Florida is… Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum)


Florida is… Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum)

From http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep220
“Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum)
Poisonwood is an evergreen shrub or tree that grows 25–35 feet tall in hammocks, pinelands, and sandy areas near saltwater. It is particularly abundant in the Florida Keys. As of this writing, poisonwood’s range has only been confirmed in five counties in South Florida: Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe. The tree has a spreading, rounded form with a short trunk and arching limbs with drooping branches. The bark varies in color from reddish brown to gray, depending on the habitat, and has oily patches of sap on the surface; older trees have scaly bark (Figure 13). Each leaf is comprised of three to seven oval leaflets, although five leaflets are typical. Leaves are glossy and dark green above, paler underneath, and have smooth margines (leaf edges). Irregular blotches of resin dot the surface of many of the leaflets (Figure 14). The fruit is ½ inch long, oval, yellow to orange in color, and hangs in loose clusters (Figure 15). The poisonwood fruit is an important food source for the threatened white crown pigeon.

Do not walk where poisonwood is known to grow during a rainstorm. Rainwater dripping off the poisonwood leaves contains urushiol, which causes contact dermatitis.”

Florida is… Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum)

by Xavier Cortada

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