Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 012916 Contents THE RIVER - JANUARY 29, 2016
by Gerri Reaves
Satinleaf (Chrysophyllum oliviforme)
is a wildlife-friendly evergreen tree
native to South Florida’s hammocks
and pinelands. Many native-plant experts
and enthusiasts agree that this tree
should be planted more because of its
ornamental and environmental value.
Although this member of the
sapote family is widely cultivated for
residential and commercial landscapes,
its population in the wild justifies a
“threatened” listing in the State of
Florida. It is also on Lee County’s
Protected Tree List.
The tree’s other common names
include wild star-apple, damson plum and
It can reach 40 feet or higher in South
Florida, with an upright slender trunk with
rough and thin reddish brown bark. It can
also be trained as a shrub.
The crown is narrow and symmetrical
and the branches arching.
The oval evergreen leaves are pointed
and measure two to six inches long.
A breeze fluttering through the leaves
creates a lovely effect, as their satiny
bronze undersides – a coating of dense
hairs – contrast with the glossy dark-
They are used medicinally to treat cuts
The fragrant five-lobed yellow-white
flowers appear in inconspicuous clusters
at the leaf-stem junctions. They bloom
sporadically during the year but peak in
summer to fall.
The small, olive-shaped purple-black
fruit are sweet, edible, and full of milky
latex juice. They are about an inch long
and contain one or two seeds.
The rubbery skins can be chewed
like chewing gum, and the fruit, can be
used to make jam or left on the tree for
Satinleaf has a slow to moderate
growth rate and is long-lived. Other assets
include moderate drought tolerance and
disease-, pest- and storm-resistance.
It is virtually maintenance-free, but has
low tolerance for salt water, salt wind or
The tree prefers moist fertile well-
drained soil in full sun to partial shade.
Use it as a specimen, accent, background
plant, or shade tree.
Satinleaf is a bit difficult to cultivate
from the seeds, so it might be a species
you’ll want to purchase from a native-
Sources: Florida Plants for Wildlife
by Craig N. Huegel, A Gardener’s Guide
to Florida’s Native Plants by Rufino
Osorio, Native Florida Plants by Robert
G. Haehle and Joan Brookwell, The
Shrubs and Woody Vines of Florida by
Gil Nelson, Wild Plants for Survival in
South Florida and 500 Plants of South
Florida by Julia F. Morton, eattheweeds.
com, edis.ifas.ufl.edu, fs.fed.us, fnps.
org, freshfromflorida.com, ntbg.org, and
Plant Smart explores the diverse
flora of South Florida.
Threatened native satinleaf’s leaves have bronzy undersides and dark-green uppers
photo by Gerri Reaves
‘Ding’ Film Seeks Solutions To
Collapsing Honeybee Population
The film Vanishing of the Bees
continues the 4th annual “Ding”
Darling Wednesday Film Series
on February 3 at 2:30 p.m . in the
“Ding” Darling Visitor & Education
Honeybees pollinate one-third of the
food we eat, and they are threatened
by a worldwide phenomenon known
as Colony Collapse Disorder. This
87-minute film chronicles the fight and
potential solutions to keep honeybees
in our lives. While it investigates the
alar ming disappearance of honeybees,
it also examines the greater meaning
it holds about the relationship between
mankind and mother earth.
“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-
Friends of the Refuge hosts the free
eight-film, biweekly series with spon-
sorship from Sanibel-Captiva Beach
Resorts. Seating is free, but limited and
on a first-come basis.
Below are the season’s remaining
scheduled films. All showings begin at
2:30 p.m . For full descriptions of the
films, visit dingdarlingsociety.org/films.
February 17: Sand Wars
March 2: Plastic Paradise: The
Great Pacific Garbage Patch
March 16: Crash: The Tale of Two Species
March 30: The End of the Line: Where Have All the Fish Gone?
April 13: Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?
“Ding” Darling’s next film of the season
1101 Periwinkle Way #105
ENGEL & VÖLKERS
Steps to the Beach...
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