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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)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Light Blue

Dark Blue

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Scarify seed before sowing

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Cabo Rojo,

Boca Raton, Florida

Islamorada, Florida

Miami, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

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Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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!