Native Florida Shrubs

Bay cedar
Suriana maritima
Bay Cedar
Golden creeper
ernodea littoralis

Golden Creeper
Beautyberry
Callicarpa americana
Beautyberry
Biscayne prickly ash
Zanthoxylum coriaceum
Biscayne Prickly Ash
Bitterbush
Picramnia pentandra
Bitterbush

Blackbead
Pithecellobium keyense

Blackbead
Bloodberry
Cordia globosa
Bloodberry
Chapman’s Cassia
Cassia chapmanii
Chapman's Cassia
Dahoon Holly
Ilex cassine
Dahoon Holly
Elderberry
Sambucus canadensis
Elderberry

Fiddlewood
Citharexylum spinosum
Fiddlewood
Firebush
Hamelia patens
Firebush
Horizontal Cocoplum
Chrysobalanus icaco var. horizontal
Horizontal Cocoplum
Indigo berry
Randia aculeata

Indigo Berry
Jamaica Caper
Capparis cynophallophora
Jamaica Caper

Joewood
Jacquinia keyensis
Joewood
Locust Berry
Byrsonima lucida
Locustberry
Marlberry
Ardisia escallonioides
Marlberry
Myrsine
Rapania punctata
Myrsine
Myrtle of the river
Calyptrantes zuzygium
Myrtle of the River

Pineland acacia
Acacia pinetorum
Pineland Acacia
Pineland Privet
Forestiera segregata pinetorum
Pineland Privet
Quailberry
Crossopetalum ilicifolium
Quailberry
Rhacoma
Crossopetalum rhacoma
Rhacoma
Sea lavender
Argusia gnaphalodes
Sea Lavender

Simpson stopper
Myrcianthes fragrans
Simpson's Stopper
Snowberry
Chiococca alb
Snowberry
Spanish stopper
Eugenia foetida
Spanish Stopper
Walter’s viburnum
Viburnum obovatum
Walter's Viburnum
West Indian Lilac
Tetrazygia bicolor
West Indian Lilac

White stopper
eugenia axillaris
White Stopper
Wild coffee
Psychotria nervosa
Wild Coffee
Wild sage
Lantana involucrata
Wild Lantana
Winged sumac
Rhus copallinum
Winged Sumac

Winged sumac
Rhus copallinum

Winged Sumac

Winged sumac is found in mesic (moist) pinelands from the Keys throughout the Eastern and Central U.S. The height is usually 15 feet or less, yet may reach 30 feet. Very tolerant of drought and small amounts of salt air, yet not long term flooding.

Unfortunately winged sumac sends out suckers far from the parent plant. Best if grown as a colony under slash pine and given room to wander. The plants are dioecious, so plant several if you want the red berries which follow interesting white masses of flowers.

A lemonade flavored drink can be made by washing the red off of the berries, straining and adding sugar. The leaves are a beautiful red in the fall. Very nice when planted near a red maple.

Plant a mass on a hill or to fill up a large bare area along a wall or home. Winged sumac will rise above saw palmetto or other low shrubs in a pineland, keys or coastal setting. This is a larval food for the red-banded hairstreak. The masses of white flowers attract many butterflies and bees.

Wild sage, Wild lantana or Buttonsage
Lantana involucrata

Wild Lantana

Wild lantana is the only lantana that you can be sure is native. The low, orange Lantana depressa is often hybridized with the exotic Lantana camara. Even if you find the unhybridized Lantana depressa, it is small with few flowers and usually doesn’t live long in cultivation.

Wild sage is found in the Keys and along the coast to Brevard County. It likes full sun and a rich soil. Extended drought will cause it to wilt and die back. Wild sage is tolerant of moderate salt winds.

The white flowers are very attractive to a variety of butterflies, and birds like the pink berries. Don’t eat these, they are poisonous along with other parts of the plant.

The common height is 4-6 feet. This is a popular plant in butterfly gardens and can be mixed with other sun loving plants. For height, try Bahama strongback and pineland privet. Then mix in front of these wild sage, bloodberry, native plumbago, pineland strongback, Chapman’s cassia, coontie, Keys porterweed and other wildflowers.

