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Black ironwood
Krugiodendron ferreum
Rhamnaceae


General Landscape Uses:

An accent or specimen tree in residential and commercial landscapes, but slow growing and sometimes difficult to establish.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

An important canopy or subcanopy tree in hammocks.
Availability:
Widely cultivated.
Available at Native Choice Nursery in Boynton Beach ( 561-756-4370) and Indian Trails Native Nursery in Lake Worth (561-641-9488).
Description:
Small to medium tree with slender branches. Trunk 4-10 inches in diameter, rarely more. Bark dark gray, rough, becoming furrowed and forming vertical ridges. Leaves attractive, bright glossy green above, 1-1 1/2 inches long. Unfolding leaves are pinkish.
Dimensions:
Typically 15-25 feet in height; to 33 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.
Growth Rate:
Slow to very slow.
Range:
Monroe County Keys north mostly along east coast to Brevard County; West Indies, Mexico and Central America. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Habitats:
Hammocks.
Soils:
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements:
Moderate to high; grows best with some organic content and may languish in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun to light shade.
Flower Color:
Greenish.
Flower Characteristics:
Inconspicuous, but the small flowers secrete copious amounts of nectar.
Flowering Season:
All year; peak late spring to late summer.
Fruit:
Oval or nearly round, 1/3" long drupe, ripening black. Mostly maturing summer to fall. Edible; sweet.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides moderate amounts of food and significant cover for wildlife. Birds and other animals eat the fruits.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from seed. Clean and plant right away; seed does not store well. Place container in light shade.
Comments:
The wood is hard, the densest of all woods native to South Florida; it will sink in water.


 


Roger L. Hammer
George D. Gann
George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011
Susan Trammell
Shirley Denton