The Gumbo Limbo Tree
Better known as "the tourist tree"
The tall tropical gumbo limbo tree (Bursera simaruba) grows from South Florida into Mexico, the Caribbean south to Brazil and Venezuela. The tree has a distinctive shiny red bark that looks like it is constantly peeling.
Gumbo-limbo is also considered one of the most wind-tolerant trees, and it is recommended as a rugged, hurricane-resistant species in south Florida. But they will topple, which has been evident at the Gumbo Limbo Trail in the Everglades since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. However, when a tree falls, it usually resprouts from a broken branch on the ground.
Plantings also can be started by sticking a piece into the ground. Small branches quickly root and grow into sizeable trees in a few years. Which is why in Central America the cut limbs are planted as fence posts, which immediately start growing
Medicinally, the resin can be used to treat gout. Tea from the leaves may have anti-inflammatory properties.
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