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Jamaica-dogwood, Florida fishpoison tree
Piscidia piscipula

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

General Landscape Uses: Accent tree in coastal locations.

Availability: Native plant nurseries.

Description: Medium to large tree with an irregular crown composed of many erect or irregularly-shaped branches. Trunks to 3 feet in diameter, but usually much smaller. Bark thin, gray. Leaves compound, dark green above, pale beneath; tropical deciduous.

Dimensions: Typically 25-35 feet in height; to 41 feet in South Florida. Taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Moderate to fast.

Range: Monroe County Keys north mostly along the coasts to Miami-Dade County on the east coast (Miami Beach) and Lee County on the west coast, with scattered plants in the interior and along the west coast north to Hillsborough and Pinellas counties; Bahamas, Greater Antilles, 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: 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: Moderately low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water, but tolerates short term inunation by salt water from storm surge with minimal damage.

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: White to pink or lavender.

Flower Characteristics: Showy for a brief period.

Flowering Season: Spring.

Fruit: Light brown pod (legume) with papery wings.

Wildlife and Ecology: Larval host plant for cassius blue (Leptotes cassius) and hammock skipper (Polygonus leo) butterflies; also larval host for the recently introduced fulvous hairstreak (Electrostrymon angelia) butterflies. Attracts bee pollinators.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

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

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann, 2013
In habitat, Everglades National Park, Key Largo, Florida

Other data on Piscidia piscipula available from:

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