General Landscape Uses:
A colorful specimen or accent tree in moist soils. It can be used as a street tree and in commercial and residential landscapes.
Ecological Restoration Notes:
An occasional element in hammocks.
Widely cultivated. Available in Lake Worth at Amelia's SmartyPlants
(561-540-6296) and in Boynton Beach at Sustainscape
Medium tree with narrow crown in shade, spreading more in sun. Trunks straight, slender, to 10 inches in diameter, often arising from the roots, especially when damaged. Bark light, reddish brown, rough. Leaves stiff, dark green above, rusty below, 2-6 inches long.
Typically 20-30 feet in height; to 41 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.
Slow to moderate.
Monroe County Keys north to southern Brevard, Collier, Hendry and Sarasota counties; West Indies. Very rare in the middle Florida Keys. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida
Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.
Map of suggested ZIP codes north to Indian River and Manatee counties.
Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations north to Martin and Charlotte counties.
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
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.
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
Full sun to light shade.
Irregularly all year; peak summer-fall.
Dark purple to black berry, oval, 1/2 or more long. Edible; juicy but sticky.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and some cover for wildlife.
Can be grown from de-pulped and scarified seed. Plant within a few days of cleaning; seeds do not store well. Place in light shade to full sun. Germination is in about a month.
Nelson 2003, Schaefer & Tanner 1997
The leaves are very attractive, dark green above and bronzy-satin below, creating an attrative display when wind blows through the trees. While worth the effort, satinleaf can be finicky to establish in cultivation and may take a couple of attempts. The roots are especially sensitive to transplant shock and plants can be permanently damaged by inadequate watering or by mechanical damage. It may require more water and time to establish than other native hardwoods. Recovery following transplanting may take 6-12 months or more. Fruits may stain walkways and other surfaces, and may stick to ones feet and be tracked around. May be more sensitive to cold when planted as a specimen tree. It is listed as threatened by the State of Florida.