Native Trees & Shrubs of Florida
On this page - Southern Live Oak, Coastalplain Willow, Strangler Fig, Dahoon Holly, Loblolly Bay, Southern Magnolia, Florida Hickory, Water Hickory, Swamp Bay, Sweet Bay
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Live Oak, Southern Live Oak - Quercus virginiana
Family - Fagaceae
Habitat - Coastal hammocks, Maritime Forests, Inland Hammocks, Hardwood Swamps on sandy, moist soils.
Description - Broad crown with a stout trunk to more than 4 feet in diameter and very large, low, spreading branches. Live Oak can grow to 80 feet tall with an equal or greater spread.
Leaves are alternate, are elliptic to obovate in shape with slightly wavy, entire margins, leathery, dark green & shiny on upper surface, pale green and pubescent on bottom surface.
Coastalplain Willow, Carolina Willow - Salix caroliniana
Family - Salicaceae, Willow family
Habitat - Edges of freshwater rivers, ponds, lakes, ditches, marshes, open wet forests & shrub swamps.
Description - Native deciduous tree to 25 - 30 feet high, often with multiple trunks. Common throughout most of South Florida. Leaves are alternate, 2-7 inches long, lanceolate, with finely serrate margins.
Strangler Fig, Golden Fig - Ficus aurea
Family - Ficus
Habitat - Hammocks, Swamps
Description - Native tree, often seen as a epiphyte seedling nestled in the frond boots of Cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto). Eventually engulfs and strangles the host tree and becomes a free standing tree.
Dahoon Holly, Dahoon - Ilex cassine
Family - Aquifoliaceae
Habitat - Bay swamp, Hardwood swamp, margins of Wet prairies and marshes.
Description - Native evergreen shrub or tree, may grow to nearly 40 feet in height although it's usually smaller. Leaves are 1 1/2 to 3 inches in length, wider toward the tip (obovate) the margins of most, but not all leaves have a few small teeth with a small bristle at the tip. White flowers are in clusters and are inconspicuous.
Fruit is a spherical red or yellow drupe 1/4 inch in diameter and is an important wildlife food source, especially for migrating song birds, native quail and wild turkey.
Swamp Bay - Persea palustris
Family - Lauraceae
Habitat - Swamps, sloughs, wet flatwoods
Description - Native evergreen tree to nearly 40 feet in height, leaves are alternate, simple, lanceolate with entire margins, shiny green on upper surface, lighter with rusty reddish hairs on underside, particularly on the midrib. Leaves often have galls. Fruit is a deep blue, almost black slightly elongated drupe.
Sweet Bay, Silver Bay - Magnolia virginiana
Family - Magnoliaceae
Habitat - Swamps, Low lying forests & floodplains on rich, wet acidic soils.
Description - Native tree with a 40 to 60 foot average height, often with multiple trunks. Sweet Bay is deciduous in colder regions and evergreen in milder climates.
Bark is fairly smooth and grayish in color. Leaves are simple with entire margins, elliptic shape, dark green on upper surface and silvery green underneath.
Loblolly Bay - Gordonia lasianthus
Family - Theaceae
Habitat - Swamps, Bogs, Wet Flatwoods, Bay galls
Description - Native evergreen tree to 60-70 feet in height with a narrow conical crown. Leaves are dark green, alternate, oblong shape with lightly serrate to crenate margins, 2 1/2 to 6 inches long.
Southern Magnolia, Bullbay - Magnolia grandiflora
Family - Magnoliaceae
Habitat - Primarily bottomland forests and Mesic upland woodlands. Southern Magnolia is widely used as a landscape tree.
Description - Native evergreen tree 60-80 feet in height, simple leaves are alternately arranged, elliptic to oval in shape with entire margins, dark shiny green above, rusty brown pubescent on lower surface and to 8 inches in length.
Florida Hickory, Scrub Hickory - Carya floridana
Family - Juglandaceae (Walnut family)
Habitat - Sandhill scrub, endemic to Florida.
Description - Small native tree or a large shrub 10 to 20 feet in height, usually with multiple trunks and a spreading crown.
Alternate pinnately compound leaves are green to yellowish-green, 5 - 8 inches long with 3 - 7 lanceolate to elliptic leaflets with toothed margins, lighter on the bottom surface. New growth twigs are covered with rust colored hairs.
Water Hickory, Swamp Hickory - Carya aquatica
Family - Juglandaceae (Walnut Family)
Habitat - Bottomland forest, floodplains of rivers, seasonally inundated areas
Description - Native tree with a large straight trunk to 100 feet tall and 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 feet in diameter. Leaves are pinnately compound with 9-13 leaflets, leaflets are lance shaped with pointed tips, and are slightly curved.