Florida is home to a wide variety of tree species, ranging from the famous southern live oak to Florida pines, cypresses, and mangroves. There are more than 30 state forests throughout Florida, and more than 14.5 million acres of forests cover the state.
Whether you live in Florida or you’re planning to do some exploring outdoors in the subtropical Sunshine State, you can use this tree guide to help you identify more than 30 types of Florida trees.
33 Types of Florida Trees
Most of Florida’s forests are found in the Florida Panhandle region, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). However, there are hundreds of tree species found throughout the state.
1. Bald Cypress
Bald cypress trees are native to the southeastern US. These trees grow best in full sun or partial shade at wet sites, such as along streams and rivers, floodplains, and swampy areas.
Bald cypress trees tend to grow between 50-75 ft (15-23 m) tall. The bald cypress can be found throughout most of Florida and has been used in urban environments due to its high tolerance to root disturbance.
Bald cypress is a type of conifer, but it’s not classified as an evergreen tree like many conifer trees because it loses its needles in the fall. As fall approaches, the needles turn from green to copper and drop by winter.
In ideal conditions, bald cypress trees can live more than 500 years. Another cypress variety found in the southeastern US is the pond cypress.
2. Florida Torreya Tree
The Florida torreya is one of the rarest and most endangered trees in Florida. Its range is limited to Gadsden and Liberty counties in the Florida Panhandle. Torreya trees are also one of the oldest types of trees in North America. They’ve been around for at least 150 million years.
Thousands of Florida torreya trees once scattered the Apalachicola River Valley that passes through Georgia and West Florida in the 19th century. However, at least 98% of the entire population has been lost mainly due to a canker disease called Fusarium torreyae.
Florida torreya trees once grew up to 36 ft (11 m) tall, but individuals today are usually much smaller.
These trees require specific conditions to grow compared to most trees in Florida. They’re not tolerant to saltwater flooding, salt spray, or extremely dry conditions. Partial or full shade is required for healthy development.
3. Gumbo-limbo Tree
The gumbo-limbo tree is native to South Florida and islands in the Caribbean. It thrives in temperate tropical climates in full sun or partial shade environments. Gumbo-limbo trees are semi-evergreen and can grow up to 60 ft (18 m) tall.
Their high wind tolerance helps them remain strong against frequent hurricanes that come to the Caribbean and South Florida during the hurricane season.
Gumbo-limbo trees go by many names, such as tourist tree, West Indian birch tree, and turpentine tree. The fruits and flowers gumbo-limbo trees produce provide food sources for birds, bees, and other pollinators.
4. Southern Live Oak
One of the most spectacular trees that’s considered a staple tree in the South is the southern live oak. Its great size and winding branches, often decorated with Spanish moss, provides a beautiful backdrop.
Southern live oaks can grow up to 80 ft (24 m) tall and have a wide crown capable of reaching 150 ft (46 m) in diameter.
Southern live oaks are also found in other southeastern states, from Texas and Oklahoma east to Virginia. Southern live oaks produce acorns that fall in autumn.
Live oak acorns provide food for various critters like deer and squirrels. Many Florida birds also rely on these miraculous oak trees for nesting.
The southern live oak is fairly hardy in its natural environment. It’s very tolerant to drought, salt spray, wind, and pests and diseases. However, these trees are only found in the South due to their sensitivity to freezing temperatures.
5. Shumard Oak
Shumard oaks are deciduous trees known for their vibrant red to reddish-orange fall foliage. Shumard oak trees are found in the eastern US. In Florida, it’s mainly found in the Florida Panhandle and across North Florida.
Shumard oaks produce large acorns, which provide food for deer, squirrels, and birds.
Shumard oaks are well-adapted to many environments with unfavorable conditions, such as air pollution and compacted soils found in urban areas. When mature, shumard oaks have dense foliage that make it a good shade tree.
6. Spanish Oak
Spanish oak trees, often referred to as southern red oaks, are mainly found in the southern US from Virginia south to Central Florida and west to California.
Spanish oaks have a high drought tolerance, which allows them to develop best in full sun environments. When growing in good conditions, Spanish oak trees can reach up to 80 ft (24 m) tall on average.