Wild coffee
Psychotria nervosa

Wild Coffee

Wild coffee is one of our most shade tolerant native shrubs with shiny, dark green leaves and red berries. It grows to six feet or more in rich hammock soil. Wild coffee should be protected from continuous direct sun and wind.

Although it can take long periods of drought, this is the first plant to show wilt. Just give it a little water and it will perk up within the hour. Long periods of drought may cause some of the upper portion to die back, even with established plants. When rains come, the plant quickly regains its height.

The white flowers are showy in late summer and attract many pollinators. The red berries brighten the yard in late fall and early winter. These are edible, but not very tasty. Birds love them.

This is a little too fast growing to make a foundation planting. Try as a specimen on the corner or windowless portions of the north or east sides of the house. A mixed hedge under shade may consist of wild coffee, marlberry, white, Spanish and Simpson stoppers and mysine.

These also look nice along the outer edge of a densely planted grove of hammock trees. In this situation, blend in snowberry, beautyberry, wild plumbago, Jamaica caper and other hammock species to capture the look of a coastal hammock.

White stopper
Eugenia axillaris

White Stopper

White stopper is found along the coast and in inland hammocks from the Keys through Volusia County. Although it may reach a height of 30 feet, most are 12 feet or can be trimmed to much less.

It is tolerant of salt air when planted in back of other vegetation and can withstand a short period of salt water flooding after a storm. Drought tolerant once established.

Prefers rich hammock soil and can be planted under trees. The masses of small white flowers are fragrant in the spring and are followed by green to red to black edible berries which are favored by birds in late winter. The growth is upright and narrow.

Mix with any coastal or hammock species in sun or deep shade. A deep shade mix includes: marlberry, wild coffee, native plumbago or leadwort, snowberry and lancewood as an understory tree.

Some people think the foliage smells like a skunk, yet it is more of a faint fragrance of coffee and reminds one of the natural smell of the hammock forest.

I find that a thicket of several oddly spaced plants looks natural and will provide a screened, private place to sit.

West Indian Lilac
Tetrazygia bicolor

West Indian Lilac

West Indian Lilac or what I call Tetrazygia occurs in Southern Dade County and the Keys and will tolerate most conditions through Palm Beach County. Well drained, rich, organic, slightly acid sandy soil with no added limerock, such as near a road or driveway, is best for this plant. It won’t tolerate salt air or flooding and extended drought may cause dieback. Full sun or partial shade is best.

Most plants will grow to 10 feet and can be kept lower with yearly pruning. The white and yellow flowers are attractive and the blueberry sized and colored berries are very attractive to birds. These are not bad tasting either.

Remember that ground limestone or dolomite will kill this plant because it raises the soil PH above neutral. Tetrazygia naturally grows in decomposed leaf mold rich soil which is acid, even though the underlying ground is coral rock.

The leaves are tropical looking and quilted. Plant near pines and mix with thrinax palms, coontie, beach creeper, wild coffee, lignum vitae, saw palmetto, beauty berry, marlberry, and other pine rockland species and wildflowers.

Walter’s viburnum
Viburnum obovatum

Walter's Viburnum

Walter’s viburnum is found naturally growing in floodplain soils of Central Florida thru the Southeastern U.S.. Moderately fertile soil with some organic matter is best. It is not tolerant of salt air or saltwater flooding.

This is a suckering shrub that forms a thicket of sprouts that fill in and create a dense hedge. It can be clipped or allowed to form a natural screen.

The numerous heads of small white flowers are fragrant in March and April. These are followed by green, turning to red and finally black small flat berries. These ripen in August and are eaten by wildlife. The fruit has a sweet licorice flavor.

The best site to grow Walter’s viburnum is one with moist soil with moderate organic matter, although it is tolerant of dry soil once established. . Plant as a hedge or along a lake edge mixed with myrsine, wax myrtle, dahoon holly, marlberry, cocoplum, Virginia willow, red maple, laurel oak, slash pine, Florida elm, hackberry, elderberry and swamp fern as a ground cover.