Favorite “Treevia”

Dear readers, I had hoped I would have a progress report by now on last month’s rock wall project, but alas, my schedule hasn’t allowed me any time spent with paints since then. Maybe next month.

However, spring is in full force here in this area of Florida. We’ve already experienced the lovely and pungent orange blossoms and delicate blooming ligustrums, but right now, the spectacularly vivid, purple, trumpet-shaped blossoms of the Jacaranda tree are enough to take one’s breath away! The intensity of the color is right out of a fairytale! This tree tends to grow tall (66’ to 98’) with a huge canopy that can span the width of a whole yard. I grew up in New Jersey and hadn’t even heard of a Jacaranda until I moved here and saw it bloom. Absolutely stunning!

                                Jacaranda Tree









Jacarandas, (Jacaranda mimosa folia), truly hot weather plants thriving in zones 9 through 11, like sandy soil with good drainage and show off their blooms best when planted in full sun. That’s great for Florida lawns that need some shade for nice green grass.  The only downside might be that they tend to litter lawns, sidewalks and streets with the spent blossoms, and could clog pool filters, so placement is important. It took me a while to find the tree below because many times these trees are in a fenced-in yard and getting a good photo is a problem.

The next two trees are in my front yard and they are a part of the reason I bought my house. I love these trees. The first is a Canary Island date palm, (Phoenix canariensis), commonly called the pineapple palm because the fat trunk resembles a pineapple. My tree was only as high as my roof when I moved here in 2002. I used to string icicle lights along the lower fronds and cover the trunk with web lights at Christmas. It looked so pretty. I’d need a crane to do that now. I understand they can get to be 60’ tall. So far my tree man uses ladders to trim it and take the seed bundles away.

                          Pineapple Palm











I have a family of squirrels who have a nest way up in the fronds and they travel across my roof to get to the back yard where my bird feeder is. I recently took the bird feeder away when I got new sod and I’m afraid I’ve confused the squirrels.

The next tree is my Camphor tree, (Cinnamomum camphora). It is a member of the Laurel family, an evergreen that can grow to a height of 75’ and live to be greater than 1,000 years old. I love the rough greyish-brown bark and the gnarled limbs. The leaves that make up the large canopy are small, about three inches long that come to a point, and are dark glossy-green on top and a lighter matte color on the underside. The old leaves don’t fall off until new light-green leaves appear, to replace them. If the twigs and leaves are crushed in one’s hand, a camphor aroma can detected. It’s a refreshing medicinal scent I really like.

                          “Homer” the Camphor









As you can see from the photo, I have named this tree. He’s my buddy, Homer, and I light up his canopy at Halloween and Christmas. The kids in the neighborhood like him, too and show him off to their friends. Do you have favorite trees or do you name any? I’d love to hear!


Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.


Filed under writing

9 responses to “Favorite “Treevia”

  1. Typical Northerner here… had never heard of any of these trees. If I ever get my Florida everglades / St. Pete’s Beach book written, I’m going to have to consult with you about what vegetation grows in Florida.

    • I know what you mean, Sherrie. My parents used to have a vacation place in the Keys, but I never paid any attention when I was a kid. While I’d love to help, the part of Florida you are talking about is even more tropical than where I live, so Google might be a better help than I would be. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment, though. I appreciate it.

  2. What wonderful trees. And Homer is so cool!

  3. Susan Coggins

    Like you, I have a camphor tree. It is in the back yard and provides shade from the hot afternoon sun. It is not supposed to grow beachside due to the salt air but, surprise, it is huge!
    The front yard has a Royal Poinciana that blooms profusely orange. It does create a mess on the walkways but I love it anyway. After seeing Homer’s pic, I feel obligated to now name my trees.

    • So glad to hear about your trees, Susan. My camphor tree is really growing quickly also. Your Royal Poinciana sounds really beautiful, I’d love to see it. If you pick names, let me know what you come up with. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting on my blog. Hope you had a super Mother’s Day!

  4. Cheryl Hilzer

    I love your tree story. My issues were that the trees took over…grass, yard, etc. I told Ron that if he didn’t care or if he disappeared, the trees would be gone. Obviously, I had no attachments plus I’ve seen trees take out houses. BUT ON A HAPPY NOTE, I love your trees and your love for them.🌹

    • Thank you, Cheryl, for your comment. Well, I have to admit Homer has taken up pretty much all of my front yard, but in summer he also provides much needed shade, and thus cooler temps and beautiful greeeeeen grass! And I like the palm because it says, “Florida!” so well. I have a bottlebrush tree in my back yard that has lost some limbs due to storms and it isn’t very attractive anymore. It may have to go. so, I can certainly understand your stand on the subject! 🙂

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