Alphabetical Plant Listing

Clusia rosea (Autograph Tree)

Scotch Attorney, Pitch-Apple, Autograph Tree, Florida Clusia


Clusia rosea (Autograph Tree) is a wide-spreading, terrestrial or epiphytic, evergreen tree with a short trunk and a densely-foliated, rounded crown. Reminiscent of magnolia leaves, the handsome leaves are thick, paddle-like, dull green above, olive green underneath, 3-6 in. long (7-15 cm). They can be written on with a fingernail - hence the common name. Blooming all year-round, with a peak in summer, showy, pink and white flowers, 2-3 in. across (5-7 cm), open at night and sometimes remain open all morning on cloudy days. Borne near the branch tips, they give way to fleshy, light green, poisonous fruits, 3 in. in diameter (7 cm). These persistent fruits turn black when ripe and split open, revealing bright red seeds. Attractive to birds and other wildlife, the seeds germinate readily in the landscape. The bark is gray brown and mostly smooth, with a slightly warty texture. Native to Mexico, Florida and much of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America, Autograph Tree is usually grown for its attractive foliage, showy flowers and fruits. Wind resistant (hurricane), it is excellent for seaside landscapes since it is highly tolerant of salt and drought. Autograph Tree is also often used as a screen or hedge and is ideal for espalier.

  • Grows up to 25-30 ft. tall (7.5-9 m) and 15-25 ft. wide (4.5-7.5 m).
  • Performs best in full sun to partial shade in clay to sandy, well-drained soils. Autograph Tree tolerates many different soil types but grows most rapidly on moist soils. Water well until the tree is established. Highly drought tolerant, this plant is also tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges. It tolerates salty wind and salt spray without injury.
  • No serious pest or disease issues. Keep an eye out for scale. Falling fruits and slowly decomposing leaves may create a litter issue.
  • Pruning required for strong structure. Prune in early spring to keep it nicely formed.
  • Propagate by seed or cuttings.
  • Toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to horses.
  • Native to Mexico, Florida and much of Central America, the Caribbean and northern South America. It has been introduced to Guam and Hawaii and is listed as one of Hawaii's most invasive horticultural plants, and is also reported in Brazil and Singapore.
  • Autograph Tree is a strangler plant, beginning its life on another host plant and ultimately killing the host. Its seeds are bird dispersed and can germinate in the crotch of other trees, sending down aerial roots, before replacing the host tree.

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Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 11
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 25' – 30' (7.5m – 9m)
Spread 15' – 25' (4.5m – 7.5m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Florida
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds
Garden Styles Coastal Garden

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Francisco Rodriguez Herna, Zulashai, Krit Top Ruttapong, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 10 – 11
Plant Type Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 25' – 30' (7.5m – 9m)
Spread 15' – 25' (4.5m – 7.5m)
Water Needs Low
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Native Plants United States, Southeast, Florida
Tolerance Drought, Salt
Attracts Birds
Garden Styles Coastal Garden

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