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Jamaica caper-tree
Quadrella cynophallophora

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: An accent or specimen shrub or small tree. Also useful in buffer plantings and informal hedges.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A common element of coastal hammocks and thickets.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available in Fort Myers at All Native Garden Center (239-939-9663), 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: large shrub or small upright tree with a slender crown composed of short branches. Foliage dense in sun, becoming open in shade. Trunks 2-6 inches in diameter. Bark dark red brown, rough. Leaves smooth and shiny above, rusty beneath, 2-3 inches long.

Dimensions: Typically 6-12 feet in height, sometimes more. Taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow to moderate.

Range: Monroe County Keys north along the coasts to Brevard, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties; 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: Coastal 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: High; can tolerate moderate amounts of salt wind without injury.

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

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Opens white, turning pink within a few hours.

Flower Characteristics: Showy, brushlike, 1 1/2" long. Fragrant, mostly so in the evening.

Flowering Season: Spring-summer; peak in spring.

Fruit: Brown capsule, 9-12" long, rupturing irregularly with age, exposing the red interior; summer.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food and cover for wildlife. Larval host plant for Florida white (Appias drusilla) butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Grown from seed, which need to be scarified. Start in shade and move to full sun after true leaves are formed. Germination is within a month.

Comments: This is an excellent plant for coastal gardens.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Don & Joyce Gann

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Wes Jurgens

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Other data on Quadrella cynophallophora available from:

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