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Black ironwood
Krugiodendron ferreum

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

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 in Lake Worth at Indian Trails Native Nursery (561-641-9488), and in Homestead at Plant Creations Inc. (305-248-8147).

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.

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: 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.

References: Nelson 2003, Schaefer & Tanner 1997

Comments: The wood is hard, the densest of all woods native to South Florida; it will sink in water.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

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

Copyright by: Susan Trammell

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Joe Montes de Oca via iNaturalist

Copyright by: Joe Montes de Oca via iNaturalist

Other data on Krugiodendron ferreum available from:

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