On this page - Mahogany, American Sycamore, Bald Cypress, Red Maple, Water Hickory, Pond Apple, Florida Fiddlewood, Swamp Cyrilla
Mahogany - Swietenia mahagoni
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.
American Sycamore - Platanus occidentalis
Family - Platanaceae
Habitat - River floodplains, Bottomland forests
Description - Usually thought of as a northern tree, Sycamore is a Florida native tree & has been documented in the wild south of Lake Okeechobee and is used as a landscape tree as far south as Martin county.
Long lived & fast growing to a height of 170 feet, Sycamore prefers moist to wet soils. Leaves are alternate, simple, ovate with 3-5 lobes and coarsely toothed margins. Bark is scaly, white and the trunk is greenish in young trees.
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.
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 hardwoods.
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.
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.
Pond Apple - Annona glabra
Habitat - Fresh water Swamps, Wet Forests, Edges
of ponds and streams.
Description - Florida native tree. Although it can grow to over 40 feet in height, the Pond Apple is typically smaller. Leaves are leathery, alternate, simple with entire margins, shiny green with pointed apices (tips), leaf margins are generally reflexed upward forming a V from axis.
Flower - Creamy white to pale yellow, 7/8 inch across from triangular buds on short stalks. Pond Apple flowers from
spring through summer. Fruit is egg to heart shaped to about 5 inches and is yellow with brown spots.
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
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.