Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Gopher Apple, Ground Oak
Licania michauxii

Family: Chrysobalanaceae
Genus: Licania (lik-AY-nee-uh) (Info)
Species: michauxii (miss-SHOW-ee-eye) (Info)

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

Unknown - Tell us

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
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


Bloom Color:
Pale Green
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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to view:

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #1 of Licania michauxii by MotherNature4

By jessl
Thumbnail #2 of Licania michauxii by jessl

By jessl
Thumbnail #3 of Licania michauxii by jessl

By MotherNature4
Thumbnail #4 of Licania michauxii by MotherNature4

By passiflora07
Thumbnail #5 of Licania michauxii by passiflora07


3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bdavtab7 On Jun 3, 2010, bdavtab7 from Wimauma, FL wrote:

The fruit has a *very* odd, subtle flavor: syrupy and creosote-y at the same time. Worth trying, but maybe not worth repeating....

Neutral koozie76 On Dec 5, 2006, koozie76 from Cape Coral, FL wrote:

I have heard so many good things about this plant but I have about seven of them and for at least four or five months they have done nothing. Still alive but no new leaves or any indication of spreading. I did hear that they were slow to get established, maybe its the wrong time of year for their growth?

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Apr 18, 2005, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Gopher Apple is a member of the family Chrysobalanaceae, the same family as the Cocoplum (Chyrosobalanus icaco). It resembles a miniature oak that is a groundcover that spreads by seed.

Gopher Apple is native to dry sandy habitats, xeric sites, oak hammocks, sandhills, longleaf pine/turkey oak sandhills, sandy pine flatwoods, scrub, barrens, dunes and similar habitats in the southeastern United States from South Carolina southward throughout much of Georgia and throughout Florida (including the Keys), westward into Louisiana.

This is a great native drought-tolerant groundcover that spreads rapidly and is regenerated (and dispersed to grow new Gopher Apples) by fire, which is frequent in many of the dry, sandy habitats (such as the sandhills) it is found in. Fire helps the Gopher Apple to regenerate and grow, and also aids in dispersal of it's seeds. Once established, it grows quickly.

The small to medium, pinkish to reddish fruits, when ripe, provide excellent food for wildlife such as the Gopher Tortoise and other creatures.

It grows in full sun to very light shade. Thrives in zones 8a through 11. Great for a wildlife or native plant garden.

This groundcover is also great for the restoration of native sandhills, flatwoods, and scrub in the southeastern United States.

Positive TamiMcNally On Jun 18, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Provides food for gopher tortoise.


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

Bartow, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Oviedo, Florida
Panama City Beach, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Sarasota, Florida

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