General Landscape Uses:
Accent or specimen shrub or small tree in coastal areas.
Ecological Restoration Notes:
A relatively common sub-canopy tree in coastal hammocks in the Florida Keys and the shores of Florida Bay.
Native plant nurseries. Available in Lake Worth at Amelia's SmartyPlants
(561-540-6296) and in Boynton Beach at Native Choice Nursery
Small tree or large shrub with a broadly rounded crown. Trunks to 10 inches in diameter, but usually much smaller. Bark light gray, broken into short, thick scales. Leaves dark green above, shiny, 2-5 inches long, aromatic when crushed.
Typically 15-20 feet in height; to 29 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.
Monroe, Miami-Dade and Collier counties; West Indies, Mexico and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Very rare on the mainland along the extreme southern coast to about Everglades City. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida
Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.
Moist, well-drained limestone or calcareous sandy soils, with humusy top layer.
Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt 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.
Red petals with yellow anthers.
Semi-showy clusters with green and purple buds and red flowers.
All year; peak spring-summer.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for Schaus' swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemius) and other butterflies.
Can be grown from seed.
The crushed leaves have a spicy fragrance. In the 1700s, the inner bark was exported from the West Indies to Europe as a substitute for cinnamon. The outer bark is toxic. It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.