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Guaiacum officinale, Lignum-Vitae

Lignum-vitae can be grown in full sun or partial shade on a wide variety of soils, including alkaline. Plants will easily tolerate wet or dry soil, wind, and salt, making it an ideal choice especially for seaside plantings. They make one of the nicest small shade trees for tropical landscapes and can be used as a street tree. They are especially useful for small restricted soil spaces such as downtown sidewalk cutouts. Trees grow very slowly so expect to pay more for these trees in the nursery.

This plant can be grown as a multi-trunk tree for use in highway median strips and in landscapes, or can be used as a street tree where there is not a need for tall-vehicle clearance beneath the crown. The small stature and low, spreading, branching habit makes pruning for vehicular clearance difficult unless it is properly trained from an early age to develop one main trunk. The effort required initially to train this tree for street tree use, however, may be offset by its advantages.

Wood has a fabulous black color and oily texture prized by woodworkers.

Lignum-Vitae Photos

Lignum Vitae

Lignum Vitae

Lignum Vitae Bark

Lignum Vitae

Lignum Vitae

Additional Information

Lignum-vitae (91KB pdf)