Enter a zip code:
OR
Choose a county:
OR
Search for a plant in the Natives For Your Neighborhood database:
OR
Search for an animal in the Natives For Your Neighborhood database:
 
 

...............................

Support this project

 

Join our email list!

...............................

Acknowledgements and past sponsors

...............................

Contributing Native Plant Nurseries

...............................

 

 

 



Common torchwood, Sea torchwood
Amyris elemifera
Rutaceae


General Landscape Uses:

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.
Availability:
Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.
Description:
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.
Dimensions:
Typically 10-15 feet in height; to 22 feet in South Florida
Growth Rate:
Very slow to slow.
Range:
Monroe County Keys north along the east coast to Flagler County; West Indies, Mexico and Central America.
Habitats:
Coastal hammocks and thickets.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
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.
Drought Tolerance:
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Whitish.
Flower Characteristics:
Semi-showy; tiny on branched clusters.
Flowering Season:
All year; peak spring-fall.
Fruit:
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.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed, although with some difficulty.
Comments:
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 Buttry, 2014
Palm Beach County, Florida. Expand
Roger L. Hammer