Monday, March 9, 2020
Oysterwood - Gymnanthes lucida
Oysterwood - Gymnanthes lucida (also called the Crabwood), is the only tree native to Florida whos leaves have an eared base. It grows in an erect form with a single trunk and narrow crown. It is found in Hammocks in the Florida Keys and Southern Florida only. A member of the very small genus Gymnanthes which is made up of only 12 species a distributed in the American tropics, Oysterwood is the only member found in North America. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches height of only about 30 feet tall.
Image Citation: Dan Clark, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Oysterwood is smooth, sometimes finely fissured, and gray-brown in color. The leaves are alternate, simple, leathery, elliptic with a distinct ear shape at the base. The flowers are unisexual, with male and female on the same tree. Flowers are mostly absent of petals and sepals. Male flowers occur in elongated racemes reaches up to 5 cm long, but remaining shorter then the leaves. Female flowers are solitary at the tip of a long stalk that arises from the base of the male raceme. Flowers occur between Summer and Winter annually. The fruit is rounded, 3 part with a dark brown capsule that reaches up to 12mm in diameter.