Pitch Apple, Autograph Tree, Scotch Attorney

Clusia rosea

Family: Clusiaceae
Genus: Clusia (KLOO-zee-uh) (Info)
Species: rosea (RO-zee-uh) (Info)
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 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


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Pale Pink


White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer





Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


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


Long Beach, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Boynton Beach, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)

Homestead, Florida (2 reports)

Jupiter, Florida

Key Colony Beach, Florida

Key Largo, Florida

Key West, Florida (2 reports)

Lakeland, Florida

Marathon, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Miami, Florida (2 reports)

North Port, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Saint James City, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida

Tavernier, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Kailua Kona, Hawaii

Port Isabel, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 22, 2013, morningloree from Heathrow, FL wrote:

I have the variegated form, very attractive plant, although not the fastest grower. It does fine in my 9b yard with just a few brown spots on the leaves after a couple of cold days in January. I have it in the southeast part of my yard, where it gets afternoon sun and some nearby Oak trees probably offer it some protection on cold nights.


On Jan 4, 2011, FloridaFlwrGirl from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I live in South Florida and have a couple of these in my yard. They are growing in virtual sand with no water other than occasional rain, yet they remain healthy and green all the time. It's been down in the 30s a couple of nights this year and no damage has been visible on the plants. Works well as a screen. Not so crazy about the look as a hedge that my neighbors have. Seems a little unnatural in hedge form to me. Love this plant!


On Jul 10, 2008, Tetrazygia from Miami, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

A gorgeous, South Florida native (the entire genus is native to the tropical and subtropical Americas). They are common in coastal landscaping and can grow into magnificent trees, or grow as an epiphyte on another tree or wall. The common name "Autograph Tree" comes from the bruising on the leaves after they are etched into. Names or words are left clearly visible and these leaves will stay on the tree for a few years.


On Aug 27, 2004, hawaiiGuy from Kailua Kona, HI wrote:

Aloha, there is also a nice yellow variegated variety of this tree that is totally stunning. A little slower growing and lower branching, but very nice up close and from a distance. These plants root very easily from new growth allowed to dry for a day. It self sows readily too and even will grow and thrive for years in branch unions of trees. For hedging, severe pruning to maintain compactness is needed occasionally. Tree form or hedge, it is beautiful in bloom, always healthy, and has stunning large seed pods that open like a woodrose.


On Jun 22, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I like this plant, used as either a tree or a shrub in the landscape. It makes a nice "tropical" hedge or screen and is ultra low maintenance.


On Oct 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I had one of these in my garden in a zone 9b and it did fine... occasionally if it got really frosty a few leaves would be damaged, but no problems. It's a pretty fast grower and has large, succulent leaves. It makes a great shade tree, too... hardly needs any sun at all. If you visit Hawaii, you'll see these growing all over the place.


On Oct 16, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Salt- and drought-tolerant, Clusia rosea is sometimes called "Autograph Tree" because you can etch your name or initials onto one of the thick, leathery leaves.