Native to tropical America, this species was introduced on La Réunion as an ornamental plant in 1856. It then naturalized itself in the region of Saint -Denis, colonizing and invading the low-lying slopes, especially on the west coast of the island to the extent of becoming very invasive in Saint-Leu. As a matter of fact, it is still widely planted to decorate gardens on most part of the island.
We can identify the Bois caraïbe with its finely toothed leaves, composed and opposite to each other, its bright yellow flower, shaped as a trumpet with a tube of 3 to 5 cm marked with a red line. Its smell brings in mind that of vanilla. This shrub can reach 10 meters of height.
Since it is a decorative plant, it has become a major plague, mainly in South Africa, in the United States, in Argentina, Australia, in the Pacific islands (including Hawaii and Nouvelle Calédonie), and in the Mascareignes and Mayotte.
By forming dense thickets which restrict access to light, nutrients and water to native plants, it unfortunately deters their development. The Bois caraïbe is presently expanding at a fast rate that in pastures, it is developping into a serious competing species to forage