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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.

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 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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