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Guaiacum sanctum


Native to:



Central America the Caribbean and Florida.

Dry coastal areas. Up to 700 meters above sea level. 6 meters tall.

Guaiacum sanctum

Ecological value:

Low elevation tree which is salt, wind, and drought resistant. Good species to plant by seaside. Very slow growing tree. Grows in full sun or part shade in a variety of soil types.
Also grown as an ornamental.

Material uses:

It is the hardest, densest commercially used wood, and due to high resin content, does not need preservation treatments. Very resistant to fungi, marine borers and termites. Historically used for propellers. Leaves can be used as a substitute for soap.

Edible uses:

No record on this species.

Medicinal use:

Resin in the wood have been medicinally used in the past to treat a variety of ailments such as arthritis, gout, rheumatism. Also used as a laxative and diuretic.

Other details:

Endangered species. Can collect high prices for the Lignum vitae wood. Heartwood resin contains guaiaconic acid, guaiaretic acid, vanillin and guaiac yellow, and can be extracted by boring a log longitudinally , propping the log at a slope and heating it. G. officinale is considered superior.


Zac Pepere/Christine Facella


“Guaiacum Sanctum L. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 26, 2023.
‌“Guaiacum Sanctum - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 9, 2023.
‌Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
Image source: C. Facella

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