Southern red oaks are deciduous and the leaves turn red to reddish-brown in the fall. Many birds rely on the acorns for food, such as woodpeckers, crows, and blue jays. They also attract various mammals, including deer and black bears.
7. Longleaf Pine
Longleaf pines are evergreen trees found in the southeastern US. They develop well in full sun or partial shade environments and acidic soils.
Longleaf pine forests take up about 2.36 million acres in Florida. Numbers in the Southeast have drastically declined by tens of millions mainly due to human activities. Longleaf pines can be found throughout most of Florida, except for South Florida.
Longleaf pine forests with older trees are important habitats to the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. The upper crowns of these trees also serve as nesting sites for bald eagles. Longleaf pines have a long lifespan of 200 years or more.
Some pests that can cause minor damage to longleaf pines include pine bark beetles, borers, and the pine-shoot moth.
8. Loblolly Pine
Loblolly pines are tall, fast-growing pine trees that can reach up to 150 ft (46 m) tall in ideal conditions. However, most loblolly pines average about 50-80 ft (15-24 m).
Loblolly pines are evergreen, but the needles brown in the fall. Like all pine trees, loblolly pines produce pine cones. Loblolly pine cones can reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length and have sharp spines.
Loblolly pine trees can be found along the Atlantic Coast from New Jersey south to Florida and East Texas. In Florida, they’re mainly found in the northern half of the state in mixed forests and dry sites. Loblolly pines are commonly used in the timber industry.
9. Slash Pine
Slash pine trees can grow up to 100 ft (30.5 m) tall and have long, pine needles that give them a soft, fluffy appearance. Slash pines are native to the southeastern US. They mainly occur from South Carolina down to the Gulf Coast of southeastern states. They can be found all throughout Florida.
Slash pines have adapted to many habitats, including swamp edges, flatwoods, and other moist sites. Old slash pines in Florida provide essential habitat to the at-risk red-cockaded woodpecker.
Slash pines in Florida are threatened by rising sea levels because they aren’t very tolerant of saltwater flooding.
Bark beetles, sawfly larvae, borers, and fusiform rust pose a threat to this pine species.
10. Sabal Palm
The sabal palm is the official state tree of Florida. They’re also called cabbage palms. Although it’s designated as the state tree, sabal palms are actually more closely related to grasses than other types of trees.
Cabbage palms can be found throughout the state and as far north up the East Coast as North Carolina. Sabal palms are very old. They’ve been around for about 85 million years.
Lethal bronzing disease (LBD) known to infect palm trees in Florida poses a threat to this species. Usually when the first symptoms of LBD begin to show, it’s too late to save it.
Sabal palms are evergreen, so the leaves or fronds don’t change color. However, dead leaves take on a yellow color. Yellow bats will roost in dead sabal palm fronds because the color helps keep them hidden.
11. Buccaneer Palm
The buccaneer palm tree, also called sargent’s cherry palm, is a vulnerable tree species native to South Florida. Its range also extends southward into the Caribbean and the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico.
Compared to some soaring palm trees you may see in Florida, buccaneer palms only reach about 10 ft (3 m) tall.
While buccaneer palms are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), it’s considered endangered in its Florida range.
Buccaneer palms are tolerant to salt spray and wind, which helps them survive strong storms and hurricanes in coastal habitats. One of the main threats to buccaneer palms is tourism development that’s common throughout its range.
12. Florida Mangrove
Mangrove forests are unique ecosystems found in southern Florida. There are three species of true mangrove trees native to the Sunshine State, which include:
- Red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) – Usually found closer to or in coastal water sources, named for their reddish-colored roots that can be seen above the water.
- Black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) – More common farther north compared to red mangroves.
- White mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) – Occur the farthest upland compared to black and red mangroves and have elliptical, light yellowish-green leaves.
Florida mangroves occur in coastal habitats and can be found as far north as St. Augustine on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. They can also be found on the Gulf Coast of Florida and in the Florida Keys.
Florida mangroves are especially important to the ecosystems they live in. Mangrove trees have special root systems that allow them to filter salt out of saltwater. They also absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and promote great air quality.
Disturbance or removal of mangroves can be harmful because it can cause the trees to release massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Mangroves also provide many different animals with habitat, including fish, birds, crustaceans, mammals, and mollusks.
