Guaiacum sanctum

Guaiacum sanctum

Guaiacum sanctum (also called Lignum Vitae and Holywood) is a species of plant in the Zygophyllaceae family. It is found in the Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, and south Florida in the United States. It is threatened by habitat loss.

This tree is one of two species which yield the valuable Lignum Vitae wood. The other species is Guaiacum officinale. This small tree is slow growing, reaching about 7 m in height with a trunk diameter of 50 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 yellow fruit with red flesh and black seeds.

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