Long Key Locustberrry

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An amazing sight. Different textures and forms meld together here.

The Long Key Locustberry,  byrsonima lucida, is a rare and threatened species that is endemic to Florida.  An evergreen shrub that is found naturally in the pine rocklands and pine hammocks of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.  As the  nutrients of these habitats are  poor,  Locustberry is severally stunted in its growth. Populations are few and are declining.  If it was not for the cultivation by native plant nurseries, Locustberry may very well have become extinct. When placed in rich soils, Locustberry can quickly reach heights of 8 to 10 feet. Luckily, I have two of these splendid species.

Locustberry is multi-trunked with an irregular branching.  Opposite ovate dark green leaves are 1 to 2 inches in length. Leaf margins are smooth.  Semi-woody branches are round, slightly reddish and less that 1/8 of inch in diameter. They bend easily in the wind.

Tiny flowers appear in clusters at the end of branches.   Five petal flowers are about 3/8 of an inch in diameter. At the center of the petals is a cone holding ten male stamens and three female stigmas.  Locustberry relies on pollination to produce fruit. It is not capable of self-pollination as many other species are able to do.

The flowers in the picture are from a plant in my backyard.  Locustberry, would be a good choice for homeowners looking for a long lived perennial that blooms in the spring.