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Cinnamon bark, Pepper cinnamon
Canella winterana

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

General Landscape Uses: Accent or specimen shrub or small tree in coastal areas.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A relatively common sub-canopy tree in coastal hammocks in the Florida Keys and the shores of Florida Bay.

Availability: Native plant nurseries. Available in Boynton Beach at Native Choice Nursery (561-756-4370).

Description: Small tree or large shrub with a broadly rounded crown. Trunks to 10 inches in diameter, but usually much smaller. Bark light gray, broken into short, thick scales. Leaves dark green above, shiny, 2-5 inches long, aromatic when crushed.

Dimensions: Typically 15-20 feet in height; to 29 feet in South Florida. Usually taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: Monroe, Miami-Dade and Collier counties; West Indies, Mexico and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Very rare on the mainland along the extreme southern coast to about Everglades City. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Coastal hammocks.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone or calcareous sandy soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

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.

Drought Tolerance: Moderate; generally requires moist soils, but tolerant of short periods of drought once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Red petals with yellow anthers.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy clusters with green and purple buds and red flowers.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Red berry.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for Schaus' swallowtail (Heraclides aristodemius) and other butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

References: Hammer 2004

Comments: The crushed leaves have a spicy fragrance. In the 1700s, the inner bark was exported from the West Indies to Europe as a substitute for cinnamon. The outer bark is toxic. It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann
in habitat, Dominican Republic, 2011

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Other data on Canella winterana available from:

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