Picramnia pentandra


Bitterbush is a dioecious small tree that weeps with lace-like pinnate foliage that adds a tropical feel to the landscape. The strings of pea size berries turn bronze-red in the late summer and gradually become black as they ripen, dry and fall as late as February.

Bitterbush is found naturally in the Biscayne Bay area of Miami in hammocks with moderate shade or open sun. It is not tolerant of salt yet grows well in average soil at least as far north as Palm Beach County.

Use bitterbush to break up the texture of a planting. Mix bitterbush with wildflowers, ornamental grasses, coontie, beach creeper or other ground covers and occasional shrubs or small trees around the house as an alternative to the usual “foundation planting”. Looks nice on the corner of the house, near the doorway or on the side of a window. It even makes a nice component of a mixed hedge due to its upright, conical growth.

The foliage becomes bronzed in the coldest periods of winter which is a nice way to experience the season.