Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Seagrape is a common native tree of South Florida and Caribbean landscapes, but it's now also used in landscaping in tropical and sub-tropical areas from Arizona and Hawaii through Latin America. While seagrapes thrive in salty, sandy habitats and under drought conditions, they’re intolerant of shade and cold and seedlings can be crowded out by grasses and other vegetation, thus limiting their occurrence northward and away from coastal regions. Each seagrape tree is either male or female -- thus, at least two trees are needed for reproduction. Only female trees produce the characteristic grape-like clusters of fruit. Flowering can occur throughout the year, but is most common in spring and early summer. The small, fragrant, greenish-white flowers grow in long clusters and are pollinated by bees and other insects. On the females, these flowers become clusters of egg-shaped purple fruits within about two months. Inside each nearly one inch long fruit is a hard half inch long seed. Birds that eat these fruits help disperse the seeds.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.