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aztropic

Lignum vitae,representative tree of the Bahamas,is flowering now in Arizona. One of the hardest woods known to the world! Very slow growing,but a very pretty tree none the less. :greenthumb: Small blue flowers are actually pleasantly scented. A winner and a survivor for the western deserts!:drool:

 

aztropic

Mesa,Arizona

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mnorell

Congratulations on your flowers! Your plant looks oh so happy., do you grow it in full sun? Guaiacum is a very nice genus, and I am not at all surprised it has thrived for you in the desert. And have you tried any other natives from the Bahamas/Keys/Caribbean? I have found that virtually everything I have tried native to the Florida Keys and surrounding areas has done well in the low desert. I have a young (3gal) Guaiacum officinale that seems to love it in Rancho Mirage. Others that have been completely happy for me are the stalwart Coccoloba uvifera; and also Canella winterana (wild cinnamon-bark). The latter is one of my favorite Keys natives and I wish it were used more as a general landscape subject in warm areas. I am sure the elegant and showy Verawood (Bulnesia arborea, a close relative of Guaiacum) would do beautifully in the desert, also the Gumbo-Limbo (Bursera simaruba) would no doubt be fine. One of the oddest things to me is that the beautiful "black-olive" (Bucida buceras) of the Keys and surrounding areas is completely absent from the low desert on the U.S. side, and yet it seems that every town and city south of the border has thousands planted as street trees. Maybe it turns people off because they think it's actually an olive. But Guaiacum is a good landscape subject in hot zones and does grow faster than most people think, at least once it has had time to grow a root-zone. I have to laugh to myself because it is one of those trees that I have never been able to grow in the Keys because the Key Deer will pulverize it, and yet it grows wonderfully in the hostile desert.

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Silas_Sancona
Just now, mnorell said:

Congratulations on your flowers! Your plant looks oh so happy., do you grow it in full sun? Guaiacum is a very nice genus, and I am not at all surprised it has thrived for you in the desert. And have you tried any other natives from the Bahamas/Keys/Caribbean? I have found that virtually everything I have tried native to the Florida Keys and surrounding areas has done well in the low desert. I have a young (3gal) Guaiacum officinale that seems to love it in Rancho Mirage. Others that have been completely happy for me are the stalwart Coccoloba uvifera; and also Canella winterana (wild cinnamon-bark). The latter is one of my favorite Keys natives and I wish it were used more as a general landscape subject in warm areas. I am sure the elegant and showy **Verawood (Bulnesia arborea, a close relative of Guaiacum) would do beautifully in the desert, also the ** Gumbo-Limbo (Bursera simaruba) would no doubt be fine. One of the oddest things to me is that the beautiful "black-olive" (Bucida buceras) of the Keys and surrounding areas is completely absent from the low desert on the U.S. side, and yet it seems that every town and city south of the border has thousands planted as street trees. Maybe it turns people off because they think it's actually an olive. But Guaiacum is a good landscape subject in hot zones and does grow faster than most people think, at least once it has had time to grow a root-zone. I have to laugh to myself because it is one of those trees that I have never been able to grow in the Keys because the Key Deer will pulverize it, and yet it grows wonderfully in the hostile desert.

** = Had both of these,  plus G. officinale ( ..and G. sanctum / coulteri )  Verawood fried after 2 1/2 years.. Granted it already had issues when i purchased it in FL.  Had 5 Gumbo Limbo of varying size when i got here.. Longest survivor made it to winter 2018, then croaked.  If someone grew them to 10- 15gal size -first, i'd give them a 60/40% chance at long term survival here. There are two other species in the simaruba section of the Bursera family from Hot / dry areas of southwestern Mexico that might also do well here.

My Black Olive? flawless.. Agree this would be a big winner for street tree applications here. 

Would add Necklacepod,  Jamaican Caper, Fiddlewood,  Cinnecord.. Acacia choriophylla,  Lily thorn ( Catesbaea spinosa ),  Randia aculeata, and Marlberry to the list of " Florida stuff " that are still alive after 5 years in the low desert, in pots.

