Coffee Bush – Leuceana leucocephala
Habit: Tree to 6m high, creamy flower balls, large brown seedpods and hard black seeds.
Spread: Animals spread the seeds by eating seed pods. Seed spread in water and on muddy tyres.
Coffee Bush was originally promoted as fodder for cattle. It produces loads of seed pods which are apparantly very tasty to cows. Unfortunatley, this has promoted their spread as the seeds remain viable after passing through the gut. Coffee bush forms thickets and quickly shades out other plants creating a monostand of coffee bush that can continue to spread. This photo was taken in Kununurra, where a large area is now completely dominated by Coffee Bush.
Coffee bush is also sometimes called “Lead Tree” or “Bullock Feed”. The seed pods start off green and as they mature they become light to dark brown. The hard seeds contained in the pods have considerable longevity in the soil. Like wattle trees, fire and soil distirbance can activate the soil stored seeds and promote rapid germination.
(Photo: Louise Williams)
Flowers can be single or in pairs. Coffee Bush is opportunistic and flowers and seeds all year round when the conditions are favourable. As a result, many coffee bush infestations can be found along waterways or in wet areas such as swamps, springs and monsoon vine thickets.
(Photo: Noel Wilson)
Coffee bush incursion on the edge of vine thicket vegetation at James Price Point in the West Kimberley
(Photo: Tim Willing)