13. Pygmy Fringe-tree
The pygmy fringe-tree is a small, endangered tree native to Central Florida. As a deciduous tree, pygmy fringe-tree leaves turn yellow in the fall and drop by winter. In the spring, they produce white, showy flowers.
According to the IUCN, only a few individuals are found at sites where they occur. While not yet a problem in Florida, the emerald ash borer found in the Northeast poses a major threat to this species if it ever makes its way into the state.
14. Sea Grape
The sea grape may be classified as a shrub or small tree depending on its development and growth. Sea grapes are named for the grape-like fruits females produce, which turn from green to red when ripe.
The large, round leaves are bright green with red veins when mature. As a deciduous shrub or tree, sea grape leaves turn reddish-orange in the fall.
Sea grapes are mainly found in coastal habitats in the southern half of Florida along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast. They’re not very common inland because they’re very sensitive to cold temperatures.
15. Strangler Fig Tree
The strangler fig tree is one of two Ficus species native to Florida. It mainly occurs in the southern half of Florida and can be found wrapped around host trees. As the name suggests, strangler figs can strangle host trees and lead to host mortality.
Strangler figs are considered evergreen so their leaves don’t change color in the fall. However, they produce fruits that are yellow when unripe and become reddish-purple when ripe.
Strangler figs thrive in partially or fully shaded environments in wet to dry habitats.
16. Florida Elm
Florida elms are deciduous trees that turn a brilliant golden-yellow color in the fall. Florida elms have been used to make furniture and canoes due to the strength of the wood.
Florida elm leaves are dark green with serrated edges. These trees are widely distributed throughout much of Florida, except for South Florida. They do well in full sun or partial shade environments and are tolerant to root disturbance.
Florida elms are vulnerable to Dutch elm disease, which is common in eastern North America. However, the disease hasn’t been detected in Florida yet.
17. Southern Magnolia
Southern magnolias are most known for the large white, showy flowers they produce in the spring and summer months. The flowers also produce a sweet, lemon-like scent. Southern magnolia trees can grow up to 90 ft (27 m) tall, but typically average about 50-65 ft (15-20 m).
Southern magnolias can be found all throughout Florida, except for South Florida. They develop well in sunny and shady environments and prefer habitats with moist, acidic soils.
Southern magnolias are vulnerable to a number of fungal infections that can cause tree diseases.
18. Sweetbay Magnolia
Another magnolia tree species found in Florida is the sweetbay magnolia. This magnolia tree also has large, white flowers with a lemony scent like southern magnolias. Sweetbay magnolias can be found as far north as New York and as far east as eastern Texas.
Sweetbay magnolias have a shimmery appearance when moving in the wind due to the silvery-white color on the undersides of the leaves. The lighter undersides contrast with the dark green color on the top side of the leaves.
Sweetbay magnolias do best in partially shaded or shaded environments and aren’t tolerant to drought. The seeds and fruits of magnolias support a wide variety of wildlife, such as birds, mammals, and insects.
A fungal infection called verticillium wilt can cause sweetbay magnolias to wilt and die if not treated properly.
19. Red Maple
Red maples are widely distributed throughout much of the eastern half of the US. They can be found as far north as Maine and as far south as Texas to Florida. Red maples are known for their vibrant red fall color, which arrives earlier in the North than in the South.
Red maples are common in swamp areas throughout Florida. Swamp habitats provide red maples with their preferred wet soil conditions.
Red maples don’t do well in areas that don’t hold moisture, so irrigation is usually necessary in drier areas.
Sparkleberry trees are native to Florida and closely related to other berry trees, such as the huckleberry and lingonberry.
Sparkleberries are medium-sized trees that can grow up to 25 ft (7.6 m) tall. They have beautiful, bell-shaped flowers that hang down from small branches for a short period in the spring. Berries appear on the trees in the late summer, which provide food sources for birds.
Sparkleberry trees occur in woodland and hammock habitats in most of Florida, except South Florida. Sparkleberry trees can also be grown as shrubs.
21. Sweet Acacia
The sweet acacia tree is a semi-evergreen tree that can also be grown as a shrub. They’re well-known for the sweet fragrance they give off.
