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Florida privet, Florida swampprivet
Forestiera segregata

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub or tree. Buffer plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A common shrub along hammock ecotones, especially along the coast. It can be used sparingly as an understory shrub in pine rocklands, but pine rockland germ plasm is recommended.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available in Lake Worth at Indian Trails Native Nursery (561-641-9488) and at  Amelia's SmartyPlants (561-540-6296), in Boynton Beach at Sustainscape (561-245-5305), and in Fort Myers at All Native Garden Center (239-939-9663).

Description: Large shrub or small tree with a dense, irregular crown composed of many small trunks from crooked trunks. Bark pale or creamy, thin, smooth with many breathing pores (lenticels). Leaves dark green above, 3/4-2 inches long. Semi-deciduous, with the old leaves falling as the new flush of growth begins.

Dimensions: Typically 8-15 feet in height in South Florida; to 17.5 feet in Florida. Often as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.

Range: Southeastern United States south to the Monroe County Keys; Bermuda and the West Indies. Very rare and scattered in the Monroe County Keys. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Hammocks and hammock edges; understory shrub in pine rocklands.

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

Nutritional Requirements: 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: High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without significant injury.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: Yellowish-green.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy, in small clusters from the axils of the previous year's growth. Dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants, or polygamodioecious, with a few flowers of the opposite sex or bisexual flowers on the same plant.

Flowering Season: All year; peak in spring.

Fruit: Black or dark purple drupe.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. Attracts bee pollinators and birds eat the fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from de-pulped seed. Cover with soil and place in full sun.

References: Nelson 2003, Schaefer & Tanner 1997

Comments: This fast growing shrub recruits readily in the garden from seed. Taxomomy: plants with smaller leaves growing in the pine rocklands of Miami-Dade County have been described as a distinct species, F. pinetorum, or variety, F. segregata var. pinetorum. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Eric Fleites

Other data on Forestiera segregata available from:

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