An attractive small specimen tree for coastal locations. Also useful in buffer plantings.
Ecological Restoration Notes:
An occasional element of coastal hammocks, especially along the edges.
Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Slender small tree or large shrub with a rounded crown comprising a few slim branches. Trunks slender, 3-5 inches in diameter or sometimes more. Leaves shiny, thin to leathery, 3-5 foliate, 1-3 inches long; aromatic when crushed. Bark pale gray brown, thin and smooth, roughened by small patches of exfoliating bark.
Typically 10-15 feet in height; to 22 feet in South Florida
Very slow to slow.
Monroe County Keys north along the east coast to Flagler County; West Indies, Mexico and Central America. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Coastal hammocks and thickets.
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Moderate to high; grows best with some organic content and may languish in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Full sun to light shade.
Semi-showy; tiny on branched clusters.
All year; peak spring-fall.
Purplish to black drupe, 1/4" in diameter. Aromatic. Edible, with an agreeable flavor. The seeds are solitary, pale brown.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and moderate amounts of cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for Bahamian swallowtail (Heraclides andraemon), giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) and Schaus' swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemus) butterflies. The fruit is eaten by birds and small mammals.
Can be grown from seed, although with some difficulty.
The mature wood is hard, close-grained, and light orange colored. The green wood has been used to make torches. The twigs are burned as incense.
Keith J. Buttry, 2014 Palm Beach County, Florida. Expand
Roger L. Hammer
Gann, G.D., M.E. Abdo, J.W. Gann, G.D. Gann, Sr., S.W.
Woodmansee, K.A. Bradley, E. Grahl and K.N. Hines. 2005-2014. Natives For Your Neighborhood. http://www.regionalconservation.org.
The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida USA.