Medium to large shrub or small tree with a narrow crown from crooked trunks. Bark pale gray. Leaves wax-covered, semi-deciduous, 1-4 inches long, aromatic when crushed.
Typically 8-15 feet in height in South Florida, but extremely variable; to 36 feet in Florida. Sometimes as broad as tall, especially when smaller.
Eastern and southeastern United States west to Texas and Oklahoma and south to the Monroe County Keys; Bermuda, West Indies, Mexico and Central America. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from the Miami-Dade County mainland and North Key Largo to the lower Keys. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Swamps and forest edges.
Moist to wet, well-drained to poorly-drained sandy, limestone, or organic soils, usually with humusy top layer.
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
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.
All year; peak winter-spring.
Small, waxy bluish drupe.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for red-banded hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) butterflies and io (Automeris io) moths.
Can be grown from seed; usually cold stratified. Also can be grown from cuttings with difficulty.
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. 2005-2016. Natives For Your Neighborhood. http://www.regionalconservation.org.
The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida USA.