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Native Trees & Shrubs of Florida

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

On this page - Bald Cypress, Florida Royal Palm, Florida Fiddlewood, Titi, Gumbo Limbo, Geiger Tree, Red Maple, Groundsel Tree, Seagrape, Firebush

Click any image for a larger version

Image - Cypress Leaf Image - Cypress knee

Bald Cypress - Taxodium distichum L.

Family - Taxodiaceae (Redwood family)

Habitat - In South Florida, the floodplains of freshwater rivers, lakes, flat low lying areas and depressions that are seasonally flooded.

Description - Florida native deciduous conifer, growing 100 to 150 feet tall with buttressed trunks 6 feet or more in diameter. The crown is open and pyramid shaped, becoming flat topped in older trees. The bark is rough and scaly with a reddish brown coloration, often weathered to a light grey color.

Cypress is noted for its "knees" or pneumatophores which protrude upward from its roots. These are believed to function as an aid to the tree in getting oxygen to the roots in flooded anaerobic soils and/or to help stabilize the tree.

Florida Royal Palm

Florida Royal Palm, Royal Palm - Roystonea regia

Family - Arececeae

Habitat - Hammocks, floodplains, swamps

Description - Endangered Florida native palm. This is a large, relatively fast growing palm that can grow approximately 1 foot per year and reaching 75 +/- feet. The Royal Palms' stem (trunk) is a grayish-white color, slightly thickened at the upper portion of the bole. Several ranks of pinnate leaves grow from the frond stems at various angles giving them a "feathery" appearance.

Fragrant flowers are produced on inflorescences 3 feet in length from January through July, fruit is a purple to black drupe, 1/2 inch long. Grows best on rich slightly alkaline to acidic, moist, well drained loamy or sandy soils with full sun to a lightly shaded exposure. Tolerant of windblown salt spray near the coast, moderate drought tolerance once established. Should not be planted close to houses/structures, footpaths or other locations where large fronds pose a danger when they fall from the tree.

Image - Florida Fiddlewood (Citharexylum spinosum L.) Image - Florida Fiddlewood flower(Citharexylum spinosum L.)

Florida Fiddlewood - Citharexylum spinosum L.

Family - Verbenaceae

Habitat - Hammocks near the coast in South Florida

Description - Native Florida shrub or small tree, although Fiddlewood can reach a height of nearly 40 feet it is more common in the 15-20 foot range. Bark is smooth, rusty brown - grey and furrowed on older trees. Leaves are simple, opposite with entire margins, variable in shape from elliptic to obovate even slightly spatulate, thick with edges curled upward. Midrib and petioles of leaf pinkish to orange. Small white, fragrant, tubular flowers are borne on racemes (spikes) to a foot in length.

Titi (Cyrilla racemiflora) Titi (Cyrilla racemiflora)

Swamp Cyrilla, Titi - Cyrilla racemiflora

Family - Cyrillaceae

Habitat - Swamps, Wet Pine Flatwoods, stream & lake banks

Description - Florida native tree, habit of growth is as a large shrub or small tree to about 30 feet in height. Usually forming thickets, reddish-brown bark and commonly with twisted, contorted trunks. Leaves are shiny, alternate, variable in size and shape with entire margins. Small, white, five petal flowers borne in long cylindrical clusters in late spring and early summer. Grows best on wet, acidic soils in full sun, but tolerates drier conditions once established.

Image - Gumbo limbo tree Image - Gumbo limbo bark Image - Gumbo limbo fruit

Gumbo Limbo, Tourist tree - Bursera simaruba L.

Family - Burseraceae

Habitat - Coastal Hammocks, endemic to Florida within the continental U.S..

Description - Native Florida deciduous tree, 25-40 feet tall with an equal spread, may grow to 75 feet, though this is rare. Distinguished by its thin, copper colored, smooth peeling bark with green trunk underneath. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound with leaflets having entire margins, elliptic to ovate, green, 2-4+ inches long. Inconspicuous green flower in spring.

Tolerant of a range of soils and salt spray, drought resistant when established and very wind resistant. Full sun to light shade.

Geiger Tree, Orange Geiger tree - Cordia sebestena

Family - Boraginaceae

Habitat - Coastal strand, Coastal hammocks in southern most Florida counties

Description - The Geiger tree is widely considered to be a Florida native tree although it is more likely an introduced species. Slow growing to a height of 25 feet with an equal spread the Geiger tree has large, alternately arranged rough textured dark green leaves with undulate margins. Attractive orange flowers are produced the year round and are profuse in the spring & summer.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Red Maple leaf Red Maple tree "Samara" or winged fruit that hold the seed.

Red Maple - Acer rubrum L.

Family - Aceraceae

Habitat - Hardwood swamps, Bottomland forests, floodplains of rivers, creeks and lakes. Wet, low-lying and flooded sites, often in conjunction with other hardwood species.

Description - Native deciduous tree to 90 + feet taller than broad, found statewide. Leaves are opposite with 3-5 lobes, margins serrate, the petioles (leaf stems), central leaf veins are typically red, as are the fruit, young leaves and fall foliage.

Flower - Small, red flowers produced in a fascicle in spring, fruit is a red, two winged key (Samara) as is typical of Maple trees.

Groundsel tree (Baccharis halimifolia) Groundsel tree flowers Groundsel tree leaf detail

Groundsel tree - Baccharis halimifolia L.

Family - Asteraceae

Habitat - Margins of fresh and salt marshes, wet woodland forests

Description - Very common native Florida shrub or small tree to about 14 feet, taller than broad usually with many branches. Leaves are alternate, pale green with rough upper surfaces and margins with a few coarse teeth toward the tips, somewhat obovate to lanceolate in form. Some leaves with entire margins. Flower is stalked, white to greenish-white, produced on numerous heads in early fall.

Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera) image Seagrape fruit

Seagrape tree - Coccoloba uvifera L.

Family - Polygonaceae

Habitat - Rear of dunes, coastal hammocks, coastal strand.

Description - Native perennial tree to a height of 25 - 30 feet with an equal spread, usually with multiple low branching trunks.

Leaves are broad, dark green, 8 to 12 inches almost circular in shape with distinctive red veins. New growth in spring is a shiny bronze color.

Ivory-white flowers on racemes up to 30 inches long, followed by clusters of 3/4 inch diameter grape-like berries.

Firebush (Hamelia patens Jacq)

Firebush - Hamelia patens

Family - Rubiaceae

Habitat - Open areas in woodlands, margins of hammocks, coastal strand.

Description - Native Florida shrub or small tree with multiple trunks to 10 feet or more in height. Leaves are elliptic with entire margins, leaf margins and veins often tinged red, usually opposite, sometimes arranged in whorls. Widely used in home, commercial & municipal landscapes. Attractive to butterflies and birds. The tubular red and orange flowers are produced year-round.

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


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