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Hippomane mancinella

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Primarily recommended for natural landscapes and habitat restorations.

Availability: Grown by enthusiasts.

Description: Small tree or large shrub with a rounded crown. Trunks to 6 inches in diameter, usually less. Bark, gray to dark brown, usually rough. Leaves tropical semi-deciduous, yellowish-green, shallowly-toothed.

Dimensions: Typically 15-30 feet in height; to 46 feet in South Florida. Often as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Monroe and Miami-Dade counties; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Rare throughout its range in South Florida and very rare or absent in the middle Monroe County Keys. On the mainland, native to the northern shores of Florida Bay in Monroe and Miami-Dade counties. 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 ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Coastal hammocks and thickets.

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: Low; salt wind may burn the leaves.

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

Light Requirements: Light shade to full sun.

Flower Color: Greenish-yellow.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Yellowish-green, applelike drupe, about 1" wide.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

References: Hammer 2004

Comments: CAUTION: The entire plant is poisonous. Touching the plant, especially the sap, can cause serious skin irratations. Only for the serious enthusiast. The wood is used to make furniture. It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida. See also Florida Natural Areas Inventory's Field Guide to the Rare Plants of Florida page (Chafin 2000).

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Florida

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Other data on Hippomane mancinella available from:

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