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Plants for a Plant Zoo: Gopher Apple (Licania michauxii  aka Geobalanus oblongifolius)

If you live along the southeast coastline and want to attract the gopher tortoise, this wiry evergreen shrub provides a fruit that is favored by this very special reptile. Why care bout the gopher tortoise? Well, it’s a very important animal in its environment because it digs burrows that provide shelter for over 350 other animals species. The plant that provides food for the gopher tortoise grows 3″ to 12″ tall and slowly spreads by rhizomes to form colonies. It has dark green leaves that are leathery and about 4″ long, and clusters of small yellow flowers that appear from spring into summer. The flowers are attractive to many pollinators including butterflies. The edible fruit, beloved by the gopher tortoise, is whitish to brown and has a single seed. In addition to providing shelter and food for wildlife, the plant stabilizes the soil and controls erosion in sandy areas so is a good choice for seaside, native plant, butterfly, and wildlife gardens where it can be used as a groundcover. Photo Credit Wikipedia

Type: Evergreen flowering shrub

Bloom Color: Yellow

Bloom Time: Spring into summer

Size: 3″-5′ H

Light: Full sun

Soil: Sandy, dry to moderately moist, well-drained; tolerant of drought, lean soil, wind, and salt spray but not salt water

Hardiness: Zones 8-11