Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Meet the Tetrazygia - Tetrazygia bicolor

The Tetrazygia (Tetrazygia bicolor) also known as the Florida Clover Ash, is a evergreen small tree or shrub the generally only reaches 30 feet in height.  It is easily identified by the very distinct longitudinal leaf veins that are depressed above and prominent below.  It usually appears in shrubby form with a single erect trunk.  

Image Citation: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service,

The leaves are opposite, simple, lanceolate and somewhat curved.  The upper surfaces of the leaves are are lustrous, dark green and have two obviously depressed longitudinal veins near the margins joined with numerous depressed lateral veins, these veins give the surface an almost quilted appearance.  The blades are 7-12 cm long and 2-4 cm wide.  The flowers are bisexual, with 5 petals generally white in color with 10 stamens and 1 pistil.  The flowers are so delicate that they fall off when touched.  The fruit is a rounded black berry that matures in late Summer to early Fall.

Image Citation: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service,

The Tetrazygia is native to only the Everglades, Pinelands and Hammocks of Southern Florida.  A member of the very large Melastomataceae family which contains over 200 genera and 4500 species distributed mostly in the tropics.  The Tetrazygia is the only woody member family of the Melastomataceae Family native to North America.  

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