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Black ironwood
Krugiodendron ferreum

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: An accent or specimen tree in residential and commercial landscapes, but slow growing and sometimes difficult to establish.

Ecological Restoration Notes: An important canopy or subcanopy tree in hammocks.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available in Lake Worth at Indian Trails Native Nursery (561-641-9488), at Amelia's SmartyPlants (561-540-6296), and in Homestead at Plant Creations Inc. (305-248-8147).

Description: Small to medium tree with slender branches. Trunk 4-10 inches in diameter, rarely more. Bark dark gray, rough, becoming furrowed and forming vertical ridges. Leaves attractive, bright glossy green above, 1-1 1/2 inches long. Unfolding leaves are pinkish.

Dimensions: Typically 15-25 feet in height; to 33 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow to very slow.

Range: Monroe County Keys north mostly along east coast to Brevard County; West Indies, Mexico and Central America. 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: Hammocks.

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

Nutritional Requirements: 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.

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

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Greenish.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous, but the small flowers secrete copious amounts of nectar.

Flowering Season: All year; peak late spring to late summer.

Fruit: Oval or nearly round, 1/3" long drupe, ripening black. Mostly maturing summer to fall. Edible; sweet.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides moderate amounts of food and significant cover for wildlife. Birds and other animals eat the fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed. Clean and plant right away; seed does not store well. Place container in light shade.

Comments: The wood is hard, the densest of all woods native to South Florida; it will sink in water.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

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

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Krugiodendron ferreum available from:

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