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mnorell

Man that is bad news about Verawood. It seems like it would make it in the heat, leaves seem very similar to G. sanctum not only in shape/arrangement but in texture. Though I do remember I had one in the Keys that I forgot about for a little while and it completely croaked due to drought, so perhaps that is one of its weak points, needing a more reliable source of moisture than Guaiacum, which I know can take a lot of drought/neglect.

I'm not sure how far north in Florida the gumbos are grown, or naturally occur, I keep forgetting about freezes with those trees (probably since they seem so strong in other ways), and I know you have to deal with the occasional freeze in areas of the Phoenix metro due to geography and/or lack of UHI influences. But I would think they would easily resprout from below soil-level in a freeze. One thing many people don't know about Bursera is that they are one of those "living fence-post" trees that will root from any section of trunk or decent-sized branch/cutting. I had sections of log in the Keys that were cut from a hurricane-felled tree after Irma, and they kept sprouting, sprouting, sprouting, just laying on the ground. I have a small plant of the Sonoran-native (range goes right up to where our house is in Rancho Mirage) "elephant-tree" (B. microphylla) and I rotted it last year with too much water and too heavy a soil. I cut the top off and was able to re-root it quickly in a ziploc bag filled with moist orchid-moss. it is now back outside in a pot and doing great. I believe they are also tender but obviously they stand a few degrees and don't die to the ground, since there are very old, large, twisted trees around Borrego.

That's an interesting array of plants you have trialed and succeeded with. It's great that you've been growing all of these things, I think it is an untapped resource for landscape materials for the low desert. I just brought back some necklace-pod (Sophora tomentosa) seed from the Keys, as it seems to be one of those "you can't kill me" plants. I don't think we have Cinnecord on Big Pine or in the Lower Keys, I've never noticed it and it must be one of those that grows up closer to the mainland (as does black-olive). I assume Cordia sebestena is too tender for all but frost-free pockets but I am such a fan of that tree, they seem to be hardy to everything except cold. Look into the wild cinnamon-bark, it is a wonderful small tree with excellent shape, attractive foliage and beautiful and unusual flowers.

Do you ever see black-olive trees for sale in Arizona nurseries, or know a source for seed? I prefer the full-size "original" species to the "Shady Lady" hybrid. Unfortunately the latter seems to be all that is now in the trade in Florida. And I have poor luck ever finding a tree of B. buceras in fruit. Bonsai sources I have looked at only sell B. spinosa. And seemingly nobody in the Coachella Valley has ever heard of the plant. If you look on Google Street View, you will see them planted all over the place, right on the Mexico side of the border-fence in Mexicali, but I can't find any on the U.S. side. Crazy!

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Silas_Sancona
10 minutes ago, mnorell said:

Man that is bad news about Verawood. It seems like it would make it in the heat, leaves seem very similar to G. sanctum not only in shape/arrangement but in texture. Though I do remember I had one in the Keys that I forgot about for a little while and it completely croaked due to drought, so perhaps that is one of its weak points, needing a more reliable source of moisture than Guaiacum, which I know can take a lot of drought/neglect.

I'm not sure how far north in Florida the gumbos are grown, or naturally occur, I keep forgetting about freezes with those trees (probably since they seem so strong in other ways), and I know you have to deal with the occasional freeze in areas of the Phoenix metro due to geography and/or lack of UHI influences. But I would think they would easily resprout from below soil-level in a freeze. One thing many people don't know about Bursera is that they are one of those "living fence-post" trees that will root from any section of trunk or decent-sized branch/cutting. I had sections of log in the Keys that were cut from a hurricane-felled tree after Irma, and they kept sprouting, sprouting, sprouting, just laying on the ground. I have a small plant of the Sonoran-native (range goes right up to where our house is in Rancho Mirage) "elephant-tree" (B. microphylla) and I rotted it last year with too much water and too heavy a soil. I cut the top off and was able to re-root it quickly in a ziploc bag filled with moist orchid-moss. it is now back outside in a pot and doing great. I believe they are also tender but obviously they stand a few degrees and don't die to the ground, since there are very old, large, twisted trees around Borrego.

