Simarouba amaraThe paradise tree is an evergreen understory tree native to the rainforests and savannahs of the Caribbean, and South and Central America. It is a member of the Simaroubaceae family that also includes the Chinese tree of heaven, Alianthus altissima, a widespread weed in both urban and non-urban environments. The paradise tree has a smooth, pale gray trunk and large pinnately divided evergreen leaves up to twenty four inches long with nine to sixteen leathery, obovate leaflets. New leaves are produced every year before the flowers and are tinged with red before turning deep green with maturity. Small yellow male and female flowers are produced in pendent panicles below the foliage on the same tree in spring and female flowers are followed by brightly colored green to deep purple fruits in clusters of three to five. Trees are fast growing but short lived, and are suitable for use as specimens, lawn trees, screens or in naturalized settings.

Type: Evergreen tree

Outstanding Features: Use for reforestation; medicinal

Form: Upright, open canopy with rounded crown

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: . Pendent panicles of small yellow male and female on the same tree in spring

Size: 30-80’ H x 20-65’ W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Average, medium moist to very moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 9-10

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance


By Karen