Sideroxylon foetidissimum


Mastic is one of our tallest South Florida trees. It is naturally found along the coast from the Keys through Merrit Island, yet occasionally inland growing in dry, fertile soils. Along the eastern edge of Lake Ockeechobee near Route 76 are trees 80 or more feet tall with four foot diameter trunks.

Mastic is dioecious with the female trees producing olive sized orange fruit with sticky pulp and a large single seed. You may want to plant this away from pavement.

Mastic is very tolerant of salt air and short periods of salt water flooding. It mixes nicely with other tall coastal trees like live oak, gumbo limbo, pigeon plum, strangler fig and red mulberry. Plant along the sunny edge of this group of trees with your favorite hammock shrubs. Only the most shade tolerant shrubs or herbs can be planted in the deep shade of this tree. For this try wild coffee, marlberry, wild plumbago dicliptera and basket grass.

The fruit ripen in February and are an important food for wildlife. They are mildly sweet and sticky. Just remember that you will need a male and female tree for fruit and only one as a guarantee if you don’t want the messy berries.