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Bursera simaruba - Gumbolimbo


Native to:



Florida, West Indies, Mexico, Central America and northern South America.

Humid, tropical climates. Up to 920 meters above sea level. 25 meter tall tree.

Bursera simaruba - Gumbolimbo

Ecological value:

High drought tolerance. Tolerates salty calcareous soils. Rapid growth at 2m per year. Important food source for birds - very good to use to attract birds for bird watching. Shade tolerant. Supports soil microbial life. Controls soil erosion. Thrives with little to no care.

Material uses:

Resin is taken from trunk to make glue, varnish, water repellent coatings and incense. Moderately strong wood, used for light furniture, toys, paper, and pulp. Oil from seed: contains 60-70% oil suitable for edible/ non-edible purpose, including fuel oil, and soap.

Edible uses:

Beverages and jam can be made from the fruit. Leaves used as a tea substitute.

Medicinal use:

Resin from bark used to treat dysentery, dropsy and yellow fever.

Other details:

Hurricane resistant: withstands wind gusts of 150-330 km/hr- can serve as wind protection for crops and roads starters tree in reforestation scheme. Live fence. Used as fuel wood. Each tree yields 15-30 kg nutlets equivalent to 2.5-5kg oil. Press cake from nuts used as green manure or fodder.


Jennifer Yaing/Christine Facella


1. Christman, Steve. Bursera simaruba Plant Profile. FloriData. May 14, 2004.
2. Taylor, Leslie. Gumbolimbo. Tropical Plant Database. December 17, 2012.
Image Credit/Source:Vihelik,

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