Blackbead
Pithecellobium keyense

Blackbead

Blackbead grows to 15 feet but can be kept at six feet with occasional pruning. Blackbead is native along the coast from the Florida Keys up to Martin County. The flowers are dense clusters of pink in the Keys or white north of there. They attract a wide variety of nectaring butterflies. The foliage is the larval food for the large orange sulphur and cassius blue butterflies.

Blackbead can tolerate salt air and short periods of salt water flooding if planted behind sea grapes or other front line vegetation.

Plant in dry soil with some organic matter and in full sun. Blackbead is very drought tolerant with hard wood that withstands storms.

This is one of the must haves for butterfly gardens. Both the cats-claw and the wild tamarind are also larval foods for the large orange sulphur and cassius blue butterflies. Plant in a mass to be kept low or as a small tree with an interesting twisted trunk near your home . The black seed within a curled pod has a red aril which attracts birds and is not poisonous to humans. The black seed is poisonous so don’t chew it.