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Scrub bay, Silk bay
Persea borbonia var. humilis

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

General Landscape Uses: Accent tree in sunny, dry locations.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida.

Description: Medium tree or large shrub with a dense round-topped to cylindrical crown. Bark brown, thick, roughened by many furrows and ridges. Leaves medium green above, waxy beneath, 1-3 inches long, aromatic when crushed.

Dimensions: Typically 15-25 feet in height in South Florida; to 38 feet in Florida. Taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Endemic to peninsular Florida from Volusia, Putnam, Marion and Levy County south to Palm Beach and Collier counties.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Scrub, scrubby flatwoods and xeric hammocks.

Soils: Dry, well-drained sandy soils, without humus.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate 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.

Flower Color: Greenish.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous.

Flowering Season: Spring.

Fruit: Rounded drupe.

Wildlife and Ecology: Probably larval host plant for palamedes swallowtail (Papilio palamedes) and spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from de-pulped seed. Plant right away; seeds do not store well. Sprinkle soil over the seed to just cover. Place container in light shade or full sun.

Comments: An herbarium voucher from Palm Beach County is needed.

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Persea borbonia var. humilis available from:

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