Characteristics of Buttonwood Tree (Conocarpus erectus) in the Wild

Conocarpus erectus
Buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus) is a species of shrub in the Combretaceae family. The tree grows on coastlines in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.

Locations that are known to be a habitat for buttonwood include Florida, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, along the Pacific coast to western Africa, Melanesia, and Polynesia.

Buttonwood tree is widely used as an ornamental and bonsai tree in many countries. The variety of Conocarpus erectus ‘sericeus’, which has silvery leaves is very valuable to be planted as a complement to the landscape.


Characteristics of Buttonwood Leaf

Conocarpus erectus Leaf
Source : and Kim Starr

The leaves are oval, 2-7 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, dark green, shiny on the top, and silvery on the bottom, the tips of the leaves are tapered and have serrations on the edges.


Characteristic of Buttonwood Flower

Conocarpus erectus Flower
Source : Whisperer

The flowers are like buttons, 5-8 mm in diameter, without petals, and appear on panicles of flower stems.


Characteristics of Buttonwood Fruit

Conocarpus erectus Fruit
Source : Ng

The fruit is small, clustered, red or brown, and scaly.


Characteristics of the Buttonwood Tree

Conocarpus erectus Tree
Source : and Kim Starr

Buttonwood trees usually grow to form 1-5 meter tall dense shrubs, but they can also grow taller and become medium trees up to 20 meters tall. Thick bark and gray to brown.


Buttonwood is often used to make tool handles, charcoal, and firewood. It is known, the embers produced from buttonwood wood burn very hot (hotter than other wood) and burn more slowly, hence this wood is suitable for burning fish or meat.

In some areas, buttonwood charcoal and firewood are sold commercially because of their good quality.


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