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A picture of a Leopard Tree

Leopard Tree

Libidibia ferrea

Also known as

Brazilian Ironwood

Libidibia ferrea, Pau-ferro by Pedro Ivo Trasferetti (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Leopard Tree

Libidibia ferrea -'Leopard tree' - in Brisbane (6430961969)
Caesalpinia ferrea
A photo of Leopard Tree

Leopard Tree Overview

The impressive Leopard Tree, Libidibia ferrea is grown in gardens for the dappled shade it provides and its beautiful trunk. The smooth bark exfoliates easily but incompletely, often leaving large dark brown patches against a light background, the reason for the common name. It is deciduous in cold climates and also known by the names Brazilian Ironwood and Morado. In moderate climates that experience light frost or dry summer climates, this tree is not a giant and ideal for small gardens, but if you plant it in climates similar to its natural subtropical habitat, the Leopard Tree may grows up to 15m tall. It can form an aggressive root system that mirrors the size of the tree above the ground. Beyond the garden, its wood is often used for guitar fingerboards, having a similar feel and tonal attributes to rosewood. It is also used in flooring and furniture applications.

How to harvest Leopard Tree

Generally not harvested, in Brazil the trees are harvested for timber.

How to propagate Leopard Tree


Sow fresh seeds in spring.

Special features of Leopard Tree

Pot plant

Can be planted into large containers.

Drought resistant

Once established the effective root system help to survive dry spells.

Attractive leaves

Dainty leaves allow filtered sunlight through. In a cold climate, the leaves will drop at the beginning of winter.

Other uses of Leopard Tree