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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.

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: 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. Attracts pollinators.

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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