That's an interesting array of plants you have trialed and succeeded with. It's great that you've been growing all of these things, I think it is an untapped resource for landscape materials for the low desert. I just brought back some necklace-pod (Sophora tomentosa) seed from the Keys, as it seems to be one of those "you can't kill me" plants. I don't think we have Cinnecord on Big Pine or in the Lower Keys, I've never noticed it and it must be one of those that grows up closer to the mainland (as does black-olive). I assume Cordia sebestena is too tender for all but frost-free pockets but I am such a fan of that tree, they seem to be hardy to everything except cold. Look into the wild cinnamon-bark, it is a wonderful small tree with excellent shape, attractive foliage and beautiful and unusual flowers.

Do you ever see black-olive trees for sale in Arizona nurseries, or know a source for seed? I prefer the full-size "original" species to the "Shady Lady" hybrid. Unfortunately the latter seems to be all that is now in the trade in Florida. And I have poor luck ever finding a tree of B. buceras in fruit. Bonsai sources I have looked at only sell B. spinosa. And seemingly nobody in the Coachella Valley has ever heard of the plant. If you look on Google Street View, you will see them planted all over the place, right on the Mexico side of the border-fence in Mexicali, but I can't find any on the U.S. side. Crazy!

As mentioned, i think there was an issue w/ my Verawood when i got it that put it at a disadvantage when i moved here.. That and forgetting to water a couple times during a past summer nuke fest. ..so more human error than effected by winter temps.  Fairly sure bigger specimens installed in some of the parks here would do fine. There's actually a nursery in South Phoenix who has been offering them but haven't heard on how any he'd sold have fared here. Want to get more to try once in Vista.

As far as Bursera, simaruba is the only sp. i have that didn't make it. and all of mine ( have 7 species atm ) stay outside thru the winter. Not entirely sure what " cold " i have seen is what killed them since if that were the factor, it should have taken out at least 3  of the other Bursera as well, and my pair of Boswellia sacra.  Is another thing i'd wager would do fine in certain parts of town w/ out much if any issue if someone offered stout 15gal sized specimens.

Think Scott ( Aztropic ) has had better luck w/ Cordia sebestena.. actually getting this sp. to flower here. Mine has done ok, but still hasn't attempted to flower, and goes through it's unhappy phase just as winter ends. Considering i had several in the same pot and it is the only one that has made it, i'll settle w/ that.

Sophora tomentosa is a no brainer that should do fine, maybe even closer to the coast.. Takes a little while to gain size though ( or the heat here slows mine down a bit ).  Notice it puts on faster growth once monsoon humidity kicks in.

Have never seen Black Olive or even Shady Lady sold here.. Imagine that's another that would have to be brought in until someone here started to propagate them. Would also like to know where to obtain seed. Agree it is weird you can theoretically look into Mexicali and see some growing, but they're not planted anywhere on this side of the Border. Think Gary Levine was growing one of the species at his place successfully.

Actually have a list of various " South Florida / obscure Caribbean " things i want to play around with more for later, including Wild Cinnamon, Strongbark /Crabwood, etc. Satinleaf is another thing i'd like to have around, even if it stays in a container on a covered patio. Challenge might be getting it from FL. back this way since i have heard they're quite sensitive to almost everything.  Sorta kicking myself i didn't grab 1 or 2 more Cinnacord before i moved. Is endangered and should be grown anywhere it will survive.

 

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mnorell

You should try again with the Verawood and Gumbo...if you have room. A problem with Gumbo Limbo is that it does get quite large. Verawood has the plus that it is much faster growing than the related Lignum Vitae species. Also a very nice form that really lends itself to use as an ideal street or garden tree around most houses, urban or rural. There are nice specimens in Key West used as street trees on Duval Street (and everything that entails...meaning they can tolerate a lot of abuse of all sorts).

I would assume Frankincense would do well and it must be hardy to a little bit of frost. I grow Adenium in the open in Rancho Mirage. As long as they are kept bone-dry, they tolerate temps below freezing (under open sky) for a few hours at least with zero damage. A couple of years ago around New Year's it dropped to 30.5 or something like that for I think four hours. The young plants I had in the ground didn't flinch. They are still doing fine, blooming happily. Same for Plumeria, which not only didn't drop their leaves, but went on flowering as if nothing had happened. When I think how 35F could sink plants when we were living in Natchez, Mississippi...the difference between dry and wet freezes comes into stark relief.

