Clusia rosea

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Pitch-apple, Autograph Tree


Plant Specifics

Size:25-50 ft
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White,pink
Fruit Color:Orange,green
Phenology:Evergreen, blooms in warmer months
Noted for:Showy flowers, Showy fruits, Interesting foliage, Hurricane wind resistance


Recommended Uses:Specimen tree. Flowers are open at night.
Considerations:Easily spread by birds so it can become somewhat of a pest.
Availability:Native nurseries
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:High. Can tolerate significant and ongoing amounts of salty wind and salt spray without injury.
Soil or other substrate:Humus (organic, upland), Lime rock, Sand
Soil pH:Calcareous



Dense foliage creates cover for birds and other wildlife (


Can produce seed without pollination.

Native Habitats:Cultivated. According to Wunderlin (1998), probably native, but may not exist outside of cultivation today. Xeric and dry mesic hammocks, scrub.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures



The black material surrounding the seeds was once used to caulk the seams of boats leading to the name pitch apple.

The leathery leaves can be scratched with the scratches remaining on the leaves until they fall -- thus autograph tree.

General Comments:

This Florida native has been introduced into Hawaii where it is extremely invasive. In fact, it has earned the distinction of being listed in the Global Compendium of Weeds.

In Florida, it is known to naturalize into areas near where it has been planted.   Avoiding the use of this in landscape settings where it could escape is recommended.