Small to medium tree or shrub with a rounded crown from wide spreading branches with thick bases. Trunks short and often buttressed. Bark smooth, eventually marked by long, broad, shallow grooves, dark reddish brown. Deciduous to semi-deciduous, loosing its leaves during the winter. Leaves thick, shiny, dark green above and pale beneath, 3-7 inches long; aromatic when crushed.
Typically 20-40 feet in height; to 48 feet or more in South Florida. Can be as broad as tall or broader.
Fast to moderate.
Monroe County Keys north to Brevard, Highlands and Manatee counties, West Indies, southern Mexico, Central America, South America and western Africa. In the Monroe County Keys, very rare and scattered from Key Largo to Key West. Along the east coast, common nearly throughout north to Martin County, then rare mostly along the coast north to Brevard County. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Swamps, wet forests, sloughs and sinkholes in rockland hammocks.
Wet to moist, poorly-drained to moderately well-drained organic soils.
High; requires rich organic soils for optimal growth.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Low; requires moist to wet soils and is intolerant of long periods of drought.
Full sun to light shade.
Yellowish marked red at outer base and inside.
Semi-showy, 1" broad, thick and fleshy, solitary on a stout stem, drooping. Monoecious or dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate or the same plants.
Light green, dark brown when ripe, 3-5" long; summer-fall. Edible, but distasteful. Seeds numerous, shiny and black.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and cover for wildlife. A major host plant for epiphytic orchids and bromeliads.
Easily grown from seed.
The fruits have been used to make jelly and custard. Historically, the largest trees were reported for the shores of Biscayne Bay near the mouth of the Miami River; trees there were reported to grow to 60 feet in height. Major pond apple forests along the southern rim of Lake Okeechobee were destroyed for agriculture early in the 20th century.
Gann, G.D., M.E. Abdo, J.W. Gann, G.D. Gann, Sr., S.W.
Woodmansee, K.A. Bradley, E. Grahl and K.N. Hines. 2005-2016. Natives For Your Neighborhood. http://www.regionalconservation.org.
The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida USA.