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Native Trees & Shrubs of Florida

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

On this page - Mahogany, Swamp Dogwood, Persimmon, Wax myrtle, Hog-plum, Florida Privet, Pineland Acacia, Gulf Greytwig, Devil's walking-stick, Spanish Bayonet, Myrsine

Click any image for a larger version

Image - West Indian Mahogany Image - Bark on Mahogany tree sapling Image - Mahogany tree bark on a mature tree Image - West Indian Mahogany seed pods

West Indian Mahogany; Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni

Family - Meliaceae

Habitat - Hammocks of extreme southern Florida and the Keys

Description - A large Florida native tree capable of reaching 75 to 80 feet in height, more common at 35 - 40 feet. Bark on older trees is dark brown and deeply fissured. Dark green leaves are alternate, pinnately compound - leaflets are ovate to lanceolate with entire margins.

Native Mahogany trees in South Florida were heavily logged for the strong, attractive wood and it is now considered threatened. The large (up to 6 inches) hard seed pods split open while still on the tree.

For information about growing Mahogany in the home landscape visit the Landscape Trees section of this website.

Swamp Dogwood; Stiff Dogwood - Cornus foemina

Family - Cornaceae

Habitat - Swamps, Mesic Hammocks, Floodplains

Description - Native Florida tree or large shrub to about 15 feet tall, leaves are simple, opposite, elliptic to lanceolate, dark green above & lighter green on the undersides, margins entire, undulate. Flowers are small white or slightly greenish produced in clusters in spring. Fruits are a bluish rounded drupe up to about 1/2 inch in diameter. Birds and other animals eat the fruit.

Image - Persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana) Image - American Persimmon flower detail Image - American Persimmon fruit.

American Persimmon - Diospyros virginiana

Family - Ebenaceae

Habitat - Found in a variety of habitats from the wet soils of mixed bottomland forests and swamps to dry uplands throughout Florida.

Description - Native tree with a trunk to 24 inches in diameter and to 70 feet tall. Leaves are alternate, ovate to elliptical, shiny green above and light green below, young leaves are pubescent underneath, older leaves often have black spots on upper surface, turning yellow to orange in fall.   

Flower - Campulate (bell shaped), a creamy white color in spring, followed by round to slightly flattened berries 1 - 3 inches across, reddish-orange when mature with flat seeds.

Image - Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) Image - Wax myrtle fruit Image - Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera)

Wax myrtle; Southern Bayberry - Myrica cerifera

Family - Myricaceae

Habitat - Margins of swamps, lake, pond and creek banks, Wet Prairie, Pinelands, Hardwood forests

Description - Wax myrtle is a common Florida native shrub or a small tree to about 40 feet, preferring moist sandy soil.

Widely used as a landscape plant for an accent or informal screening plant. Leaves are alternate, 4-5 inches long, have a waxy upper surface and are pleasantly aromatic when crushed.

Wax myrtle's small bluish berries are an important wildlife food source and it is a larval host plant for red-banded hairstreak butterfly which deposit their eggs on dead, fallen leaves. Wax myrtle is moderately drought and salt tolerant as long as it is protected from direct salt spray.  

Wild lime, Hog-plum, Tallowwood (Ximenia americana) image

Wild lime; Hog-plum; Tallow wood - Ximenia americana

Family - Olacaceae

Habitat - Scrub, Hammocks, Dry Flatwoods.

Description - Native perennial shrub, sprawling growth habit almost vine like in nature. 3/4 inch spines at leaf axils. Semi-parasitic on roots of other trees although it does not harm them.  Flower is small, white and inconspicuous, the fruit yellow and 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter.

Florida Swamp privet (Forestiera segregata (Jacq.)Krug & Urb) Florida Swamp privet (Forestiera segregata (Jacq.)Krug & Urb)

Florida Swamp privet; Florida Privet - Forestiera segregata

Family - Oleaceae

Habitat - Hammocks, Pine Rocklands

Description - Native small tree or shrub 10 feet high with an equal spread. Evergreen or briefly deciduous, dropping its leaves as new grows appears. Leaves are opposite, with entire margins, elliptic to oblanceolate and glabrous. Stems are light gray with raised lenticels. Greenish-yellow flowers are borne in clusters at leaf axils.

Image - Pineland Acacia (Acacia pinetorum) Image - Closeup of Pineland Acacia (Acacia pinetorum)

Pineland Acacia - Acacia pinetorum

Family - Fabaceae

Habitat - Dry Pinelands, Coastal areas

Description - Perennial shrub, small tree to 12 feet, spiny branches, green to grayish-green bipinnate leaf

Flower - Yellow Pom-Pom like flower about 3/4 inch in diameter. Fruit is a curved brown pod 1-3 inches, pointed at the tip.

Gulf Greytwig; Greytwig; Whitewood - Schoepfia chrysophylloides

Family - Olacaceae

Habitat - Hammocks, Shell mounds

Description - Endangered. Small Florida native tree or a large shrub, endemic to Florida within the U.S.. To 20 feet tall with an equal spread. Graytwig leaves are somewhat thin, elliptic with entire margins, alternate arrangement, drab green on upper surface & lighter green on undersides. Small red to orange flowers produced from leaf axils year-round in S. Florida, with peak flowering in spring & fall.

Devil's walking-stick - Aralia spinosa

Family - Araliaceae

Aralia spinosa shares common names with Zanthoxylum clava-herculis, another native armed with spines on the trunk & branches. Devil's walking-stick grows as a deciduous shrub or small tree and can reach heights of 35 feet under ideal conditions.

This plant is usually found in coastal areas that have been disturbed by human activity or in clearings created by fire, as it is intolerant of shade. Small white flowers are produced in large clusters at the branch tips in summer, are quite showy and very attractive to honey bees.

The small berries are purple to black when mature and although readily consumed by birds and other wildlife, are mildly toxic to humans. Leaves are large, bipinnately compound and even these are armed with sharp prickles.

Image - Spanish bayonet plant Image - Spanish bayonet, Yucca aloifolia flowers

Spanish Bayonet, Aloe yucca - Yucca aloifolia

Family - Agavaceae

Found primarily near the coast, this native shrub has a high tolerance to salt and drought. Spanish Bayonet produces showy spikes of flowers from the top center of the plant in spring or summer depending on location & conditions. Forms clumps over time, to 15 feet tall with stiff, linear leaves that have finely serrate margins and are tipped with sharp points.

Leaf detail of Myrsine

Myrsine, Florida Rapanea - Rapanea punctata

Family - Myrsinaceae

Shrub or small tree to 20 feet plus, distinguishing characteristics are the flowers that are produced directly on the stems of the previous years growth, also the alternately arranged dark green, leathery leaves that are bunched together at the ends of the branches. Fruit is a tiny dark blue or black berry, present nearly year-round. Found in coastal hammocks & moist pinelands on the panhandle.

Synonyms - Myrsine floridana, Myrsine cubana

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

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