FLIP: Florida Invasive Plants

Calophyllum antillanum

Common Name(s): Santa maria, beauty leaf


Caribbean, Cuba to Grenada

Ecological Impact

Widely planted in southern Florida landscapes. Invades mangrove forests and other coastal areas (M. McMahon, Biological and Environmental Consulting, and R. Hammer, Miami-Dade County Parks Department, 1996 personal communications). Dense stands of seedlings and saplings observed along the fringes of coastal mangrove and buttonwood forests and occasionally in inland hardwood forests as well. Lsited as a Category I invasive by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.


Straight-trunked tree typically 12 m (40 ft) tall. Young stems green, 4-angled, minutely hairy, becoming gray with age. Leaves opposite, simple, petioled, elliptic, 10-15 cm (4-6 in) long; blades very shiny, with numerous parallel veins at right angles to midvein; margins entire; blade tips rounded to minutely notched. Flowers small, in few-flowered racemes at leaf axils, white, fragrant, with many yellow stamens. Fruit a 1-seeded, hard-shelled drupe, brown, globose, about 2.5 cm (1 in) wide. Fruits inedible for humans, those of related C. inophyllum known to be poisonous.

Identification Tips

May be confused with mast-wood, C. inophyllum L., the Asian exotic also cultivated in south Florida and reported as naturalized (Wunderlin et al. 1996), but its trees often taller, its leaves larger, to 20 cm (8 in) long and 10 cm (4 in) wide, not as shiny; its flower clusters larger, showier; and its fruits to 4 cm (1.5 in) wide.


Introduced in southern Florida 1964 (Little and Wadsworth 1964).


Locally naturalized in coastal regions of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties (R. Hammer, Miami-Dade County Parks Department, and D. F. Austin, Florida Atlantic University, personal observations).

Management Strategies

Do not plant. Remove plant and root system. Herbicide, basal bark: 10%-20% Garlon® 4. Follow-up herbicide applications may be necessary. Manual: hand pull seedlings.


Most photos courtesy of the Atlas of Florida Plants; click for additional plant details.

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Florida Invasive Plants