Small to medium tree or large shrub with a cylindrical crown from many small, irregularly-shaped branches. Trunks generally short, to about 10 inches in diameter. The branches bear many sharp, hooked spines. Bark gray, rough. Leaves compound, aromatic, about 3-4 inches long.
Typically 10-20 feet in height; to 26 feet in South Florida. As broad as tall or broader.
Monroe County Keys north to Volusia, Marion and Citrus counties; Bahamas, Greater Antilles, Texas, Mexico, Central America and South America. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, 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.
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Inconspicuous. Fragrant. Dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate plants.
All year; peak winter-summer.
Orange-brown glandular punctate follicles opening to reveal small, shiny, black seeds.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and moderate amounts of cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) butterflies. Perhaps a secondary larval host for Schaus' swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemus) butterflies.
Can be grown from seed removed from the outer coating. Scatter seeds over soil and barely cover. Germination is in about a month.
When crushed, the leaves have a lime-like aroma. The wood is much desired for making furniture.
James Johnson, 2014 In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida Expand
James Johnson, 2014 In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida
Keith A. Bradley
Michelle M. Smith, 2018 In habitat, Ned Glenn Nature Preserve, Florida
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.