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Cinnamon bark, Pepper cinnamon
Canella winterana

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

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.

Availability: Native plant nurseries. Available in Lake Worth at Amelia's SmartyPlants (561-540-6296) and in Boynton Beach at Native Choice Nursery (561-756-4370).

Description: 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.

Dimensions: Typically 15-20 feet in height; to 29 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: 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 website.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Coastal hammocks.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone or calcareous sandy soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: 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.

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: Red petals with yellow anthers.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy clusters with green and purple buds and red flowers.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Red berry.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for Schaus' swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemius) and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

Comments: 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.

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Other data on Canella winterana available from:

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