At the edge of my property a stand of trees, with winding branches and dark green leaves makes the perfect hideout for wildlife. I did think they were Dahoon Holly trees, but I was mistaken. They are invasive Brazilian pepper trees and have become a problem for Floridians.
This thick area of trees and shrubs is where the raccoons come from each night. It’s also where the zillions of stray cats walk as they pass through the yard.
I don’t know if the birds knew I wanted photos today, but they showed up in droves. Unfortunately I am not such a good wildlife photographer! I saw a bunch of grosbeaks gathered on a berry laden branch, and got this photo of a robin (center of picture) – not a good photo, I know. In fact, the many birds have nearly eaten all the berries!
Even as the berries give the birds food, it is also what helps to spread the growth of these trees. The birds spread the seeds.
So how to tell the difference between trees that have clumps of red berries? The Brazilian Pepper has 9 leaves and the leaves are dark green. The Dahoon Holly’s leaves are more true green and are fewer. At least, from photos I’ve seen, that looks like the difference. Also the pepper has that tangled mass of trunks, whereas the holly grows more like a regular tree.
The trunk can actually be split into many trunks, like in my photo below.