Lignum Vitae Flowers - Roger L. Hammerby: Roger L. Hammer

Lignum Vitae

One of the most beautiful flowering trees in the flora of southern Florida is Lignum Vitae (Guajacum sanctum). The genus name Guajacum was derived from an aboriginal name for the tree, and the species name sanctum means “sacred.” The wood of this tree is extremely dense and rich in resin, making the tree highly sought by woodworkers and for use as bushings on drive shafts. The spinning drive shaft heats the wood and releases the oils, creating a natural lubricant.

The common name of this state-listed endangered species is Latin for “wood of life.” The tree was also called “Sailor’s Cure” in Spanish because the resin in the wood was once believed to be a cure for sLignum Vitae Seeds - Roger L. Hammeryphilis.

The leaves of Lignum Vitae are fed upon by the larvae of the lyside sulphur butterfly and the bright red seeds are eaten by mockingbirds, catbirds, and blue-headed vireos. Beautiful blue flowers appear several times a year attract a number of butterfly species, principally skippers.

If you are looking for a classy tree for your home landscape, this is the tree for you. Although it is a bit more expensive compared to other more commonly  cultivated trees, it is worth every single penny, and the birds and butterflies it attracts are free.

NOTE: Arch Creek Park has a few Lignum Vitae trees throughout the park. One is located in the front open field space by the main gate.

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