Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Iron Wood, Leopard Tree, Brazilian Ironwood
Caesalpinia ferrea

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Caesalpinia (ses-al-PIN-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: ferrea (FER-ee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Apuleia ferrea

8 members have or want this plant for trade.


over 40 ft. (12 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

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:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Caesalpinia ferrea by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #2 of Caesalpinia ferrea by Monocromatico

By Kenneth0871
Thumbnail #3 of Caesalpinia ferrea by Kenneth0871

By Phytodealer
Thumbnail #4 of Caesalpinia ferrea by Phytodealer

By palmbob
Thumbnail #5 of Caesalpinia ferrea by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #6 of Caesalpinia ferrea by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #7 of Caesalpinia ferrea by palmbob

There are a total of 9 photos.
Click here to view them all!


2 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Phytodealer On Jul 3, 2007, Phytodealer from Brasília
Brazil wrote:

As long as seeds are scarifyied they will germinate well in soil with a good supply of nutrients and well drained. I have a Brazilian Ironwood tree at my front garden and it developed so fast in two years that it is already bearing the first flowers, although it will take a few more years to grow its trunk in diameter and develop a more wide crown.
See the pictures I have added

Neutral smiln32 On May 8, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Called Leopard Tree or Leopard bark because of its beautiful mottled bark and Brazilian Ironwood for its hard wood which is dark brown with thin black streaks. Unlike many of the Caesalpinia this species is not thorny. Native to South American.

Positive Monocromatico On Aug 11, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is a big tree, reaching up to 30m tall, from the brazilian tropics. Its common name comes from its very hard wood, that is the main atractiveness of this plant. It has a thin grey bark that falls constantly, revealing an uncommon white wood that looks like made of ivory.

The small leaves and tiny leaflets are constantly renewed, so you may have some work to keep the ground clean. The yellow flowers are unoticeable in largest individuals. The fruits are dark brown, hard, and won´t rippen easily, but it´s kinda sweet inside, and birds like it.

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