Florida’s plant life is highly diverse, including over 460 species of native trees and shrubs. These species occur in forest communities that vary significantly from the western panhandle to the Florida Keys. In general, the state has four identifiable eco-regions as shown on the map. The lines between these regions are purposely indistinct.
Typical Tree and Shrub Forms
Large trees will typically exceed 10 to 15 meters in height when fully grown. The diameter of a mature tree will almost always be greater than 20 cm at breast height. Seedling and saplings may resemble shrubs or small trees in size or form.
At maturity, small trees are generally between 5 and 15 meters in height. They are more likely than shrubs to have a single primary trunk with a diameter between 10 and 25 cm at breast height. Young trees will often have the proportions and characteristics of mature shrubs.
For the purposes of this listing, shrubs are considered self-supporting woody plants which at maturity are generally less than 3 to 5 meters in height. They often have multiple stems, none exceeding about 10 cm in diameter at breast height.
As with all artificial distinctions, exceptions to these definitions are to be expected.
Tree Taxonomy and Characteristics
Trees and shrubs fall into two major groups, the Gymnosperms or cone-bearing species and the Angiosperms or flowering species. Lists and characteristics of Florida trees and shrubs are found on the following pages:
Angiosperms or flowering species: