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Butterflybush, Curacao bush
Varronia bullata subsp. humilis

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

General Landscape Uses: Accent or specimen shrub. Because of its weediness, not recommended for general landscape use on the mainland.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A typical but somewhat rare element of coastal rock barrens in the Florida Keys.

Availability: Native plant nurseries.
Available at All Native Garden Center and Plant Nursery in Fort Myers. 239-939-9663.

Description: Medium mound-like shrub, sometimes becoming vinelike.

Dimensions: Typically 5-10 feet in height, or taller when vinelike. Usually about as broad as tall, but then climbing into other vegetation.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Monroe County Keys north to Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County mainland; disjunct in Hendry County; West Indies, Mexico, Central America and South America. Rare in the Monroe County Keys, where mostly restricted to coastal rock barren habitats. Its distribution on the mainland is very spotty and not well understood.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes north to Indian River and Manatee counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: Hammock edges and coastal rock barrens.

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: 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: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: White.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy.

Flowering Season: All year.

Fruit: Round red drupe.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food and cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from seed.

Comments: Recruits readily from seed in the garden and can be quite weedy when planted on the mainland. It is listed as endangered by the state of Florida.

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Other data on Varronia bullata subsp. humilis available from:

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