Black Ironwood   Krugiodendron ferreum 

Black ironwood is appropriate for any sized yard anywhere in South Florida, especially as a street tree in a hot, windy, sunny, well-drained location with limited space.  It takes well the reflected heat of the asphalt river that runs through your neighborhood.

With the hardest wood of all the hardwoods, black ironwood generally tops out at under thirty feet.  This is far shorter than the trees of Tennessee, which can be three times that tall, but suitable for our windy, sub-tropical locale.

It is one of the best-behaved trees you will ever meet, needing no irrigation when established, and minimal trimming every year or so.

Black ironwood is great as a specimen in a sunny corner (photo above), or for naturalized screening in the 5' to 25'+ range (photo at right).

The tiny perfect flowers are not very noticeable (considered "insignificant" by botanical classifiers), but are a source of nectar for pollinators.  I'd say that has at least some significance.

A multiplicity of birds go for the fruits, which are just about the size of M&Ms.

During the spring, we had cardinals nesting in the black ironwoods in pots around the nursery.  We had to keep customers from buying them until the fledglings had flown away.

Far left photo, mother on nest; left photo, two hatchlings.
   
   
Yucch! What's going on with that black ironwood? 

Sooty mold invariably appears on the leaves of black ironwoods in humid locations, such as in our nursery, where the plants are closely grouped, and regularly irrigated and a moist little micro-climate develops. 

The sooty mold is primarily a rainy season phenomenon when water cannot evaporate from the surface of the leaf.  It does not penetrate into the leaf, and does not affect the health of the plant

You will not have this problem if you avoid planting them in places with poor air circulation or overly-humid conditions. 

When the weather becomes drier, the new growth emerges with a clean, glossy, golden sheen.

 

It does not have an invasive root system, or produce large amounts of litter.  

At left is a close-up of the trunk of the 15-foot specimen in the photo above.  The diameter at the base is about 8 inches.

Ironwood gets its name because it sinks when put in water. It has the densest wood of any tree in North America. 

Along with gumbo limbo, stands of black ironwood used to develop in the interior of coastal hammocks in South Florida, the Keys and throughout the Caribbean.

The Keys pioneers used it for firewood and fence posts.  In the Caribbean area, all of the largest stands were logged out decades ago.  If we begin replanting now, in 50 years people will be able to enjoy large specimens.

At left and below, are photos of various garden specimens, about 15' high now. 

This lizard is guarding the trunk of his favorite tree.

Black ironwood forms a nice canopy that is pleasant to relax under and gaze at the sky. 

When the tree is small, you may place a love-seat in its shade.  As the canopy develops, there will be room for a playpen.

Since you're stuck in the office today, use these photos to imagine yourself lying on a blanket looking up at the sky.

   

We've got plenty of nice ones in 3-gal. containers, about 3'-4' high.

At left, in 10-gal., about 5'-6' planted height. 

Below left, in 25-gal.; they vary in height from approximately 8' to 10' high. 

Below, close-up of wind-tolerant, multi-trunk growth habit.  Black ironwood shrugs off high winds with a technology similar to the one used in making the centuries-old, earthquake-resistant paper houses in Japan: quiverability.

 

Call for prices, or come by to visit them in person.


Plant Creations, Inc.

305-248-8147

e-mail: plants@plantcreations.com
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Home
Botanical Tags
Butterfly Host Plants
Cardinals at the nursery
Coastal
Cold Damage
Driving Directions
Feedback
Fragrant Plants
Groundcovers
Hammock
In the Shadehouse
Invasive Plants
Landscaping for Hurricanes
Managing Your Plants
Mealybug Destroyers
Misc. Tropical Plants
Our Nursery
Plant Archives
Plant List
Landscaping Jobs
References
Screening
Search Page
Services
Shipping
Stone Planters
Stoppers
Street Trees
What About the Environment?
Wildlife at Plant Creations
Xerophytes
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Last updated:  12/20/2011