Sophora tomentosa may be a frustrating grow in the coastal plain of California. They are fairly slow even in the Keys with its warm nights. Same goes for the Sophora secundiflora, which seems to grow at a decent pace in the desert. I remember how slowly mine grew in Natchez, reaching seven feet or so after 15 years(!). In the low desert good-sized trees are sold for reasonable prices so obviously they do better in hot climates.

If you try some of these more obscure species please post your updates here. This subject is something the desert rats should pay attention to!

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Silas_Sancona
12 hours ago, mnorell said:

You should try again with the Verawood and Gumbo...if you have room. A problem with Gumbo Limbo is that it does get quite large. Verawood has the plus that it is much faster growing than the related Lignum Vitae species. Also a very nice form that really lends itself to use as an ideal street or garden tree around most houses, urban or rural. There are nice specimens in Key West used as street trees on Duval Street (and everything that entails...meaning they can tolerate a lot of abuse of all sorts).

I would assume Frankincense would do well and it must be hardy to a little bit of frost. I grow Adenium in the open in Rancho Mirage. As long as they are kept bone-dry, they tolerate temps below freezing (under open sky) for a few hours at least with zero damage. A couple of years ago around New Year's it dropped to 30.5 or something like that for I think four hours. The young plants I had in the ground didn't flinch. They are still doing fine, blooming happily. Same for Plumeria, which not only didn't drop their leaves, but went on flowering as if nothing had happened. When I think how 35F could sink plants when we were living in Natchez, Mississippi...the difference between dry and wet freezes comes into stark relief.

Sophora tomentosa may be a frustrating grow in the coastal plain of California. They are fairly slow even in the Keys with its warm nights. Same goes for the Sophora secundiflora, which seems to grow at a decent pace in the desert. I remember how slowly mine grew in Natchez, reaching seven feet or so after 15 years(!). In the low desert good-sized trees are sold for reasonable prices so obviously they do better in hot climates.

If you try some of these more obscure species please post your updates here. This subject is something the desert rats should pay attention to!

Definitely plan to work with both more after the move.. Trouble is finding shippable -sized Verawood ( Hopefully the person who supposedly offers them here still has some later ), and/or Gumbo Limbo ..let alone seed of both ( Have seen listings for both, but won't touch seed unless i know it is as freshly collected as possible ) True that Gumbo Limbo can get massive.. Saw some huge ones used as street trees in Homestead but there is a restaurant in Bradenton that had several in front of the property which were kept to -roughly- 20ft in height.. and looked really nice. Something i might do with ones i grow.. or could be done w/ any used in landscapes.

On the fence when comparing growth rates for Guaiacum.. If i had to rank speed between the 3 i have ( had, in the case of officinale ) coulteri and sanctum would be the fastest growers..  Not " Mesquite -speed "  fast, but wouldn't consider them snail's pace either. Watered regularly during the summer, G. coulteri adds new growth at a pretty good clip.. Thing w/ it is it has a tendency to layer.. Ie: throw out a bunch of new growth that would be taller as it grows if it didn't weep a bit as growth continues. I stake all my specimens to get them " up " a bit faster.. then let new growth weep a bit. Noticing too i'm having more flowering cycles on the one i have planted out front here since watering a bit more this year.  My Verawood seemed to grow at about the same rate as G. coulteri, maybe slightly slower..  I'll have to track down pictures of the Demo Garden specimens ( of Guaiacum coulteri ) from when i first observed them back in 2013 but know for sure they've grown quite a bit in the time between then and now. Here's a few pictures of how they're looking as of the end of last month there..

Largest specimen, actually two planted side by side.. Bad at gauging height but rough estimate is somewhere between 15-20ft atm. Supposedly planted in 2007 from a 15gal, i think. ( is what i'd heard anyway ) Appears it was recently " hemmed in " a bit on the bottom. I myself would remove the lowest 3ft of growth.  Even at 14 years from when it was supposedly planted, not bad. A tree this nice doesn't need to rush to gain size. These definitely need to be planted a lot more in commercial landscapes here/ out west ..and not butchered to 3ft tall balls and squares:rage:
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Other specimen in this garden's collection. Single trunked.. Roughly in the 12-15ft height range atm. Not sure when it was added/ what size they started with.
DSC03753.thumb.JPG.64ef3a782978618902e5b81ac642cb96.JPG

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