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•Status in Florida: Native

•Size at Maturity: Typically grows as a low-growing perennial shrub, reaching heights of about 1 to 2 feet and spreading several feet wide.

•Phenology: Evergreen shrub with glossy, leathery leaves and small, white flowers that bloom in spring to early summer, followed by greenish-yellow fruit that ripens to brown in the fall.

•Life Cycle: Perennial

•Bloom Season: Spring to early summer

•Deciduous, Dioecious, Evergreen: Evergreen

•Sunlight Requirements: Full sun to partial shade

•Soil Texture: Well-drained sandy soils; tolerant of poor, dry soils

•Soil pH: Tolerant of a wide range, but prefers slightly acidic to neutral (pH 5.5-7.0)

•Moisture Requirements: Drought-tolerant once established; prefers dry, well-drained soil

•Tolerance to Salt Spray: Low tolerance

•Recommended Landscape Uses: Coastal gardens, xeriscapes, naturalized areas, wildlife gardens

•Maintenance Tips: Low maintenance; prune back as needed to maintain shape; may benefit from occasional fertilization with a balanced fertilizer

•Considerations: Gopher Apple forms dense, low-growing mats that provide excellent ground cover and erosion control in sandy soils.

•Deer and/or Rabbit Resistance: Moderately resistant; typically not preferred by deer or rabbits

•Edible: The fruit is edible but not typically consumed by humans due to its bitter taste; historically used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.

•Medicinal Uses: Historically used by Native Americans for various medicinal purposes, including as a treatment for respiratory ailments and to soothe sore throats.

•Toxicity to Pets: Not known to be toxic to pets, but ingestion of large quantities of plant material may cause gastrointestinal upset.

•Florida Native Companion Plant: Gopher Apple is often found growing alongside other native plants in sandhill and scrub habitats, including species such as Sand Pine (Pinus clausa), Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens), and Wiregrass (Aristida stricta).

•Wildlife Benefit: Provides food and cover for various wildlife species, including gopher tortoises, small mammals, and birds; the fruit is eaten by wildlife, and the dense foliage provides habitat for nesting and shelter.

•Caterpillar Host Plant: Gopher Apple is a host plant for the caterpillars of several butterfly species, including the Henry’s Elfin (Callophrys henrici) and the Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus).

Gopher apple - Geobalanus oblongfolius


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