Crabwood
Gymnanthes lucida

Crabwood

Crabwood is found in coastal hammocks throughout the Florida Keys and Dade County.

This is a round tree that grows to 25 feet with four inch oval leaves and catkins of small green or reddish flowers. Male and female flowers are separate on the same plant.

The half inch rounded pod splits and scatters three small seeds when dry. They are not an important food for birds. The Florida purplewing butterfly larva feeds on this plant in the Keys.

Mix crabwood with other hammock species from the Florida Keys thru Palm Beach County. The burgundy new growth is beautiful and the moderate size and round shape make this a good front yard tree. Tall paradise, mastic, oak and pigeon plum can be planted within ten feet while lower and bushy Jamaica caper, black ironwood, marlberry, stoppers and lancewood will need their own space of 10-20 feet from crabwood.

Protect from direct salt air and flooding. Crabwood makes a great hedge in parking lots and other harsh environments with heat and poor soil.