University of Redlands

Common Name: Carrotwood

Scientific Name: Cupaniopsis anacardioides

Family: Sapindaceae


Habit: The Carrotwood can grow up to 40 feet and have a spread of 30 feet and grow 12 to 24 inches per year 2. It is described as a tree with a low canopy and evergreen foliage.habit.png

Figure 1. The overall habit of a Carrotwood tree7

Leaves: Leaves are a dark green color with a glossy appearance and a leathery texture. They are even pinnately and compound and the leaves are at a length of 4 inches and at a width of 3 inches with long oval leaflets or oblong leaflets. On each compound, there are about 4-12 leaflets. The sides of the leaves are smooth with the tips being slightly rounded.3leaf.jpg

Figure 2. Close up of a Carrotwood leaf9

Twigs and Bark: Carrotwood has gray outer bark that has a rather smooth texture. The inner bark layer that is orange. This tree is typically has a single trunk. Twigs are thin and a brownish-gray color.3twigs.png

Figure 3. Close up image of Carrotwood twigs11


Figure 4. Image showing both the outer and inner layers of bark8

Flowers and Fruits: Flowers bloom in winter and have a white color and the tree is monoecious. They are in branched clusters measuring up to 14 inches and have five petals and 6-8 stamens. The fruit grows in the summer and has an orange/yellow capsule that can be between a quarter of an inch to half an inch in size and grows in clusters.3flowers.jpg

Figure 5. Close up image the Carrotwood’s flowers10fruit.jpg

Figure 6. Close up image of the Carrotwood’s fruit.4

Where it’s from

Native range: Australia, Irian Jaya (Indonesia), and Papua New Guinea

Ecological notes: Carrotwood can pose an ecological threat, especially to coastal ecosystems. Carrotwood is an invasive species, causing other native species of plants to die out, When the native species are no longer there, this affects the coastal ecosystems since they rely on natural erosion control provided by their native species of plants (like mangroves) which Carrotwood cannot provide.6 The brightly colored fruit is attractive to birds, so the main dispersal method is through this. They are both pollinated by bees in their native range and in Florida (the most common location for Carrotwoods to grow outside of their native range).

What we use it for

Carrotwood is used for aesthetic reasons because the fruit and tree wood doesn’t provide any use and it doesn’t create excessive litter. It is described as an undemanding plant to take care of and is relatively easy to raise for those reasons.


  1. Carroll, J. (2018, April 4). Carrotwood Tree Information: Tips On Carrotwood Tree Care In Landscapes. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from
  2. Carrotwood. (2012, October 12). Retrieved February 12, 2020, from
  3. Cupaniopsis anacardioides. (2018). Retrieved April 3, 2020, from
  4. Deane, G. (n.d.). Carrotwood, Tuckeroo. photograph. Retrieved from 
  5. Hauser, S. (2007). Carrotwood (Cupaniopsis anacardioides). photograph. Retrieved from 
  6. Lockhart, C. (2005, May 20). Fact Sheet: Carrotwood. Retrieved February 12, 2020, from
  7. Murray, A. (n.d.). Carrotwood. photograph. Retrieved from 
  8. Normans, George, & Sortomme. (n.d.). Cupaniopsis anacardioides / Carrot Wood. photograph. Retrieved from
  9. Ritter, M., Mark, W., & Reimer, J. (n.d.). Cupaniopsis anacardioides - leaves-close-up . photograph. Retrieved from
  10. Ritter, M., Mark, W., & Reimer, J. (n.d.). Cupaniopsis anacardioides - flowers-close-up. Photograph.
  11. Starr, F., & Starr, K. (2018). 5285064. photograph. Retrieved from 
  12. Tree Detail. (n.d.). Retrieved February 12, 2020, from


Bianca Sandoval ‘22, BIOL 238: Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, Spring 2020