Description: Medium bushy shrub with arching branches forming a large mound. Leaves coarse, 2-6 inches long, aromatic when crushed.
Dimensions: Typically 5-9 feet in height. Usually as broad as tall and sometimes broader.
Growth Rate: Fast.
Southeastern United States, Maryland and Missouri west to Texas and south to the Monroe County Keys; Bermuda, Bahamas and Cuba. Very rare in the Monroe County Keys and perhaps absent south of Key Largo.
Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy, limestone or organic soils, usually with a humusy top layer.
Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.
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: Pink or rarely white.
Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy in dense clusters.
Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.
Fruit: Red-purple berry-like drupe, rarely white. Very showy clusters in the leaf axils. All year; peak summer-fall.
Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and moderate amounts of cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for butterflies. Birds eat the attractive fruits.
Horticultural Notes: Grown from seed. Clean pulp from seed by rubbing on a paper towel or by placing into a blender with water and then straining. Sprinkle seeds into a pot with 2" or more potting soil. Place in light shade or full sun and keep moist.
References: Hammer 2004, Nelson 2003, Schaefer & Tanner 1997
Comments: This is an excellent and adaptable shrub for nearly throughout South Florida. Periodic heavy pruning nearly to the ground encourages new growth. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.
Copyright by: Adriana Olavarria
Copyright by: James Johnson, 2012 In habitat, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida
Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014 In habitat, Secret Woods Buffer and Nature Center, Broward County, Florida
Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer
Copyright by: George D. Gann In habitat, Broward County, Florida