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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 Boynton Beach at Sustainscape, Inc. (561-245-5305), in Lake Worth at Indian Trails Native Nursery (561-641-9488), in Homestead at Plant Creations Inc. (305-248-8147) and in Fort Myers at All Native Garden Center (239-939-9663).

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.

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: 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 significant 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. Attracts pollinators.

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.

References: Nelson 2003

Comments: This is an excellent plant for coastal gardens. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

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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