Wild Florida Photo - Conocarpus erectus

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Conocarpus erectus

BUTTONWOOD

BUTTON MANGROVE

SILVER BUTTONWOOD

Synonym: Conocarpus erectus var. sericeus

Florida native

 

A frequent small tree of tidal swamps in the central and south Florida peninsula. Also found in Texas, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other parts of the Caribbean.
Growing up to 6m (20 ft.) tall with dark gray or brown bark becoming thick, furrowed and rough with age. Leaves are alternate, lanceolate or elliptical 3-8cm (1-3/16 to 3-1/8 in.) long and 1.5-3 (5/8 to 1-3/16 in.) cm wide. The petiole is winged, 3-10mm (1-3/16 to 4 in.) long with two glands on the side near the base of the leaf. Buttonwood flowers are in clusters of spheres (the 'buttons') that also grow from leaf axils and branch tips. The individual flowers are tiny and numerous and mostly bisexual with a two-winged tubular base and a cup-like calyx with five lobes, 5 to 10 protruding stamens, an inferior ovary and a slender style. Male flowers lack the tubular base and pistol and have longer stamens. The multiple fruits are in a sphere 10-12mm (~1/2 in.) in diameter that turns purplish-brown when mature.
This is one of the four species in three separate families that are considered mangroves, a grouping made due to their shared habitat and each species' unique adaptations for tolerating the salt-water environment. The other members of this group are the black mangrove, red mangrove and the white mangrove.
The Wild Florida Photo Mangrove page.

 
Conocarpus erectus is a member of the Combretaceae - Indian Almond family.