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Bay Rum


Tropical Fruit Point

​​​​​​​​Bay Rum

  • Common name: Bay Rum, West Indian Bay Tree, Ciliment
  • Scientific name: Pimenta racemosa
  • Family name: Myrtaceae
  • Origin: The Caribbean
  • Height: 25 to 40 ft
  • Width: 12 to 20 ft
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: 10a-12
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Slow
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Prefers moist, well-drained loamy soils with a pH of 5-6
  • Moisture: Does well in humid environments. Soil should be kept consistently moist.
  • Drought tolerance: Low
  • Pests/Diseases: Susceptible to Eucalyptus rust and black rot. May get thrips, whiteflies, and scale.
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in a sunny, humid area with moist, well-drained soil. Young plants should be protected from direct sunlight until well-established. It is sensitive to cold, and although it can survive light frost, hard frost can damage the plant severely.
  • Characteristics: This plant is a large tree that may reach heights of up to 40 ft and a canopy spread of 20 ft. Bark is light gray and flakes off to reveal the light brown inner bark. Leaves are large, bright green and leathery with an elliptical shape. Flowers are white and grow in large clusters at the ends of stems. Fruits are small, black, oval-shaped berries.
  • Propagation: Mainly done by seeds as soon as they become ripe. Vegetative propagation is uncommonly used and less successful than seeds.
  • Wildlife: The fruits are often eaten by birds. The branches and leaves of the tree provide habitat for many animal species.
  • Facts: The fruit, bark, and leaves are used to produce an essential oil which has the fragrance of cloves and cinnamon. When this oil is steeped in rum, it produces an aftershave. The leaves and fruits are also used in cooking and for medicinal purposes. The genus name Pimienta means pepper, referencing hwo the fruits look similar in appearance to those of black pepper. The specific epithet racemosa refers to the flowers, which grow on racemes.
  • Designer considerations: As it is a large tree that needs plenty of sunlight, it should be grown away from other large plants. Its distinct bark and leaves make it a good specimen tree, and its large size adds height to the landscape. It’s also a good choice for planting next to benches, as its wide canopy provides plenty of shade.