This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Black torch is a small tree that typically grows from 3 to 6 feet or more. The common name comes from the use of a shredded piece of the wood as a torch to hunt land carbs. In Florida, it occurs in coastal hammocks and on sand dunes. The multiple stems and numerous stiff and sometimes gnarled branches form a compact rounded dense low thicket. Also, the bark is grayish with darker patches, nearly smooth, resinous and somewhat warty. Additionally, the leaves are paired, broadly elliptical or nearly round, slightly leathery, dark green above, dull green beneath, and 2 to 3 1/2 by 1 to 2 inches. Showy flowers are borne in terminal clusters of small tubular white fragrant blooms, 3/8 inch across. Fruits are small, light green becoming black, fleshy and about 3/16 inch in diameter.
Furthermore, fruits are edible but somewhat bitter, containing 5 to 10 tiny seeds. Moreover, the seeds are used for propagation. Flowers and fruits attracts butterflies and birds. A tea is made from plant parts to treat several maladies. It does well in coastal sites of sandy dry conditions. In landscaping its attractive foliage and production of flowers and fruits all year make it a desirable accent or specimen plant in native plant garden or park. It can be pruned into a single-trunk tree or formed into a buffer plant or informal hedge. Black torch is threatened in the wild in Florida because of habitat loss.