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West Indian cherry
Prunus myrtifolia

Copyright by: Melissa E. Abdo

General Landscape Uses: Accent or specimen tree in residential and commercial landscapes. Buffer plantings.

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

Description: Medium or rarely a large tree with an erect trunk and a slender crown from thin, upright branches. Bark thin, smooth or slightly fissures. Leaves glossy green, with an odor of almonds when crushed, about 2-4 inches long.

Dimensions: Typically 25-35 feet in height; to 53 feet in South Florida. Taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Miami-Dade County; West Indies and South America. In Miami-Dade County, known only from the Miami Rock Ridge from Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park northeast to the Miami River; also collected once on Elliott Key in what is now Biscayne National Park, where apparently extirpated. 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: Rockland hammocks.

Soils: Moist, well-drained limestone soils, with humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate flooding by salt or brackish 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: White.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy.

Flowering Season: Fall-winter.

Fruit: Brownish-orange drupe.

Wildlife and Ecology: Birds and other animals eat the fruits. Attracts pollinators.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from de-pulped seed.

References: Miami-Dade County Landscape Manual (2005).

Comments: It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida.

Copyright by: Melissa E. Abdo

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

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Don & Joyce Gann

Copyright by: Don & Joyce Gann

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Prunus myrtifolia available from:

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