Gumbo-limbo

 
 

Gumbo-limbo is native to Florida, Mexico, Central America, the Antilles, and northern South America. It is common along road fences because it grows readily from branches inserted into the ground. It reaches a height of 60 feet, with a trunk 2 or more feet in diameter. The bark is whitish or reddish and detaches as fine scales, exposing the underlying green surface. All parts of the tree smell of turpentine when cut, the resin produced by the bark was an important component of varnish. The leaves are up to 11 inches long and are composed of seven or nine leaflets, each up to 4 inches long. Flowers are less than a quarter of an inch in diameter and are grouped in narrow terminal inflorescences. Fruits are about half an inch long and open in three parts to expose a seed covered by tissue that attracts birds. The tree sheds its leaves during winter and flowers in spring, sometimes again during summer. Fruits mature from summer to winter. The generic name honors the German botanist Joachim Murser (1583-1639). The species name derives from an indian name for the tree.


The photographed tree is behind the Civil Engineering Building. There's another tree south of Building C, both are young individuals.

Bursera simaruba (Burseraceae)