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Rosewood (Tipuana tipu)

Rosewood is a hardy ornamental tree with the potential to degrade Australian ecosystems.

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Biosecurity duty

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How does this weed affect you?

Rosewood has been planted around the world as an ornamental street tree and garden plant. It is valued as a shade tree, a source of ‘rosewood’ timber and, in some circumstances, fodder for stock. Rosewood is drought resistant, and frost and salt tolerant. These characteristics, in addition to its ability to produce many seeds and achieve high germination rates, make rosewood a serious threat to native plants.

What does it look like?

Rosewood is a tree growing up to 10 m in height in Australia, with a main trunk and branches forming a distinct elevated crown. It has a large canopy cover, often greater than its height, and is consequently favoured as a shade tree.

It has reddish brown fissured bark (has narrow openings or splits).

The leaves are divided into 9 – 29 leaflets. Each leaflet is oval shaped, 30–50 mm long and 12–20 mm wide, with a notch at the tip. The leaflets are in pairs but alternate and their is a single terminal leaflet.

The bright yellow flowers (up to 22 mm in diameter) occur in leaf-less racemes (an inflorescence of stalked flowers with the youngest at the top).

The distinctive winged fruit is sometimes referred to as a ‘helicopter’, due to its spinning propeller like action as it falls. The spin is created by the swollen base, which contains one to three seeds. Depending on the wind velocity and distance above the ground, rosewood seeds can be carried considerable distances away from the parent plant.

Where is it found?

In Australia it was originally planted in the 1970s in Queensland’s suburban gardens and streets. It grows in nearly all Australian states but has become invasive in north eastern NSW and many regions of Qld.

Rosewood is native to southern Bolivia, northern Argentina, southern Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay.

How does it spread?

The single greatest reason for rosewood’s spread is the propagation and planting of the tree by householders and pastoralists. It has a prolific seeding capability (up to 10,000 seeds per plant), coupled with wind and water dispersal mechanisms (when near waterways), allows it to establish widely. The winged seed may travel a substantial distance from the tree with its helicopter style movement, and the decomposed seed then spirals down into the ground to become established. In pastoral areas cattle will eat new growth and thus kill rosewood seedlings. It is not known if passage through the cattle gut assists germination, as it does in other species. The fast growth of the seedling allows it to establish quickly, up to 4 m in its first two years of growth. Rosewood does not spread vegetatively.

What type of environment does it grow in?

In its native range in South America the plant grows in a subtropical environment, with generally warm temperatures year round. However, rosewood grows well in most conditions, hence its naturalisation and cultivation throughout Australia.

Rosewood will survive in temperatures down to minus 6.5ºC, and is well able to resist frost conditions. It invades disturbed sites such as roadsides and creekbanks, and also grows in woodland and open grassland areas where grazing is absent.

Acknowledgements

CRC for Australian Weed Management: Trevor Armstrong (Qld DNRM), Sandy Robertson (Gatton Shire Council, Qld), Rachel McFadyen (Weeds CRC), Shane Campbell (Qld DNRM / Weeds CRC).

More information

Control

While rosewood has naturalised in many areas, infestations are still at manageable levels. Any new outbreaks should be reported immediately to your local council weed officer. Do not try to control rosewood without their expert assistance. Control effort that is poorly performed or not followed up can actually help spread the weed and worsen the problem.

Herbicide options

See Using herbicides for more information.

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 200 g/L (Starane™)
Rate: 35 mL per L diesel/kerosene
Comments: Basal bark
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Fluroxypyr 333 g/L (Starane™ Advanced)
Rate: 21 mL per L diesel/kerosene
Comments: Basal bark
Withholding period: 7 days.
Herbicide group: I, Disruptors of plant cell growth (synthetic auxins)
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: One part product to 1.5 parts water
Comments: Cut stump, drill, frill axe or injection
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L with Metsulfuron-methyl 600 g/kg (Various products)
Rate: 1:1.5 glyphosate to water + 1 g metsulfuron to 1 L wate
Comments: Stem injection
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate

Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The distinctive winged fruit is sometimes referred to as a ‘helicopter’. (Photo: Sheldon Navie, University of Queensland.)

Rosewood has been planted all over the world as an ornamental street tree and garden plant. (Photo: Sheldon Navie, University of Queensland.)

The flowers of rosewood are pollinated by bees. (Photo: Noel Richards.)

Rosewood flower (Photo: Noel Richards.)

The bright yellow flowers of rosewood. (Photo: Sheldon Navie, University of Queensland.)

The tips of rosewood leaves are characteristically ‘buttock-shaped’. (Photo: Noel Richards.)

Rosewood has reddish-brown fissured bark. (Photo: Noel Richards.)

Rosewood ( Tipuana tipu ) Rosewood is a hardy ornamental tree with the potential to degrade Australian ecosystems. Profile Control Biosecurity duty Profile How does this weed