Pisonia umbellifera
Common Name: bird-catcher tree 
Type: Tree
Family: Nyctaginaceae
Native Range: Mauritius, Australia, New Zealand, Japan
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 10.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White to pink, green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual, Hedge, Flowering Tree
Flower: Fragrant
Attracts: Birds
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil


Easily grown in medium to dry, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of drought and dry soils once established. Hardy in Zones 10 and above.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pisonia umbellifera, commonly known as bird-catcher tree or bird lime tree, is an evergreen tree found in moist, open forests and thickets in Southeast Asia, Australia, and Oceania. The elliptic foliage can reach up to 8" long and 3" wide and is held mostly in clusters a the ends of the branchlets. The terminal clusters of small, pinkish-white, fragrant flowers bloom seasonally. The flowers are followed by dark brown, narrowly cylindrical fruits that are covered in a sticky mucous. Insects and small birds can get caught in the exudate and are unable to escape. Larger animals can disperse the seed across great distances. This is a fast growing tree that can reach up to 50' tall with a 30' spread at maturity.

Genus name honors William Piso, 17th century Dutch physician and naturalist.

The specific epithet umbellifera means "umbel-bearing", possibly in reference to the shape of the flower clusters.

The common names refer to the ability of the sticky seeds to trap and kill birds.


No major pest or disease problems. The fruit will stick to anything that brushes up against it and, depending on where the tree is placed, can be quite a nuisance.


Suitable for use as a screen or pruned into a hedge in tropical or seaside gardens. Do not site in a location close to walkways, driveways, or other highly trafficked areas.