The genus, Guaiacum, is taken from the tree's Carib Indian name [reference needed]. The tree is native to the West Indies, southern Florida, the western coast of Central America, and the northern coast of South America. This small tree is very slow growing, reaching about 10 m in height with a trunk diameter of 60 cm. The tree is essentially evergreen throughout most of its native range. The leaves are compound, 2.5 to 3 cm in length, and 2 cm wide. The blue flowers have five petals which yield a bright yellow-orange fruit with red flesh and black seeds.
Guaiacum officinale is the national flower of Jamaica