They’re also attractive trees because of the puffy, bright yellow flowers they produce. The leaves are fern-like. Sweet acacia trees are semi-evergreen because they’re capable of blooming year-round.
Sweet acacia trees are planted in southern Europe because the sweet-scented flowers are used to make perfume.
These Florida trees are fairly common in Central and South Florida. Isolated populations also occur in a few counties in the Florida Panhandle.
22. Yaupon Holly
The yaupon holly can be described as a shrub or tree depending on how it’s grown and maintained. Yaupon holly trees can grow up to 25 ft (7.6 m) tall and have dark green oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges.
Yaupon holly trees are evergreen and produce red, orange, or yellow berries that stand out in the fall and winter months. These trees have adapted to a wide range of habitats, including forests, coastal habitats, scrub, and swamps.
Most yaupon holly trees in Florida occur in the northern and central portion of the state.
23. American Holly
The American holly is another holly tree variety found in Florida. American holly trees have bright green, glossy leaves with spikes. They’re most known for the vibrant red berries they produce in the fall.
Holly berries are popular fruit sources for many native birds. While the berries are a great snack for birds, they’re poisonous to humans.
American holly trees have a high tolerance to drought and salt spray, which allows them to survive in most parts of Florida. They mainly occur in West and North Florida south to Central Florida.
24. Pigeon Plum
Pigeon plum trees are evergreen with dense, dark green foliage. Pigeon plums lose their old leaves in the spring and are replaced with red leaves that mature to green. Pigeon plums are only found in Florida and southward in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.
Due to the warm climates they live in, pigeon plum trees can bloom year-round and produce whitish-green flowers.
The fruits of pigeon plum trees emerge as green and then turn to red or purple when ripe. Pigeon plum fruits provide food sources for native birds. The flowers also attract pollinators.
25. Chickasaw Plum
Chickasaw plums can be grown as shrubs or trees and typically average about 6-12 ft (2-3.6 m) tall. Some trees can reach up to 25 ft (7.6 m) tall.
Chickasaw plums are distributed throughout the southeastern US and as far west as New Mexico. In Florida, they mostly occur in North Florida and along the central Gulf Coast. Isolated populations also occur in parts of California.
The fruits were popular for making jam and jelly in the late 19th century. The fruits become ripe when they turn from red to yellow or orange.
Chickasaw plum trees have white, showy flowers with five petals that attract bees. Chickasaw plum trees develop best in full sun along woodland edges or open woods with acidic soils.
26. Flatwoods Plum
The flatwoods plum tree has similar flowers and fruits as the Chickasaw plum tree. Flatwoods plum trees are more widespread in Florida. They occur in most regions of the state, except South Florida.
When in full bloom, flatwoods plum tree crowns take on a cloud-like appearance due to the clusters of white flowers they produce. The tree has green leaves most of the year, but turns yellow in the fall.
Flatwoods plum trees are found throughout the southeastern US. They’re perfect for the region because they have a moderate drought tolerance.
There aren’t any major threats to flatwoods plum trees, but they can become infested by tent caterpillars.
27. Flowering Dogwood
The flowering dogwood is a popular ornamental tree and well-known in the eastern US. Most dogwoods in Florida are found in the northern half of the state. Dogwoods can grow up to 35 ft (10.6 m) tall, but are typically shorter when maintained.
Dogwood trees are known for their white flowers that appear for a short period of time in the spring. The “petals” of dogwoods actually aren’t flower petals, but leaves called bracts that imitate flower petals. In the fall, the leaves turn red and red berries also appear.
Dogwoods are common for ornamental purposes, but they need certain conditions to stay healthy. Dogwoods do best in partially shaded environments because they can’t withstand prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
28. Carolina Silverbell
Carolina silverbells are one variety of silverbell tree found in Florida. These trees are mainly found in deciduous or mixed woodlands and floodplain forests in many regions of the US.
The Carolina silverbell range in Florida is mainly limited to the Florida Panhandle.
Carolina silverbells have bell-shaped white flowers that hang down and bloom in clusters. Flowering occurs in early spring and is most visible before foliage becomes dense. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow and drop quickly.
