lignum-vitae Zygophyllaceae Guaiacum
officinale L. symbol: GUOF
Leaf: Opposite, pinnately compound, evergreen and leathery, to 4 inches long, with 6 to 8 pairs of oval to round sessile leaflets, yellow-green to dark green above and below.
Flower: Attractive, 1/2 inch across, purple-blue eventually fading to white, 5 broad petals, occur in small clusters from leaf axils, appearing in spring to early summer.
Fruit: A 5-parted yellow rounded 1/2 tp 3/4-inch capsule that opens to reveal shiny red seeds.
Twig: Slender, gray-brown with numerous short, knotty shoots.
Bark: Initially gray-brown and smooth, becoming darker and rough with age.
Form: A dense, multi-branched, crooked limbed shrub or small tree up to 30 feet tall with a spreading and dense crown.
Additional Range Information: Guaiacum officinale is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information