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Products > Nuxia floribunda
Nuxia floribunda - Forest Elder

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Stilbaceae
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 20-30 feet
Width: 15-20 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30° F
Nuxia floribunda (Forest Elder) A small to medium sized tree that typically reaches to 25 to 35 feet tall with a full rounded crown and a somewhat crooked trunk . The trunk and major stems have a fissured rough gray-brown bark with smaller purplish branches, thickened at nodes, holding elliptic 3 to 5 inch long elliptic dark green undulating leaves that have tiny teeth along the margins. Flowering typically occurs in late winter to spring but occasionally also in fall with masses of tiny sweetly fragrant white flowers in panicles held at the branch tips. Plant in full to part day sun and irrigate regularly to occasionally - though noted as a tree that likes more water, it has done well in dry unirrigated parklands and plantings in Santa Barbara, making it a plant that both tolerates dry conditions and regular irrigation. Fairly tender but able to tolerate short duration temperatures down into the mid 20s° F, so best along coast or in other mild areas in Southern California. This is a very attractive small tree with a root system does not lift pavements, so suitable for street plants and near building foundations. Its natural range is from the Cape of South Africa north through to eastern and central tropical Africa where it is widespread in forests and forest margins in the coastal mountains, often along waterways. Nuxia was previously placed in the large family Loganiaceae and then moved with Buddleja into Buddlejaceae, but most recent molecular studies have placed it in the Stilbaceae, whiile Buddleja was placed in the Scrophulariaceae. The name of the genus honors the French amateur botanist M. Jean-Baptiste François de la Nux (1702-1772) and the specific epithet means "many-flowered" or "flowering profusely", which this plant certainly is known to do. This plant was first introduced into the California nursery trade in the early 1940s by Evans and Reeves Nursery in Brentwood, California and was then described as a rival to Pittosporum undulatum as a useful dense shrub. Our plants from seed collected from two trees growing near the historic Hill Adobe in downtown Santa Barbara. There is also a nice specimen in Orpet Park on Santa Barbara's Riviera, which Peter Riedel described as "a striking plant when completely covered by its cloud of white flowers." Nice specimens are also found on private estates in the area. The beautiful specimen shown in on our 2nd image is one photographed by Don Hodel at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.  The information on this page is based on our research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing  Nuxia floribunda.