Blackbead
Pithecellobium keyense

This tree grows to 15 feet but can be kept at six feet with ocassional pruning. 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.

Can tolerate salt air and short periods of salt water flooding if planted behind seagrapes or other front line vegetation.

Plant in dry soil with some organic matter and in full sun. 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. Plant in a mass to be kept low or as a small tree with an interesting twisted trunk near the house . 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.

blackbead