soapbush Zygophyllaceae Guaiacum
angustifolium Engelm. symbol: GUAN
Leaf: Opposite or crowded on spur shoots, pinnately compound, evergreen, 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, with 6 to 8 pairs of very small, lance-shaped often curving leaflets, petiole grooved, dark green above and below, fold up at night.
Flower: Attractive, 1/2 inch across, bright purple, 5 broad petals, occur on a long stem either singly or in small clusters from leaf axils, appearing throughout the year after rain events.
Fruit: Heart-shaped, shiny, reddish brown, flattened capsule (1 inch long) with 2 to 4 lobes, shiny red seeds burst from capsules in the fall.
Twig: Slender, gray-brown with numerous short, knotty spur shoots.
Bark: Smooth light gray, becoming darker and rough with age.
Form: A dense, multi-branched, crooked limbed shrub or small tree up to 10 to 15 feet tall with a broad crown.
Looks like: guayacan
Additional Range Information: Guaiacum angustifolium is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting soapbush.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - USDAFS Forest Products Lab
All material © 2018 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 maps courtesy USGS from USDA "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr., Vol. 1 (1971) 3 (1976) 4 (1977) 5 (1978)