Carolina silverbells are sensitive to salt spray and saltwater flooding, so they don’t do very well in coastal habitats.
29. Eastern Redbud
Eastern redbuds are medium-sized trees that can reach up to 30 ft (9 m) tall. They’re easily recognizable by the pink to magenta-colored flowers they produce in late winter and early spring.
Eastern redbud trees are common ornamental trees in the eastern US. They also occur naturally in Mexico.
Eastern redbud trees don’t usually live as long in the extreme southern portions of their range. Blooming can be stunted in their southern range. Their range in Florida is limited to West Florida south to west-central Florida.
Eastern redbuds have a relatively short lifespan compared to other trees. It’s rare that they live longer than 30 years. Eastern redbuds are also susceptible to breakage during high winds.
31. American Beech
American beech trees are tall deciduous trees with large, densely foliated crowns. In the fall, the leaves take on brilliant hues of yellow and copper-orange. The large crown makes the American beech a great shade tree.
American beech trees can be found in most of the US. Their Florida range is limited to West Florida.
American beech wood is very popular among woodworkers for the wood’s near-white color.
In maintained environments, American beech trees usually grow to about 50 ft (15 m) tall. However, they can reach up to 120 ft (36.5 m).
Tuliptrees are named for the tulip-like flowers they produce. The flowers are greenish-yellow with some orange splotches near the base. Tuliptrees can grow up to 100 ft (30.5 m) tall, so the flowers usually aren’t visible from the ground.
Tuliptrees are in the magnolia tree family, but they’re often called tulip poplars. In Florida, their range is restricted to the Florida Panhandle and northeastern Florida.
These trees are hosts to the larvae of eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies. They’re also known to attract birds and mammals. Tuliptrees are deciduous and the leaves change from green to yellow in the fall.
33. Black Tupelo
Black tupelo trees, also called black gum trees, are found throughout most of the US. They’re distributed throughout most of Florida, except for South Florida.
Black tupelo trees do best in full sun or partial shade environments in wooded areas with sandy, moist soils. In the fall, the leaves turn a beautiful scarlet color.
Forest tent caterpillars can cause defoliation and it’s susceptible to canker diseases caused by various fungi.
The blossoms of this tree are known for producing sweet honey. Many types of bees favor the tree for the flowers and honey it produces.
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Florida Trees FAQs
What is the most common tree in Florida?
According to the FDACS, Florida ranks second behind Hawaii in having the most native trees. There are many different types of tree species and varieties scattered throughout.
Florida has many different ecosystems and habitats that support different types of Florida trees. In North Florida, some of the most common native trees include hickory, elm, magnolia, and maple. In the rest of the state, other common species include pine, gum, and oak.
What city in Florida has the most trees?
In 2018, the city of Tampa, Florida ranked #1 in having the highest percentage of canopy coverage than any other major city in the world.
Data on canopy coverage was gathered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Sensible Lab and the World Economic Forum.
Florida had the highest “Green View Index” of any other city on the list at 36.1%. The city with the second highest Green View Index was Singapore, with 29.3% of canopy coverage.
What is the strongest tree in Florida?
Many Florida trees have adapted to some of the harsh weather conditions that the state experiences annually.
Due to Florida’s location, it has a humid, subtropical climate that experiences frequent droughts and hurricane events.
There are numerous trees in Florida that have a higher tolerance for strong hurricane winds, including the sand live oak, sabal palm, and bald cypress. Some native trees in Florida that live in coastal habitats are also tolerant to direct salt spray and saltwater flooding.
What is the oldest tree in Florida?
The oldest tree currently living in Florida is a bald cypress named Lady Liberty that’s about 2,000 years old. It’s known as the sister tree of “The Senator”, which was once the oldest tree in the state, living to be about 3,500 years old.
The Senator was lost in a fire in 2012. You can visit the ancient Lady Liberty tree in Big Tree Park located in Longwood, Seminole County.
What is the most notable tree in Florida?
There are many well-known trees in Florida. One of the most notable trees that local residents and tourists enjoy viewing is the southern live oak. These long-living oak trees are often covered in Spanish moss, giving the tree a mystical appearance.
Florida is also known for its longleaf pine and mangrove forests.