Gumbo Limbo vs. Ficus
Gumbo Limbo
Gumbo Limbo Leaf
Gumbo Limbo (Bursera simaruba)

Other Names: Tourist Tree, West Indian Birch

height height 20-50 ft., max - 80 ft.
light light Full sun to part shade
soil soil Adabtable to many types of well-drained soil
water water Minimal

Use: Shade tree, Street tree, Large ornamental (primarily for its bark)

Bonus: With its molted bark and interesting branching pattern, Gumbo Limbo is one of south Florida's most beautiful trees. Best of all, it is well adapted to withstand hurricanes--the soft wood of the Gumbo Limbo allows branches to fall in hurricane winds, but the main trunk of the tree will remain standing. Plus, with its fast growth rate the Gumbo Limbo will re-sprout quickly.

Instead of
Ficus Leaf
Ficus (Ficus benjamina)

Other Names: Weeping fig, "That tree that falls in hurricanes"

height height 45-60 ft

Use in landscape: Shade tree

Why not Ficus?

Although this non-native Ficus is an attractive large shade tree, it is notorious for uprooting easily in hurricanes, often causing damage to property and a headache for homeowners and government officials. This Ficus quickly overgrows the typical landscape and often uplifts sidewalks and driveways with its extensive and shallow root system. Furthermore, many similar exotic species of Ficus are problematic or invasive. A native Ficus that is a better alternative to Ficus benjamina is the south Florida native Ficus aurea, also known as the Strangler Fig.

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