Simarouba glauca

paradise tree, bitterwood.


wildlife plant

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Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: tree
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 30-50 ft    Width: up to 30 ft
Fruit Color: fruit color      purple
Phenology: evergreen
Noted for: Showy fruits, hurricane wind resistance, interesting foliage


Recommended Uses: Specimen tree.
Considerations: As the tree matures its roots, which are close to the surface, can become a hazard to paved surfaces by causing upheaval. Frost sensitive, do not plant north of its range. Drops smaller branches when exposed to high winds (this is its protection mechanism for surviving hurricanes, but a bit on the messy side.
Propagation: Seed. Plant when fresh.
Availability: Native nurseries, FNPS plant sales, Seed
Light: light requirement   light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Highly salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, clay, loam
Soil pH Range: Broadly tolerant


wildlife plant  
Native Habitats: Coastal hammocks extending up the coast to mid-peninsula in coastal hammocks.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


According the research done by the Key West Garden club, the Paradise seed produces 65% edible oil which is used in baking in Central America and India, and its oil does not contain bad cholesterol. They also claim the fruit pulp is sweet and is used to make beverages when the birds don't eat them, the oilseed cake (what's left after the oil is squeezed out) is full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash and makes a good fertilizer. Furthermore, the shells can be used to make particle board and the termite resistant wood makes furniture, toys, matches and paper.