Fiddlewood is native to southern Florida, the Antilles, and northern South America. It reaches a height of 70 feet, with a trunk 2 feet in diameter. The bark is light-colored and peels in long strips. The leaves are up to 7 inches long, thick, rough but lustrous, with orange or red petioles. Flowers are about three-eighths of an inch wide and are grouped in racemes up to a foot long. Fruits are about three-eighths of an inch wide and are initially green, then yellow, red, and finally black. It flowers during spring and summer, produces fruits during summer and autumn. Birds eat the fruits and disperse the seeds. The generic name means lyre wood and derives from the common name fiddlewood. The species name means with spines, although this species lacks them.

The photographed tree is one of five specimens planted west of the Nursing Building. There’s another tree west of Building B.

Citharexylum spinosum (Lamiaceae)