On this page - Paradisetree, Marlberry, Carolina Willow, Strangler Fig, American Persimmon, Gulf Greytwig, Devil's walking-stick, Red Mulberry
Paradisetree - Simarouba glauca
Family - Simaroubaceae
Habitat - Coastal Hammocks
Description - Native tree with
sparsely branched straight trunk to 50 feet tall. Leaves stiff, alternate,
pinnately compound, 11-12 inches long with 10 to 14 elliptic to oval leaflets.
Dark shiny green above, grey underneath. New growth is reddish.
Flower - Yellow to cream colored, in
profuse terminal and/or axillary clusters. Fruit is a reddish oval drupe, just
under an inch long, turning black when mature.
Description - Native shrub or small
tree to 20 feet or more in south Florida, more
commonly 12-15 feet. Narrow crown, taller than broad, slender
trunk and branches with thin, pale grey bark. Leaves are a shiny
dark green above, paler dull green below, elliptic, alternate,
4-8 inches long, margins entire.
Flower - Fragrant, creamy white throughout the year, produced in
terminal clusters. Fruit is a fleshy drupe, 1/2 inch or less, deep
red to black.
Carolina Willow - Salix caroliniana
Family - Salicaceae,
Habitat - Edges of
freshwater rivers, ponds, lakes, ditches, marshes, open wet forests & shrub
Native deciduous tree to 25 - 30 feet high, often with multiple
Common throughout most of South Florida. Leaves are alternate, 2-7 inches
long, lanceolate, with finely serrate margins.
Flower - Small
yellow flowers on catkins, 3-4 inches long.
Strangler Fig - Ficus aurea
Family - Ficus
Habitat - Hammocks, Swamps
Native tree, often seen as a epiphyte seedling nestled in the frond boots of
Cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto). Eventually engulfs and strangles the host tree
and becomes a free standing tree.
Height to 60 feet
with a broad, spreading crown and numerous aerial roots. Leaf
alternate, 6-8 inches long, dark green, elliptic to ovate in shape with
entire, undulate margins.
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
Gulf Greytwig - Schoepfia chrysophylloides
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
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
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.