This tree is on the side of my South Florida house.

The trunk is really thin. The diameter can't be more than three inches.

I haven't measured the tree, but it's gotta be about 10-12 feet tall and definitely growing.

I'm not sure how old the tree is. It was there when I bought the house almost a year ago. It was probably only 6 feet tall back then.

The leaves are long, dark green and mostly equal in size. It looks like all the leaf clusters are more or less the same.

Photos below:

Amate tree Florida

Amate tree Florida

Amate tree Florida

2 Answers 2


This is a Scheffelera actinophylla, the botanical name for umbrella tree, a species of evergreen tree native to northern Australia which is a common house plant. A common cultivar which may be the one you have is the Amate which has thicker leaves and is less subject to spider mite. In Florida it can approach it's typical outdoor size of around fifty feet when grown outdoors. I am more familiar with them as a house plant where they do not like to be over watered and are subject to scale, mealybug and the dreaded thrip. In an outdoor environment, with plenty of light and adequate access to water your problems are more likely to be controlling how tall it can get.

This plant will respond well to hard pruning if it gets too tall for you. No need to worry about it sulking if it's cut back. Just get a pruning saw or other sharp saw and top it close to the desired height. It will bud out and resume new growth close to the spot where you pruned it.

Edit: magzalez asks about the roots. They are thick with a fairly bark like skin and the usual smaller white feeder roots. If the plant is healthy the smallest roots will be firm and white. The largest roots I have seen are two inches in width but outdoor plants could have larger ones. Might want to check if the roots can get into trouble with water pipes or drains.

  • Fifty flipping feet, tall? That's amazing. What's the rooting like on these trees? It was planted in a very small space horizontally.
    – magzalez
    Nov 15, 2012 at 2:32
  • Hi kevinsky. Your link to the Amate was dead, so I replaced it with something that looked like it would work well. I'm sorry if I should have left you a note instead! Apr 16, 2017 at 22:36
  • @Sue Thanks, link rot is the bane of the internet. The Amate link is to an even newer type of Amate with light green leaves
    – kevinskio
    Apr 17, 2017 at 10:01
  • The one in my yard is 30ft /9m tall and planted right next to a sidewalk. Main trunk is approaching 2ft / 60cm in diameter. The roots follow the concrete, but have not damaged it in any way. PVC sprinkler pipes are buried next to the tree -- it has grown over and around them, but without damage in 25 years. Young roots are very flexible, like string or rope. May 23, 2020 at 5:25

This plant is listed on the Not Wanted list and is an invasive species. Get rid of it!

http://www.miamidade.gov/environment/library/posters/prohibited-plants.pdfenter image description here

  • Nice catch, very useful info.
    – Alina
    Sep 15, 2017 at 10:47
  • This plant is invasive in Miami-Dade and probably other parts of Florida along with Burmese Pythons, guava, mimosa and heavenly bamboo. Another list is here bugwoodcloud.org/CDN/fleppc/plantlists/2017/…
    – kevinskio
    Sep 15, 2017 at 23:57

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