Native Trees & Shrubs of Florida
Native Trees & Shrubs -
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- Taxodium distichum L.
Taxodiaceae (Redwood family)
Habitat - In South Florida, the floodplains of freshwater rivers, lakes, flat low
lying areas and depressions that are seasonally flooded.
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, Royal Palm - Roystonea regia
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
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.
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.
Swamp Cyrilla, Titi
- Cyrilla racemiflora
Swamps, Wet Pine Flatwoods, stream & lake banks
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.
Tourist tree - Bursera simaruba
Family - Burseraceae
Habitat - Coastal Hammocks,
endemic to Florida within the continental U.S..
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
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
Coastal strand, Coastal hammocks in southern most Florida counties
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.
- 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
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.
tree - Baccharis halimifolia L.
Margins of fresh and salt marshes, wet woodland forests
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.
tree - Coccoloba uvifera L.
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
on racemes up to 30 inches long, followed by clusters of 3/4 inch
diameter grape-like berries.
- Hamelia patens
Habitat - Open
areas in woodlands, margins of hammocks, coastal strand.
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 &