On this page - Varnishleaf, Dahoon Holly, Southern Magnolia, Loblolly Bay, Wax myrtle, Sweet Bay, Florida Rapanea, Tarflower
Hop bush - Dodonaea viscosa
Family - Sapindaceae
Habitat - Coastal Strand, Coastal
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
Habitat - Bay swamp, Hardwood swamp, margins of
Wet prairies and
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
Southern Magnolia - Magnolia grandiflora
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
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
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.
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
Bark is fairly smooth and grayish in color. Leaves are simple
with entire margins, elliptic shape, dark green on upper surface and silvery
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
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
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.