Native Trees & Shrubs of Florida
On this page - Mahogany, Swamp Dogwood, Persimmon, Wax myrtle, Hog-plum, Florida Privet, Pineland Acacia, Gulf Greytwig, Devil's walking-stick, Spanish Bayonet, Myrsine
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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.
Swamp Dogwood; Stiff Dogwood - Cornus foemina
Family - Cornaceae
Habitat - Swamps, Mesic Hammocks, Floodplains
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.
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.
Wild lime; Hog-plum; Tallow wood - Ximenia americana
Family - Olacaceae
Habitat - Scrub, Hammocks, Dry Flatwoods.
Florida Swamp privet; Florida Privet - Forestiera segregata
Family - Oleaceae
Habitat - Hammocks, Pine Rocklands
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
Gulf Greytwig; Greytwig; Whitewood - Schoepfia chrysophylloides
Family - Olacaceae
Habitat - Hammocks, Shell mounds
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.
Spanish Bayonet, Aloe yucca - Yucca aloifolia
Family - Agavaceae
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.