Also known as
Copey, Balsam Apple, Pitch-Apple, Scotch Attorney, Florida Clusia, Clusia Princess
Clusia rosea, the Autograph Tree flower. (9831316254) by Dick Culbert (CC BY 2.0)
More images of Autograph Tree
Autograph Tree Overview
Clusia rosea is a popular plant in the Clusiaceae family. Species in the genus Clusia are shrubs or trees with characteristic characteristic milky or coloured sap. Originating from tropical America, this species is termed a hemiepiphyte as part of its life cycle is epiphytic. It starts off growing in canopies of other plants without the need for soil, eventually overgrowing in a manner similar to that of strangler figs (Ficus species). With enough time it sends roots down to anchor in the soil. Grows best in full sunlight, but will cope with partial shade fairly well, can be grown outside in tropical climates. Foliage is thick and leathery, leaves are egg-shaped, flattened at the tip and wider at the tip compared to the base. These are oppositely arranged, grow to a maximum size of around 20cm long and contribute to the common name, autograph tree after the tough leaves which can be carved into. This genus contains many species that are considered invasive due to their tenacity, they easily grow over and strangle other plants. Flowers are waxy, they are shallowly cup-shaped with between 4-9 overlapping or distinctly separated white or pink-marked petals, sometimes peach-tinged. Flowers lead onto small round fruits, these are green to yellow when unripe, developing to black when ripe and splitting to release bright red seeds.
How to propagate Autograph Tree
Special features of Autograph Tree
May be grown in a large container.
The bright red seeds are popular with birds and other animals.
Good for use as a hedge plant, produces thick foliage and doesn't require heavy pruning.
Other uses of Autograph Tree
Suitable for coastal conditions.