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Low-maintenance landscape plants for south Florida

Flowering & Shade Trees (A-E)

Notes

indicates plants commonly available in nurseries and/or garden centers in south Florida
indicates Florida native plants
 indicates plants that can tolerate wet soils or occasional flooding. 

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

Common name
Scientific name

Size
(feet)

Light

Salt tolerance

Comments

Spineless acacia, cinnecord

Acacia choriophylla

30

Full sun

High

Native tree with dense, rounded crown, long, bipinnate leaves, and tiny yellow to golden pom-pon flowers in spherical panicles. Also known as A. choriophylloides.

Sweet acacia

Acacia farnesiana
(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

15

Full sun

High

Small native tree with sweet-smelling, yellow, pom-pon flowers. Needs good drainage. Caution: Earleaf acacia, A. auriculiformis, is FLEPPC Category I invasive.

Blue acacia

Acacia sayel

35

Full sun

High

Medium-sized tree with bluish/silver, bipinnate leaves, reddish bark, and slightly fragrant yellow pom-pon flowers throughout the year.

Pineland acacia

Acacia pinetorum

       

Baobab

Adansonia digitata

70

Full sun

Low

Strange African tree with massive trunk shaped like a bottle—used to store water during dry periods. Deciduous in dry season. Large, white flowers hang on long stalks; open at night; bat-pollinated. When pollinated, flowers produce large, football shaped, velvety seed pods. Not suitable for small lot.

Marlberry

Ardisia escallonioides
(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-20

Partial shade

High

Native plant with attractive foliage and berries. Can be used as small specimen tree or barrier shrub. Attracts birds. Does poorly in full sun. Caution: The related shoebutton ardisia, A. elliptica, and coral ardisia, A. crenulata, are FLEPPC Category I invasive plants.

Strongbark

Bourreria succulenta

30

Full sun to partial shade

High

Native, rapidly growing, evergreen tree. Many small white flowers. Orange berries attract birds.

Black olive

Bucida buceras

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30-40

Full sun to partial shade

High

Widely used as a shade tree. Fruit stains masonry. Leaves can be disfigured by mites, and caterpillars can be a nuisance. Roots not as invasive as many other trees.

Gumbo limbo

Bursera simaruba

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

20-50

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

Grown for attractive, peeling, bronze bark and appealing form. Cuttings take easily but are weak rooted. Not a strong tree. 

Flame of the forest

Butea monosperma

50

Full sun

High

Large, tropical, deciduous tree with large, 3-lobed, pinnate leaves, crooked, sinuous trunk with gray bark, and spectacular, vivid reddish orange to red, pealike shaped like a claw or parrot’s beak. Bluish-green, 5” pods follow flowers.

Locust-berry

Byrsonima lucida

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

3-30

Full sun to partial shade

Moderate

Native shrub to small tree with spreading canopy. Attractive flowers are white/pink to yellow. Orange to yellow berries attract wildlife. Can be used as a hedge.

Spicewood

Calyptranthes pallens

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-25

Partial Shade

Moderate

Small, shrubby, native tree with burgundy-tinged new growth and insignificant white flowers. Can be sheared and grown as a hedge. Good drought tolerance, but prefers moist soil.

Cinnamon bark

Canella winterana

10-30

Full sun to light shade

High

Small, slow-growing native tree with a 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. Requires well-drained site and protection from cold. Also known as C. alba.

Ceylon senna, red cassia

Cassia roxburghii

20-30

Full sun

Low

Fairly large “shower” tree with featherlike, pinnately compound leaves and twigs covered with fine, soft hairs. Produces clusters of pink, rose, or orange flowers. Golden and apple blossom cassias very similar, differing primarily in flower color.

Floss silk tree

Chorisia speciosa

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30-60

Full sun

Low

Awkwardly branched tree with palmate leaves and swollen, spiny trunk. Drops leaves just prior to flowering. Flowers large, pink to white; spectacular display. Not suitable for small lot.

Satinleaf

Chrysophyllum oliviforme

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30

Full sun

Moderate

Very attractive native tree. Tops of the leaves glossy, vivid green; underside covered with soft, coppery brown hairs. Can be difficult to establish.

