Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Beauty Leaf, Santa Maria, Galba, Alexandrian Laurel, Mast Wood, Antilles Calophyllum, Calaba Tree
Calophyllum antillanum

Family: Calophyllaceae
Genus: Calophyllum (kal-oh-FIL-lum) (Info)
Species: antillanum

Synonym:Calophyllum brasiliense
Synonym:Calophyllum brasiliense var. antillanum
Synonym:Calophyllum calaba

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)
30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

Unknown - Tell us

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
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

Click thumbnail
to view:

By fauna4flora
Thumbnail #1 of Calophyllum antillanum by fauna4flora

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Calophyllum antillanum by palmbob


2 positives
2 neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive fauna4flora On Nov 24, 2008, fauna4flora from West Palm Beach, FL wrote:

This is a really beauiful tree. It is often specified in county and city jobs. It has the coveted "single leader" growth habit which seems to be relevant to hurricanes. Invasive is a relative term and this plant hasn't so much as set fruit on this property, let alone dispersed its rather large seeds.

Neutral Jungleman On Jul 24, 2008, Jungleman from Pasadena, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

jnana, NativePlantFan9, and Tetrazygia are on top of the invasives for South and Central Florida. I went to the web site for the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council and the people in charge are all very well versed in the local ecology, judging by their credentials.

I can understand having an affinity for one (or certainly MORE) of your prized shrubs, and not wanting to get rid of it - so for FLtropics, keep your lovely shrub! According to NativePlantFan9, there are so many of them already used commonly in the Caribbean Basin as landscape shrubs (and no eradication program seems to be in place at this time), certainly removing a single plant will make little difference!

That said, I would be the first person to say, "Don't buy it!", to anyone considering adding this to a Florida landscape. No need to - it'll probably pop up in your yard one day anyway!

Neutral Tetrazygia On Apr 16, 2007, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council is an authority on the subject. The USDA Plants Profile shows the species to be naturalized in Monroe, Dade, Broward, and Martin counties.

There are many beautiful alternatives that are on no invasives list. Why even risk it?

Positive FLtropics On Mar 30, 2007, FLtropics from Pompano Beach, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

On the contrary to the above comments, my tree is beautiful and the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) found (updated 2006) quote "This upright, bushy, medium to coarse-textured evergreen tree is densely foliated with four-inch-long, leathery leaves. Although able to reach 50 feet in height in the forest, Santa Maria tends to be a slow-growing, moderately-sized tree about 30 to 40 feet tall with a 40 to 50-foot spread. It is well-suited for planting beneath power lines 40 feet high. Small, white, fragrant flowers appear on one to two-inch-long racemes among the four to six-inch-long, glossy leaves. Well-suited as a street, parking lot, patio or small shade tree, especially for coastal areas...does NOT attract wildlife...LITTLE invasive potential...the tree should be propagated, sold and planted in urban areas much more often."

Please do not base all of your knowledge on the findings of one organization.

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

This is an extremely invasive invader of coastal habitats in central and southern Florida (and also in the adjacent Bahamas southward into the Caribbean). It is a small to medium or large tree from 15 to 35 feet tall. It may sometimes or often reach 40 feet or more. It has oval-shaped, rounded leaves, small white flowers and large, round, hard oval seeds (fruits). It is a single, one-trunked tree. The seeds are rapidly spread by birds to mangrove swamps, disturbed coastal sites, canalsides, vacant waterside lots, mangrove swamp edges, coastal ridges and other similar coastal habitats (often near water) in central and southern Florida, the Bahamas and Caribbean, where they sprout and quickly crowd out native species and produce seeds, continuing the process of altering native plant communities. It sometimes also invades inland habitats as well in central and southern Florida. In Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties (including the Keys) it is a severe pest and efforts are trying to eradicate or remove this species. It is a huge pest in parks and natural areas there. It has also become a pest in Palm Beach and Martin counties, where it is also spreading. It was brought in for cultivation to Florida in the 1900s, probably in the mid- to- late decades. It quickly became a popular landscape plant in central and southern Florida (I still see trees planted in recreation areas, parking lots, business offices, condos, yards, ect.). It has since become a pest, although it is sadly sometimes still sold for landscaping in central and southern Florida (zones 9b to 11). This species was also popular for landscaping in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Bermuda. It has established in the wild (and become a pest) in all those areas. Dense seedling forests invade many areas under seed-producing trees (even far away from mature trees as well), further pushing out vegetation and rapidly spreading and growing.

This species is a Category One Invasive by the FLEPPC (Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council).

It is best left in it's native habitat and not planted in central and southern Florida.

MORE FACTS - The leaves are dark green and somewhat shiny to leathery. It is established in central and southern Florida (zones 9b to 11) in Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties (including the Florida Keys). This tree is also known as Maria of Cuba or Maria in Cuba. It is highly salt-tolerant. One habitat it commonly invades severely is mangrove swamps. In total, this tree is naturalized in Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Bermuda. The hard fruit (nuts or seeds), when ripe, are brown and hard.

Negative jnana On May 18, 2005, jnana from South Florida, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Highly invasive tree. Listed as a Category I of most invasive plants by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. Should not be planted in Florida.


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

Boca Raton, Florida (2 reports)
Pompano Beach, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida

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