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Flora found along South Florida’s coastal trails

Plants that can be found growing wild along South Florida’s coastal trails – a guide with pictures, descriptions and general informations.

Trees, Shrubs and Wildflowers along the coast

Brazilian Pepper

Brazilian Pepper leaves and fruits
Brazilian Pepper fruit cluster. Fruit is produced year round.

Common name: Brazilian Pepper

Scientific name: Schinus terebinthifolia

Brazilian Pepper is an invasive exotic tree, commonly found on roadsides throughout Florida, is also known as Florida Holly and Christmas Berry. It was originally brought to Florida in the early 1800’s from South America and is native to Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

Cat’s-claw, Catclaw Blackbead

Cat’s-claw – Catclaw Blackbead in bloom

Common name: Cat’s-claw – Catclaw Blackbead

Scientific name: Pithecellobium unguis-cati

Cat’s-claw – Catclaw Blackbead is a shrub or small tree with an irregular crown from spreading, spiny branches. Typically 10-15 feet in height; to 24 feet in South Florida.

Cat’s-claw – Catclaw Blackbead provides food and cover for wildlife.


Lycium carolinianum berries
Lycium carolinianum blossom

Common name: Christmasberry

Scientific name: Lycium carolinianum

This 6 to 10 foot-tall shrub has rigid branches that are sharply thorn-tipped. From a distance the Christmasberry resembles a rosemary bush. It fruits from Christmas to April and welcomed food for woodland creatures, particularly birds.

Golden Beach Creeper

Golden Creeper leaves and fruits
The Golden Creeper attracts bees and provides food for birds and other wildlife.

Common name: Golden Beach Creeper

Scientific name: Ernodea littoralis

The Golden Creeper is a 1 to 3 foot-tall, prostrate ground cover that is native to south Florida beaches. The golden berries, in part, give this plant its common name.



Common name: Myrsine

Scientific name: Myrsine cubana

Wild Coffee

Wild Coffee pant
Wild Coffee Berries

Common name: Wild Coffee

Scientific name: Psychotria nervosa

Wild Coffee is a medium-sized shrub that can reach a height of 10 feet and is native to Florida. It produces small, red fruits that resemble the “true coffee bean” in shape. It attracts birds and insects. It is not recommended to make a “cup of coffee” from those seeds. The brew can leave you with a headache. It also has no caffeine. The green leaves are rich in texture and are puckered with impressed veins on the upper surface. Psychotria Nervosa – “nervosa” refers to the leaf veins (nerves).

Seven Year Apple

Seven Year Apple
SevenYear Apple

Common name: Seven Year Apple

Scientific name: Genipa clusiifolia

The name, Seven Year Apple, is a reflection of the long ripening time of the fruits which takes 10 month and is only produced by female trees. Genipa clusiifolia avaerages a height and width of 10 feet. The leaves are glossy, leathery, and clustered near the branch tips. The fruits are first green then yellow then spotted brown and finally black.

Grey Nickernut

Grey Nickernut Shrub
Grey Nickernut leave close-up
Grey Nickernut with cluster of spiny pods
Grey Nickernut with cluster of two-seeded spiny pods
Two-seeded pod (close-up)

Common name: Grey Nickernut

Scientific name: Caesalpinia bonduc

The Grey Nickernut or Gray Nickernut is a thorny vine-like shrub that grows wild along south Florida beaches. It has clusters of two-deeded spiny pods. “Nicker” is an old English name for marble and the marble like nickernut seeds are commonly strung into necklaces in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. The seeds are smooth and shiny.

Yellow Necklace Pod

Yellow Necklacepod
Yellow Necklace Pod flower
Yellow Necklace Pod seedpods

Common name: Yellow Necklace Pod, Necklacepod, Yellow Sophora

Scientific name: Sophora tomentosa

The Yellow Necklacepod or Yellow Sophora is a nectar plant for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. It is a shrub or small tree that ranges in height from 4-10 feet. The common name Necklacepod is derived from the characteristic string of seed pods that develop after its yellow flowers germinate into seeds.

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