Florida Native Trees & Shrubs
Page 6

On this page - Varnishleaf, Dahoon Holly, Southern Magnolia, Loblolly Bay, Wax myrtle, Sweet Bay, Florida Rapanea, Tarflower

Hop bush - Dodonaea viscosa

Image - Varnishleaf (Dodonaea viscosa) Image - Varnishleaf fruit

Family - Sapindaceae

Habitat - Coastal Strand, Coastal Hammocks

Description - Native small tree or more commonly a shrub to 10 feet high, occasionally taller. Leaves alternate, obovate, shiny yellowish-green and sticky, 3-6 inches long.

Flower - Yellowish-green in small terminal clusters, followed by green to pinkish winged capsules.

Dahoon Holly - Ilex cassine

Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine) image Image - Dahoon Holly leaf detail

Family - Aquifoliaceae

Habitat - Bay swamp, Hardwood swamp, margins of Wet prairies and marshes.

Description - Native evergreen shrub or tree, may grow to nearly 40 feet in height although it's usually smaller. Leaves are 1 1/2 to 3 inches in length, wider toward the tip (obovate) the margins of most, but not all leaves have a few small teeth with a small bristle at the tip. White flowers are in clusters and are inconspicuous.

Fruit is a spherical red or yellow drupe 1/4 inch in diameter and is an important wildlife food source, especially for migrating song birds, native quail and wild turkey.

Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora

Image - Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.) flower Image - Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora L.) burr Image - Southern Magnolia seeds.

Family - Magnoliaceae

Habitat - Primarily bottomland forests and Mesic upland woodlands. Southern Magnolia is widely used as a landscape tree.

Description - Native evergreen tree 60-80 feet in height, simple leaves are alternately arranged, elliptic to oval in shape with entire margins, dark shiny green above, rusty brown pubescent on lower surface and to 8 inches in length.

Fragrant, large white or creamy white flowers to 8 inches across. Fruit is called a burr, it is cone-like in appearance with red berries in autumn that hang from silken threads.

Loblolly Bay - Gordonia lasianthus

Image - Loblolly Bay tree Image - Loblolly Bay flower detail.

Family - Theaceae

Habitat - Swamps, Bogs, Wet Flatwoods, Bay galls

Description - Native evergreen tree to 60-70 feet in height with a narrow conical crown. Leaves are dark green, alternate, oblong shape with lightly serrate to crenate margins, 2 1/2 to 6 inches long.

Flower - Fragrant white or creamy white, 2-3 inches across, cup shaped with 5 petals surrounding numerous golden-yellow stamens. Begins flowering in May-June and flowers throughout the summer.

Wax myrtle - Myrica cerifera

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

Sweet Bay - Magnolia virginiana

Sweet bay - Magnolia virginiana Image - Sweet Bay burr (Magnolia virginiana) Sweetbay flower

Family - Magnoliaceae

Habitat - Swamps, Low lying forests & floodplains on rich, wet acidic soils.

Description - Native tree with a 40 to 60 foot average height, often with multiple trunks. Sweet Bay is deciduous in colder regions and evergreen in milder climates.

Bark is fairly smooth and grayish in color. Leaves are simple with entire margins, elliptic shape, dark green on upper surface and silvery green underneath.

Flowers produced in summer are white, cup shaped and fragrant. Fruit is a hard burr, seeds are bright red and are consumed by birds and animals alike. Sweet Bay Magnolia is also a butterfly host plant.

Myrsine - Rapanea punctata

Florida Rapanea - Rapanea punctata Leaf detail of Myrsine

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.

Tarflower - Bejaria racemosa

Picture of Florida native Tarflower, Bejaria racemosa

Family - Ericaceae

Habitat - Common medium to large native shrub of Flatwoods & Scrub habitat, on a variety of soil types.

Description - Native drought tolerant perennial shrub, 4 to 8 feet tall with stiffly upright branches. Leaves are 1 to 2 inches long, 1/4 inch to 1 inch wide, with a waxy upper surface and entire margins and curled or with wavy margins.

Flower - Conspicuous, fragrant white & pink flowers are produced from the spring through fall, fruit is a round capsule. Both flowers and fruit are sticky and frequently trap insects, a trait which gives this shrub its common names. Butterflies feed on nectar.