Guaiacum sanctum

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Plant Specifics

Size:8-15 (25) ft 
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:Purple
Fruit Color:Orange
Phenology:Evergreen. Blooms mostly in spring.
Noted for:Showy flowers, Showy fruits, Interesting foliage, Hurricane wind resistance


Recommended Uses:Specimen plant.
Considerations:Very slow growing--as little as an inch per year after the seedling stage if not fertilized.
Availability:Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat 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:Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).
Soil or other substrate:Humus (organic, upland), Lime rock
Soil pH:



 Catbirds and mockingbirds eat the seeds. (IRC)


Larval host plant for lyside sulphur (Kricogonia lyside) butterflies. (IRC and Hammer)

Attracts bees and butterflies.

Native Habitats:Rockland hammock.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Extensive history of human uses, especially for the wood, which is so dense that it sinks in water. Its wood was highly prized for propellers and judges' gavels. Because it's resinous, the wood was also good for ball bearings and hinges--they are self lubricating.
General Comments:While most of these slow-growing trees were harvested for their wood, one Florida key retained its population because it was privately owned. It's now the Lignum-Vitae State Park, which is accessible only via boat.