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Guaiacum Sanctum (Florida lignum vitae) is a small flowering tree or shrub, which grows very slowly to a height of typically 10 to 12 feet but is capable of reaching 30 to 40 feet. It commonly has multiple trunks with drooping branches and a rounded, dense crown. As well as, a dark brown bark peeling to expose gray patches. The leaves are dark green, shiny, evenly pinnate compound, opposite to sub-opposite, with 3 to 5 pairs of ovate leaflets each about 2 inches long.
Additionally, flowers are very showy and borne in clusters at branch ends. Blooms are deep blue, about 1 inch in diameter, fading in color as they age and persisting on the tree for some time. Fruits are dry, hard, orange capsules, about half an inch long, splitting open when ripe to expose 1 or 2 black seeds covered with a fleshy red covering known as the aril. Seeds are used for propagation. The wood is hard, dense, highly resistant and has many practical uses. The resins in the wood have medicinal uses.
In cultivation, Guaiacum Sanctum (Florida lignum vitae) will grow in a range of well-drained types of soil. It can withstand occasional flooding. Although an uncommon plant in cultivation, it has several applications in landscaping. It is an ideal small showy tree for seaside gardens or patios, an accent or specimen plant, in planters. Other uses include courtyards and civic centers. It is also a suitable bonsai plant, and for growth in xerophytic and native plant gardens. Wild plants are threatened because of habitat loss. This plant is closely related to Verawood and the exotic Lignum Vitae.