General Landscape Uses:
Specimen tree or shrub in the Florida Keys. Buffer plantings.
Ecological Restoration Notes:
A fairly common element of the upland side of the ecotone between tidal swamps and rockland hammocks in the Florida Keys. Rare elsewhere.
Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida. Available in Homestead at Plant Creations Inc.
Small to medium tree or large shrub with a dense rounded crown. Trunks usually short, gnarled to 18 inches in diameter, but usually much less in South Florida. Bark gray to reddish-brown, deeply fissured and breaking into small plates. Leaves think, leathery, clustered toward the ends of the twigs.
Typically 10-15 feet in height; to 21 feet in South Florida. Usually as broad as tall or broader.
Monroe County Keys, Miami-Dade and Collier counties; Bahamas. In Miami-Dade County, native to islands in and around Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park and the extreme southern mainland along the shores of Florida Bay in Everglades National Park; collected once in Collier County by J.R. Lorenz in what is now the Cape Romano - Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida
Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.
Coastal hammocks and pine rocklands.
Moist to rarely inundated, well-drained to moderately well-drained limestone 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:
Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.
Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.
All year; peak spring-summer.
Light brown berry. Edible.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides food and cover for wildlife.
Can be grown from seed.
Related to the commercially grown sapodilla (Manilkara zapota). It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.