Medium tree with narrow round-topped crown composed of slender, spreading branches. Trunks straight, often angled, 6-15 inches in diameter. Bark gray when young, becoming dark reddish-brown, covered with numerous warts. Leaves smooth, dark green above, paler beneath, with a yellow midrib; aromatic when crushed, 3-6 inches long.
Typically 20-30 feet in height. Often as broad as tall, especially when young.
Moderate to fast.
Monroe County Keys north to Volusia, Highlands and Collier counties; West Indies, Mexico and Central America. In the Monroe County Keys, apparently absent south and west of Lignumvitae Key. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.
Moist, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, with humusy top layer.
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.
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light shade to full sun.
Semi-showy in dense clusters. Fragrant.
Spring-fall; peaks in spring and late fall.
1/2" long drupe, ripening purple and eventually turning black, in a red or yellow cup-like base.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides significant food and moderate amounts of cover for wildlife. Attracts insect pollinators.
Can be grown from de-pulped seed. Plant right away; seeds do not store well. Place seed on surface of soil and just cover. Place container in light shade.
The leaves are fragrant when crushed. The attractive fruit resembles a miniature avocado. Synonyms: Ocotea coriacea.
George D. Gann In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida
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.