Biological Control of Brazilian Peppertree, an invasive noxious weed found primarily in Florida – The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking public comments on a draft environmental assessment “… relative to permitting the release of [the insects] Calophya latiforceps and Pseudophilothrips ichini for the biological control of Brazilian peppertree, a significant invasive weed, within the contiguous United States. Based on the environmental assessment and other relevant data, [APHIS has] reached a preliminary determination that the release of these control agents will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment …”
Document Title: The title of the February 27, 2019 USDA APHIS Federal Register Notice is “Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment for the Release of Biological Control of Brazilian Peppertree”
Organization: The February 27, 2019 Federal Register Notice was signed on February 21, 2019 by Kevin Shea who is the Administrator of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Source: February 27, 2019 USDA APHIS Federal Register Notice
Comments Due By: March 29, 2019
Web site: The February 27, 2019 USDA APHIS Federal Register Notice is posted at
The USDA APHIS Environmental Assessment is posted at
Contact: Questions may be directed to Dr. Colin D. Stewart who is the Assistant Director for Pests, Pathogens, and Biocontrol Permits Permitting and Compliance Coordination office of the USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) unit in Riverdale, Maryland at 301 851 2237; e-mail: Colin.Stewart@APHIS.USDA.gov
Summary: The following information is taken from the February 27, 2019 USDA APHIS Federal Register Notice:
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Brazilian peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia) is an evergreen perennial shrub or small tree found in various southern States but grows primarily in Florida. This noxious weed poses a serious threat to biodiversity in many ecosystems and invades areas such as canal banks, fallow farmlands, and natural communities. Brazilian peppertree’s invasiveness can be attributed to its tolerance to fire, drought, and shade. Since the late 1800s, Brazilian peppertree has been introduced as an ornamental plant into many tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Brazilian peppertree was introduced in Florida and Hawaii as an attractive ornamental and source for honeybee nectar. The dried fruits of Brazilian peppertree have been used as a spice for cooking and are sold in the United States and elsewhere. In the United States, Brazilian peppertree occurs in Florida, Texas, California, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The insects Calophya latiforceps, “jumping plant-lice,” and Pseudophilothrips ichini were chosen as potential biological control agents. Both agents are expected to reduce the severity of infestations of Brazilian peppertree, and both are known to be highly host specific due to their intimate relationships with their host plants.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS’) review and analysis of the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed release are documented in detail in an environmental assessment (EA) entitled “Field Release of the Insects Calophya latiforceps (Hemiptera: Calophyidae) and Pseudophilothrips ichini (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) for Classical Biological Control of Brazilian Peppertree in the Contiguous United States” (January 2018). We are making the EA available to the public for review and comment. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before the date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this notice.
Go to the USDA APHIS Notice for additional information and details.
This article (#45533) was distributed by e-mail on February 27, 2019 to those whose names are on the FIEN, LLC Subject Matter Distribution Lists for Agricultural Research; Crop Protection; Invasive Species; Risk Assessment and Communication