Gumbo-Limbo Tree

Native to South Florida and the tropical offshore islands, gumbo-limbo is a large semi-evergreen tree.

It can reach sixty feet in height, but it’s usually seen smaller in landscape plantings. The soft, light-weight, and easily carved wood of gumbo-limbo was used for making carousel horses before the advent of molded plastics.

The trunk and branches are thick and are covered with resinous, smooth, peeling coppery-colored bark with an attractive, shiny, freshly-varnished appearance. The gumbo-limbo is often referred to as the “tourist tree” because the tree’s bark is red and peeling, like the skin of a sun burnt tourist.

Gumbo-limbo is also considered one of the most wind-tolerant trees. This attractive tree is an excellent choice—for South Florida landscapes. Unfortunately, the gumbo-limbo is only hardy in zones 10B–11.


UF/IFAS Publications

Also on Gardening Solutions