Guaiacum officinale, lignum-vitae
Native to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America.
Lignum Vitae or Guaiacum officinale is a small and slow-growing tree of about 10-30 feet tall with a dense crown and crooked bole. The leaves are compound, broadly oval and rounded at the tip. The flowers are blue in color with five petals. The fruits are heart-shaped, yellow-orange with red flesh and black seeds. Depending on your source, Lingnum-vitae bears the 2nd-4th hardest wood in the entire world !
Cultivation & Culture
Guaiacum officinale is a slow growing evergreen tree. It is hardy to zone 10. Suitable for all types of well-drained acidic or alkaline soils. It does not do well in the shade. It easily tolerates maritime exposure, and once established these trees are very drought tolerant. Does well as a container specim.
Guaiacum officinale is the national flower of Jamaica. The resin from the tree is used for flavoring cakes and chewing gum. It is also added to edible oils to prevent acidification. The resin is also used medicinally for chronic forms of rheumatism, skin diseases, scrofula, dysmenorrhea, toothache, etc. The wood is hard, close-grained, tough, dense, and durable. It is used for pulleys, blocks, pestles, etc. Guaiacum officinale is one of two species yielding the true lignum vitae, the other being Guaiacum sanctum. Both species of lignum vitae are globally rare due to deforestation and to commercial exploitation of the hard, decay-resistant wood for medicine and wood products.
Its great strength and tenacity, combined with the self-lubricating properties due to the resin content, make this wood especially adapted for bearing underwater. The most important as well as the most exacting use for it is for bearing or bushing blocks lining the stern tubes of propeller shafts of steamships. Steel and tube mills are made using lignum-vitae in increasing amounts to replace brass and babbit metal for bearings in roller mills and pumps, as the initial cost is less than metal, the life is several times longer, and lubrication is unnecessary.
Guaiacum officinale lignum-vitae was listed as an endangered species by the IUCN in 1998. It has been overexploited for its valuable wood and medicinal products. International trade of this species is restricted because of its placement in CITES Appendix II.
️ Winter Shipping = add a Heat Pack
Safely shipped bare root in sterile medium.
Buyer assumes risks due to state agricultural regulations and bare root shipping.
Please track orders with carrier using text/email alerts and have your plant received directly from the driver to avoid damage due to extreme temperatures and/or lack of humidity, etc.
To avoid risk of damage to plants during delivery, please do not place an order when extreme temperature or weather conditions are likely.
️Winter shipping - protect your plant(s) with a Heat Pack add-on! A northerly route and or possible delays during shipping could damage your tropical plant(s). If you did not add a heat pack to your order we cannot be held responsible.
All of our plants are grown in various amounts of shade, therefore your plants will require a slow introduction into appropriate amounts of sun.
In most cases your plants will benefit from providing an environment with enhanced humidity upon arrival until root function has normalized.
For all items "quantity available" greater than ( 1 ) item shipped may not be actual item in the photo.
Titles refer to growing container size appropriate for plant being sold. Plant size may vary accordingly.
All "Fresh & Clean" seed from a proven viable source. Typical germination rates provided on request. Germination not guaranteed due to use of various individual germination techniques.
Return policy: If for any reason your order arrives in poor condition due to negligence on our part, we will gladly refund the purchase price or send a replacement. Buyers must please send a notification within ( 1 ) day of arrival describing the problem accompanied by photos of the un-altered plant in its original packing material.
Plant / tree propagation is from seed unless method such as cutting or grafting is stated.
Questions ? Don't hesitate to ask. We're happy to help !
Daniela & Dave
Let's Grow Florida !