Cestrum parqui

Green cestrum

Also known as:

Green poison berry, ink berry, chilean cestrum, willow-leaved jessamine

Family: Solanaceae

Origin: South America

Green cestrum branch tip showing yellow flowers.
Shrub up to 3m tall with brittle branches. Leaves are foul smelling when crushed.
Photo credit: L. Vervoort

Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) status

  • National Pest Plant Accord Species
  • Whole region — Eradication

View more about the RPMP statuses

General description

Deciduous or semi-evergreen, woody shrub < 3 m tall. Stems are green and brittle. Leaves are hairless, light green, < 12 cm long, alternate and foul-smelling when crushed, with pointed tips and wavy margins. Flowers are pungent, tubular, yellow/green and borne in clusters. Berries are small, black and egg-shaped, and stain skin purple when crushed.

What you need to know

To help protect our environment:

  • You must not breed, distribute, release or sell green cestrum. As green cestrum is a National Pest Plant Accord species, these restrictions apply within the Auckland region and across the whole of New Zealand.
  • You must not plant green cestrum within the Auckland region.

Auckland Council will control green cestrum at all sites where it is known to occur.

If you see green cestrum anywhere in the Auckland region, please report it to Auckland Council at pestfree@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz.


Forest, scrub, riparian habitats, alluvial flats.


Seeds dispersed by birds and water. Vegetative spread from suckering and root fragments. Human-mediated dispersal through dumping of garden waste and movement of contaminated soil.

Impact on environment

Potential to outcompete native vegetation. Highly poisonous when consumed.


Recommended approaches

Do not attempt to undertake control of this species. Please report to Auckland Council.

Caution: When using any herbicide or pesticide please read the label thoroughly to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.