Iconic Florida Trees
Florida’s unique climate and weather make it home to a number of beautiful native trees. These trees do more than provide shade and lush greenery; they help to protect water and air quality, enhance shoreline strength, and provide shelter and food for native species that are important to Florida’s ecosystem.
Whether you’re looking to add some beautiful trees to your landscape or simply want to celebrate the natural beauty and wonder of Florida’s coastal and inland greenery, read on to see which of these iconic trees is your new favorite.
The bald cypress is the Florida tree with “knees.” Unique roots called pneumatophores protrude from the water at the base of the towering cypress. A great place to see the bald cypress in all its glory is DeLeon Springs State Park, home to “Old Methuselah,” a tree that is said to be nearly 500 years old. Several Florida state parks proudly display the bald cypress, including Fanning Springs, Manatee Springs, and Collier-Seminole.
The Florida Torreya tree has many names, including the Florida nutmeg and “the stinking cedar,” thanks to the pungent odor that emanates when the tree is cut or bruised. Despite the fact that there were an estimated 600,000 Torreya trees in Florida in the early 1800s, the tree is now on the list of America’s most endangered trees, with fewer than 200 left. Torreya State Park restoration efforts continue to revive this tree in hopes that its robust green beauty can thrive again in the Sunshine State.
The gumbo limbo not only has a unique name, but its twisting branches and hearty composition make it an ideal tree for hurricane-ravaged coastal areas. Reaching nearly sixty feet in height in the wild, it can be pared down to smaller sizes, making it an excellent addition to any home landscape.
The majesty of the live oak can be viewed all the way from Florida’s panhandle to Miami-Dade County and beyond. A picturesque oak may not be the first thing you imagine when thinking about a Florida landscape, but these long-living beauties have been a part of Florida’s rich history for centuries. Looking to add a live oak to your landscape? Plan ahead, for this tree will last long after you’ve moved on. At its most majestic, this tree lives to be well over one hundred years and can measure over 120 feet wide and 80 feet tall.
Florida is home to three species of mangrove—red, black, and white. Mangroves are home to hundreds of native species of animals, acting as nurseries for commercial shellfish and other sea life. Blue herons, egrets, and brown pelicans roost among its exposed roots. Mangroves also provide the important work of absorbing nutrient pollution before it enters waterways, helping to prevent the growth of harmful algae and bacteria that can kill wildlife.
The sabal palmetto is not classified as a tree; it actually closely resembles native grasses found in Florida. Designated the Florida State “tree” in 1953, this native is seen greening up roadways and dotting beaches across the southern half of the state, giving you that tropical vibe whenever they are in sight.
The sea grape performs a function similar to mangrove trees in that they protect shorelines and coastal lands from erosion. Sea grapes produce a lush fruit that is similar in appearance to grocery store grapes. Sea grapes make a smashing jelly and are quite popular with squirrels and birds. The sea grape is protected against removal and even trimming by Florida law; check with your local arborist before adding one to your landscape to ensure that you can properly maintain and care for them.
Sarasota Tree Service: Florida’s Premier Arborists!
Florida’s choice for top-notch tree care, maintenance, and landscape planning is none other than Sarasota Tree Service. Specializing in saving protected species of trees, trimming, pruning, stump removal, and other aspects of tree care and maintenance, we provide expert solutions for your landscape, adding beauty and value to your home and property. Contact us today for a complimentary assessment of your trees; visit www.sarasotatreeserv.com for more information.