Wild Florida Photo - Guaiacum sanctum

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Guaiacum sanctum

HOLYWOOD LIGNUMVITAE

LIGNUM VITAE

Florida native

Endangered Florida species

 

A rare native tree of tropical hammocks in the Florida Keys. Also found in Miami-Dade County where it has escaped from cultivation. The range includes Mexico, Central America and most of the Caribbean islands.
This tree typically has a gnarly trunk with chalky-white bark and grows to 10m (33 ft.) tall. The opposite leaves usually have 3 to 4 pairs of leaflets, but sometimes 5 pairs. The lowest pair of leaflets are largest, and the tips of the leaflets come to a sharp point. Leaflets are 2.5 - 3cm (1 to 1-1/4 in.) long and less than 2cm (~3/4 in.) wide. During the hottest part of the day some of the leaflets will fold together. The flowers have five radially symmetrical blue petals.

 
Guaiacum sanctum is a member of the Zygophyllaceae - Creosote-bush family.