Native Plant of the Week

White Fiddlewood by Joanne Mercille

The flowers of the White Fiddlewood have a delightful fragrance, not unlike Jasmine.

White Fiddlewood/Citharexylum spinosum
VERBENACEAE

Height: 15-50 feet high x 8-30 feet wide, depending on the variety
Growth habit: Upright
Flowers: Daily white, fragrant, Jasmine-like flowers in drooping clusters; bright orange fruits
Soil requirement: Well-drained soil
Light requirements: Full-sun to part-shade
Environment tolerance: Fairly wind and salt tolerant
Nature attracting: Birds and butterflies

DISTRIBUTION
Venezuela, Guyana, Panama, and throughout the Caribbean.
Fiddlewood is locally found on all three islands in the Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman

DESCRIPTION
White Fiddlewood tree is dioecious and is generally found in a drier habitat. This tree has a graceful, upright, narrow habit with branches that are dotted with orange leaf stems and thick green leaves turning bronze between February and May.
It is an evergreen, and is therefore ever-blooming. It can also grow in a wide variety of soil and light exposures.
Birds and butterflies alike will visit this tree, providing food and nectar to the ecosystem.

HORTICULTURE POTENTIAL
The versatility of White Fiddlewood allows it to be used in a wide range of landscape settings, especially in more exposed environments and weak soil. The white, fragrant, blossom clusters are inviting, and if well-placed in your garden, will allow the wind to bring their fragrance to you all day.
The leaves changing colour is an attractive aspect.
Although White Fiddlewood can get very large, the smaller variety is suitable for smaller gardens. It is an excellent urban tree that can be used in street medians.

Joanne Mercille
Mercille has called Grand Cayman home since 1997 and she has a keen interest in local flora. She is curator for the National Trust Herbarium and has created an online database for public viewing of the physical herbarium. She is also webmaster for www.caymanflora.org and owns Caribbean Blooms – a native plant nursery. She is an avid gardener and member of the Garden Club of Grand Cayman.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now