Fiddlewood

Citharexylum spinosum

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

50

Full sun

High

Large, tropical tree with pyramidal crown, glossy, bright green, elliptical leaves, and elongated, arching panicles—to 1’ long—of small, white, fragrant flowers. Leaves turn bronze in cool weather. Fruit are dark purple berries. Attractive to birds. Also known as C. fruticosum.

Pitch apple

Clusia rosea

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

30

Full sun

High

Thick, dark green leaves and attractive pink and white flowers make this a good all-around choice for beach-front properties. Vigorous root system.

Pigeon plum

Coccoloba diversifolia

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-30

Full sun to partial shade

High

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

Sea grape

Coccoloba uvifera

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-50

Full sun

High

Native large shrub to large tree with large, thick, saucer-like leaves bearing attractive venation. Also has edible fruit. On occasion, can be susceptible to a number of pests. Leaves can be messy. Good for beach-front properties.

Coffee colubrina

Colubrina arborescens

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

20

Full sun to light shade

High

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

Buttonwood

Conocarpus eretus

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-50

Full sun to partial shade

High

Native shrub or tree. Both green and silver leaved forms available; the latter is more attractive. Insignificant flowers followed by small, button-like seed pods. Scales can be a problem and foliage can be attacked by chewing insects. Can be used as a hedge but bottom is prone to thin out.

Mexican calabash

Crescentia alata
(Link is to related species)

30

Full sun

Moderate

Large, lobed leaves. Insignificant flowers. Interesting form and fruits. Rough bark good support for orchids.

Royal poinciana

Delonix regia

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

20-30

Full sun

Moderate

Large, savanna-type tree with bipinnately compound leaves and brilliant red/yellow flowers in late spring. Requires plenty of room, and freely draining site. Deciduous during winter. Roots can lift sidewalk. Limbs prone to break in storms. Sometimes called flamboyant tree.

Coral bean tree

Erythrina herbacea

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

3-15

Full sun

Low

Native perennial shrub to small tree. Deciduous, 3-lobed compound leaves. Showy scarlet blossoms on tall stalks in spring, followed by large beans that split to reveal bright red seeds. May grow into small tree in south Florida. Extremely poisonous.

Coral tree, tiger claw

Erythrina variegata

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

60-80

Full sun

Low

Broad, spreading, deciduous tree with many stout branches armed with black spines. Leaves large, variegated green and yellow. Spectacular display of bright crimson flowers in dense clusters—later winter or early spring.

White stopper

Eugenia axillaris

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

5-20

Full sun to dense shade

High

Native large shrub or small tree with pale, whitish bark and aromatic foliage that can be overpowering. Small, white flowers in midsummer followed by small, purplish berries. Attractive to birds.

Redberry stopper

Eugenia confusa

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

6-18

Full sun to partial shade

High

Slow-growing native plant with attractive glossy leaves and red berries. Used as specimen plant or hedge. Upright growth suitable for restricted site.

Spanish stopper

Eugenia foetida

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

18-36

Full sun to shade

High

Native large shrub or small tree. Densely clothed with small, rounded leaves. Smallest flowers and fruits of all stoppers, but still attractive to wildlife. Excellent foundation or specimen plant.

Red stopper

Eugenia rhombea

(Click here for UF Fact Sheet )

9

Full sun to shade

High

Native large shrub or small tree with reddish brown bark and elegant growth habit. Branches produced in flat sprays perpendicular to main trunk. Slow-growing and does not flower or fruit as a young plant.

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  .
Perennials Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (A-E)
Annuals Palms, Cycads & Palm-like Plants (G-Z)
Shrubs & Hedges (A-Ci) Ornamental Grasses
Shrubs & Hedges (Cl-Ha) Groundcovers (A-I)
Shrubs & Hedges (He-P) Groundcovers (J-Z)
Shrubs & Hedges (R-Z) Vines
Flowering & Shade Trees (A-E) Epiphytes
Flowering & Shade Trees (F-Z) Herbs & Vegetables
Fruit Trees  

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Scientific Name / Common Name Cross-Reference

Common Name / Scientific Name Cross-Reference

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