Colubrina elliptica


With a beautiful trunk, plated with chunks of orange – brown bark and a height of only 20 to 40 feet, soldierwood is one of the most interesting medium sized trees to plant near a home. When mixed with gumbo limbo, Simpson stopper and other plants with exfoliating bark, the effect is enchanting.

This endangered tree is found only in the Upper Keys and Biscayne National Park. It is not salt tolerant yet is very drought tolerant.

The tiny seeds of soldierwood make a soft popping sound as they explode from their quarter inch round pod. Stand under a tree in late summer and listen to the sound as the pods heat in the sun and the seeds are ejected.

Although not a berry producing tree, the bark hides insects for the birds to find. The 4 inch light green leaves glow in the light. Try a closely spaced stand of soldierwood mixed with willow bustic, pigeon plum, gumbo limbo, wild tamarind, white stopper, milkbark and if you dare, poisonwood for the look of the dark forests of the Florida Keys.