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Native Garden

Paradise tree

Paradise tree

Simarouba glauca

  • Common Name: Paradise Tree (other common names: Tree of Heaven, aceituno, dysentery bark, bitterwood, pasaque, Simarouba, marubá, marupá, bitterwood, pitomba, palo blanco, robleceillo, caixeta, daguilla, cedro blanco, gavilan, negrito, bois amer, bois blanc, cajú-rana, malacacheta, palo amargo, bois frene, bois negresse and simaba)
  • Scientific Name: Simarouba glauca
  • Family Name: Simaroubaceae
  • Origin: native to Florida, Southern Mexico, the West Indies, and Central America
  • Height: 40’ - 50’
  • Width: 25’ - 30’
  • Growth: moderate
  • Zone: 10B - 11
  • Light Needs: Full sun – Partial shade
  • Salt Tolerance:  aerosol salt tolerance is high
  • Soil/PH/Texture: will grow in clay, loam, or sandy soil but it will grow more quickly on rich soils high in organic matter, alkaline – acidic and well-drained
  • Soil Moisture: regular watering but do not over water, once established it needs little care.
  • Drought Tolerance: moderate and humidity tolerant
  • Pests/Diseases: free of serious pests and diseases
  • Growing Conditions: easy to grow, low maintenance but the fruit and seeds can make a mess and stain hard surfaces. Roots are shallow and close to the surface, so it is not a good idea to plant near driveways or sidewalks.
  • Characteristics: This beautiful native tree has 6 “ – 16”  leaves that are 1 ½” – 3” wide, multiple, 3” long, 10 – 14 leaflets, shiny, leathery, pinnately compound, oblong leaflets which are red-orange when young and turn to green as it matures. The tiny, inconspicuous, yellow to creamy white, springtime blooms and are followed by small clusters of dark purple, 1” long, green – dark purple edible fruits in the early summer.
  • Propagation: by seed
  • Wildlife: attracts butterflies, bees, and birds
  • Facts: This tree provides many benefits, the following are just a few out of many. One use is making building materials (easily worked and milled - used in interior construction, in making furniture components, plywood, particle board and veneers). It is also known to be used for food (the fruit and seeds can be pressed like olives to make an edible oil that is known to be heart healthy, or the fruit can be eaten by itself or made into juice). Another use is for traditional medicines (The leaves and bark have been used to treat malaria and other fevers, sometimes called “dysentery bark” because of its use to treat amoebic dysentery, and some even suggest it could be useful in making anti-cancer drugs). Furthermore, it is also used for fertilizer (the leftovers after being pressed are called oilseed cake which is high in phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium making it great for a fertilizer).
  • Designer Considerations: use as a tree specimen in a residential or commercial property, shade tree, highway median, or as a street tree that is not near a sidewalk.