveraceae (poppy family) and is native to Mexico, Central and South America, as well as some islands in the Caribbean (including Jamaica and Puerto Rico). However, it has been introduced to regions outside its native range, where it has earned a reputation of being weedy and invasive.
Non-native populations of Bocconia frutescens on several of the Hawai`ian Islands have been observed to grow extremely rapidly on disturbed sites; their large leaves quickly form a dense canopy that shades out native flora. However, since Bocconia frutescens doesn’t exhibit these weedy/invasive characteristics in its native range, it is thought that there are likely co-evolved biological controls for this species in its native habitat. If such biological controls do exist for this species, they may prove to be useful in the eradication of its non-native populations. See: Bocconia frutescens Distribution on the Island of Hawai`i (PDF) for more information on this declared noxious weed in Hawai`i.
Bocconia frutescens is known to grow at elevations from sea level to 3250 meters, and tends to prefer open sites with well-drained soil. Its profuse panicles of flowers are largely wind-pollinated and produce copious amounts of seed. The pulpy arils are mainly dispersed by birds. For more information on this species in its native range, see this excellent factsheet Bocconia frutescens (PDF).