Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Guaiacum, Guayacan, Pockholz, Tree of Life, Lignum Vitae
Guaiacum officinale

Family: Zygophyllaceae
Genus: Guaiacum (GWY-uh-kum) (Info)
Species: officinale (oh-fiss-ih-NAH-lee) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

6 members have or want this plant for trade.


20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Light Blue
Medium Blue

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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By Chamma
Thumbnail #1 of Guaiacum officinale by Chamma

By Chamma
Thumbnail #2 of Guaiacum officinale by Chamma

By htop
Thumbnail #3 of Guaiacum officinale by htop

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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2 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive IslandTransplant On Jul 30, 2013, IslandTransplant from Staniel Cay
Bahamas (Zone 12a) wrote:

This is the national tree of the Bahamas, where I live. It is also used medicinally as a tea and bath. It takes a very long time to grow, but it is quite hardy and beautiful. Mine are growing in the rocky hillside with scant dirt. None of the trees on my property reach more than 8 feet or so due to a nearly constant easterly wind.

Neutral fanfare On Feb 16, 2010, fanfare from Jamaica, NY wrote:

In my homeland of Jamaica, West Indies, this plant is the national flowers. In Jamaica the wood is used to make beautiful furniture and when I was a child, the wood of the lignum vitae was also used to make "gigs" which is a toy played with by many Jamaican children. I 50 yrs old so I dont know if this toy is still being made or played with. The wood of the lignum vitae was chosen for this toy because of its durability.

Neutral timrann On Dec 8, 2009, timrann from Other
Mauritius wrote:

First and only place i've seen this plant was in Oman.I thought it was a type of Duranta or something, but identified it here (Dave's). It seems to grow very well in dry place like in Oman. The seeds are black and elongated in a single or twin seeded orange pods. Inflorescence are white and purple and very dense on established specimen.

Positive Chamma On May 18, 2003, Chamma from Tennille, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a very slow growing tree but well worth the wait. It is beautiful when in bloom! The wood is heavier than water and sinks! It is some of the densest and hardest wood known. The wood of Lignum Vitae is full of oil and ball bearing made from it never need to be lubricated as it is self lubricating!


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Boca Raton, Florida
Islamorada, Florida
Miami, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

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