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Guaiacum Officinale (Lignum vitae)

“Tree of Life”


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Guaiacum Officinale (Lignum vitae), literally means “tree of life.” Is a small to moderate-sized tropical American tree reaching a height of 30 feet. It has a flat-bottomed, rounded dense crown, spreading to a width equal to the tree height. Leaves are evergreen, yellow-green, compound, 1 to 1.5 by .75 inches, with 2 to 3 pairs of stemless leaflets.

Guaiacum Officinale Description

Moreover, flowers of the Guaiacum Officinale (Lignum vitae) are borne in clusters at the branch ends. Blooms have 5 petals, about.75 of an inch wide and are a lovely blue, profuse and covering the tree. They remain for a long time, fading from deep to light blue as they age. Additionally, fruits are small, round, compressed, yellow capsules, with 5 cells each holding a single seed. Seeds are used for propagation.

Landscape Applications of Lignum Vitae

The trunk and branches of the Guaiacum Officinale (Lignum vitae) exude a gum, which along with bark and wood have medicinal use. It is a prized timber tree, yielding a greenish-brown to yellow wood. The wood is hardy, dense, very resistant as well as self-lubricating. The wood has many applications, such as caster wheels and turned novelties. Posts of this tree will last for decades.

Guaiacum Officinale (Lignum vitae) will grow on poor soils if well drained, and in landscaping has applications as a slow-growing shade or flowering tree, specimen tree, on the patio or garden, in a container, in seaside locations and along roads. This plant is closely related to Verawood.

🌳Other popular and beautiful plants: Cassia Fistula.

Additional information

Common Name

Tree of Life

Florida Native

No, Not FL Native



Flowering Season


Salt Tolerance

High Salt Tolerance

Drought Tolerance

Moderate to High Drought Tolerance

Growth Rate

Slow Growth Rate

Light Requirements

Full Sun

Flower Color


Plant Type

Evergreen, Flowering


25 gal., 25 gal. bush, 45 gal., 45 gal bush, 65 gal., 65 gal. bush, 100 gal., 100 gal . bush, 200 gal. bush, 200 gal., 300 gal. bush, 300 gal.