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FYN Publications: Native Landscape Plants for South Florida

Shrubs & Small Trees (A - C)

Note: U indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida

Click on underlined scientific names for photos and/or more information.

 

Common name
Scientific name

Size
(feet)

Light preference

Salt tolerance

Comments

Sweet acacia U
Acacia
farnesiana

15

Full sun

High

Small tree with sweet-smelling, yellow, ‘pom-pom’ inflorescences. Needs good drainage.

Pineland acacia
Acacia pinetorum

4-12

Full sun

High

Dwarf, spiny shrub with delicate, gray to gray-green, bipinnate leaves and round, ‘pom-pom’ like inflorescences. Flowers have strong, sweet fragrance.

Torchwood
Amyris elemifera

8-15

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

Evergreen, aromatic shrub or small tree. Bark gray brown. Leaves compound; leaflets dark, shiny green. White flowers fragrant, followed by purple or black edible fruit.

Marlberry U
Ardisia escallonioides

5-20

Partial shade

High

Shrub to small tree with attractive foliage and berries. Can be used as small specimen tree or barrier shrub. Attracts birds. Does poorly in full sun.

Beautyberry U
Callicarpa americana

6-8

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

‘Leggy’ shrub, especially when grown in shade. Flowers are insignificant, but the long-lasting purple berries are quite attractive and provide a good food source for birds.

Spicewood
Calyptranthes pallens

5-25

Partial Shade

Moderate

Small, shrubby tree with aromatic leaves, burgundy-tinged new growth, and insignificant white flowers. Can be sheared and grown as a hedge. Prefers moist soil.

Cinnamon bark
Canella winterana

10-30

Full sun to light shade

High

Very attractive, small, slow-growing tree with dense, broad crown; thick, aromatic leaves; fragrant, purplish flowers; and red berries. Flower aroma resembles daffodils; inner bark aroma resembles cinnamon. All parts poisonous, except berries. Canella alba is a synonym.

Jamaica caper U
Capparis cynophallophora

18

Full sun to partial shade

High

Slow-growing, undemanding plant with attractive white, fragrant, spider lily-like flowers. With time, can be shaped into attractive hedge.

Limber caper U
Capparis flexuosa

12-25

Full sun to full shade

High

Medium to large vining shrub with large, fragrant flowers in spring and beanlike fruit capsules in summer or fall.

Bird pepper
Capsicum annuum v. glabriusculum

1.5-3

Full sun to deep shade

Low

Dwarf, dense, evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves and tiny chile peppers that are highly attractive to birds. Wild ancestor from which our common sweet and chile peppers were derived.

Cocoplum U
Chrysobalanus icaco

3-15

Full sun to partial shade

High

Shrub to small tree with attractive red new foliage. Often used as hedge, but will thin if planted in too much shade. Spreading and erect forms are available.

Snowberry
Chiococca alba

2-3

Full sun

Low

Vining shrub with glossy green, elliptical to lanceolate leaves, and tiny white flowers. Chiococca parvifolia is a synonym.

Fiddlewood U
Citharexylum spinosum

12-30

Full sun to partial shade

High

Large, densely leafy shrub to small tree with glossy, elliptical leaves and small, white, fragrant flowers. Female plants bear orange-brown berries that attract birds and other wildlife. Citharexylum fruticosum is a synonym.

Pigeon plum U
Coccoloba diversifolia

5-30

Full sun to partial shade

High

Large shrub to small tree with dense, narrowly rounded, evergreen crown and attractive, peeling bark. Small, dark purple berries on female trees attract birds. Susceptible to weevils.

Sea grape U
Coccoloba uvifera

10-50

Full sun

High

Large shrub to large tree with large, thick, saucer-like leaves bearing attractive venation and edible fruit. Leaves can be messy. Susceptible to weevils.

Coffee
colubrina U
Colubrina arborescens

20

Full sun to light shade

High

Large, course-leaved shrub/small tree with open crown of large, tri-lobed leaves, inconspicuous green flowers, and 3-seeded capsules. Attractive to butterflies and many other beneficial insects.

Buttonwood U
Conocarpus erectus

5-50

Full sun to partial shade

High

Both green and silver leaved forms available; the latter is more attractive but also more susceptible to sooty mold and insect problems. Insignificant flowers are followed by small, button-like seed pods. Susceptible to some pests. Do not plant in marl soil.

Bloodberry
Cordia globosa

4-9

Full sun to moderate shade

Low

Small, densely branched, evergreen shrub often growing in a rounded, symmetrical shape. Tiny white flowers are followed by small, brilliant red berries. Makes a great hedge, as it can be trimmed to nearly any shape or size.

Rhacoma
Crossopetalum rhacoma

1.5-6

Full sun to moderate shade

High

Different forms available, from low and spreading to erect and shrub-like. All possess tiny leaves and bright red berries.

Pepperbush
Croton humilis

3

Full sun to moderate shade

Low

Dwarf, rounded shrub with large, dark green leaves bearing numerous tiny, white, star-shaped hairs. Flowers form white, conspicuous starbursts.

 

Native Plant Categories

The 135 native plant species listed in this publication are grouped according to their functions in the landscape. Separate pages are provided for the following categories: