Satinleaf (Chrysophyllum oliviforme) is a native, medium-sized, evergreen tree that reaches a height of 40 feet and a spread of 20 feet. The trunk is covered by thin, light reddish-brown, scaly bark.

As shown in the first two photographs, satinleaf trees of various ages can be seen along the hammock trail.

Leaves are four inches long. When observed below the tree, many leaves appear to be dead, but this is not the case. The bottom surface of a leaf has a soft velvet-like texture and is copper-colored, while the top surface is dark green and waxy. The waxy coating prevents excessive evaporation.

Flowers are small and inconspicuous.

Fruits are small, purple, and sweet. The fruit is edible; children in the West Indies islands like to chew them. At one time, satin leaf tree fruits were used in the manufacturing of chewing gum.

Satinleaf trees are a threatened species in Florida because of habitat destruction.

© Photographs and text by Susan Leach Snyder (Conservancy of Southwest Florida Volunteer).

Please report errors to Susan Snyder :


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