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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.