Roughbark Lignumvitae (Guaiacum officinale)

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 Common Name Roughbark Lignumvitae 

Latin Name Guaiacum officinale

Family Zygophyllaceae

Native No; native to Caribbean

Zone 10B-11

Height 8-12 Feet

Spread 8-12 Feet

Salt Water Tolerance High

Salt Wind Tolerance High

Drought Tolerance High

Soil Tolerant of most soil types

Sun Full to Partial Sun/Shade

Wildlife Attractant Bees

Nellis, David W. (1994) Seashore Plants of South Florida and the Carribbean 1st Ed. Pineapple Press. Inc. 


Main Uses

Due to the nature of this tree, it is considered one of the most hurricane resistant trees, making it perfect for Florida landscapes.

The Roughbark can be trimmed much like a bonsai tree, kept in above ground containers, or planted in your garden as an ornamental tree.

Its high tolerance to drought, salt, and discouraging soil conditions make the Roughbark Lignumvitae a great seashore and dry coastal plant


Roughbark Lignumvitae is found in the West Indies and northern South America. Its relative, Guaiacum Sanctum Lignumvitae is native to Florida and the Caribbean.

Its seed pods are flatter than its relative G. Sanctum, ripening to an orange hue, followed by a blooming fragrant blue flower. 

Historic Uses 

On a historic note, it is said that the wood from the Lignumvitae was used by the Indians to treat syphilis.  This created a demand for the wood back in Europe. For centuries, Europeans used the wood to treat syphilitic sores, and made tea with its leaves to treat asthma, arthritis, and high blood pressure. 

Of course with high demand came over logging, resulting in almost a complete elimination of the species.

Wildlife Attractant

The Roughbark Lignumvitae attracts bees, creating great opportunities for pollination.

Plant Creations Nursery Roughbark Lignumvitae Guaiacum officinale