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Native Trees & Shrubs of Florida

Native Trees & Shrubs - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

On this page - Southern Live Oak, Coastalplain Willow, Strangler Fig, Dahoon Holly, Loblolly Bay, Southern Magnolia, Florida Hickory, Water Hickory, Swamp Bay, Sweet Bay

Click any image for a larger version

Image - A large Live Oak tree on the banks of a canal Image -  Live Oak leaf and trunk details. Image - Live Oak often has large, low growing horizontal branches

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.

Live Oak was once an important source of strong wood for ship builders that would search out and harvest trees with branches shaped as needed for a ships ribs and timbers. The Live Oaks acorns are an important food source for many animals and birds and the tree itself provides habitat and nesting sites for the Florida scrub jay.

Image - Coastalplain Willow (Salix caroliniana) whole tree. Image - Coastalplain Willow leaf detail. Image - Coastalplain Willow flower detail.

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.

Flower - Small yellow flowers on catkins, 3-4 inches long.

Image - Strangler Fig (Ficus aurea) Image - Strangler Fig, leaf detail.

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.

Height to 60 feet with a broad, spreading crown and numerous aerial roots. Leaf alternate, 6-8 inches long, dark green, elliptic to ovate in shape with entire, undulate margins.

Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine) image Image - Dahoon Holly leaf detail

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.

There is a variation of native Dahoon- Ilex cassine var. myrtifolia

Swamp bay (Persea palustris) leaf Image - Swamp bay (Persea palustris) fruit Image - Swamp bay (Persea palustris) bark

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.

Very similar in appearance to the Red bay tree. Host plant for Swallowtail butterfly larva.

Image - Sweet Bay burr (Magnolia virginiana)
Sweetbay flower by Clarence A. Rechenthin @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

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.

Flowers produced in summer are white, cup shaped and fragrant. Fruit is a hard burr, seeds are bright red and are consumed by birds and animals alike. Sweet Bay Magnolia is also a butterfly host plant.

Image - Loblolly Bay tree Image - Loblolly Bay flower detail.

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.

Flower - Fragrant white or creamy white, 2-3 inches across, cup shaped with 5 petals surrounding numerous golden-yellow stamens. Begins flowering in May-June and flowers throughout the summer.

Image - Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.) flower Image - Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.) burr Image - Southern Magnolia seeds.

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.

Fragrant, large white or creamy white flowers to 8 inches across. Fruit is called a burr, it is cone-like in appearance with red berries in autumn that hang from silken threads.

Image - Florida Scrub hickory tree (Carya floridana) Image - Scrub Hickory nut

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.

Flowers are small, greenish and inconspicuous, fruit is a hard shelled brown nut up to 1 1/2 inches long.

Image - Water Hickory leaf, (Carya aquatica) Image - Water Hickory bark detail. Image - Water Hickory flower detail.

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.

Native Trees & Shrubs - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

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