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Florida boxwood
Schaefferia frutescens

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

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub or small tree in the Florida Keys. Also buffer plantings.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida. Available in Lake Worth at Amelia's SmartyPlants (561-540-6296).

Description: Small tree or large shrub with an erect trunk and a somewhat narrow crown. Trunks 8-10 inches in diameter, but usually much less. Bark pale brown, roughend by many narrow ridges. Leaves thin, bright yellow-green, about 2- 2 1/2 inches long.

Dimensions: Typically 10-20 feet in height; to 27 feet in South Florida. Usually slightly taller than broad.

Growth Rate: Slow.

Range: Monroe County Keys and Miami-Dade County; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Very rare in the Monroe County Keys south of Upper Matecumbe Key and perhaps extirpated in the lower Keys. In Miami-Dade County, native only to the Florida Keys in and around Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park and on the mainland in Brickell Hammock, where collected once in 1906. For a digitized image of Elbert Little's Florida range map, visit the Exploring Florida website.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

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 long-term 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.

Flower Color: Greenish-white.

Flower Characteristics: Inconspicuous. Dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants.

Flowering Season: All year; peak in spring.

Fruit: Red drupe.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

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

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

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

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

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Schaefferia frutescens available from:

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