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Guaiac - Plant

Note: The image is for reference purpose only.
Tree of Life is a tree yielding the true lignum vitae, a wood once used to treat syphilis. Lignum Vitae is the heaviest and densest wood in the world.
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Description for Guaiac

Guaiacum officinale, commonly known as rough bark lignum-vitae, guaiac wood or gaiacwood, is a species of tree in the caltrop family, Zygophyllaceae, that is native to the Caribbean and the northern coast of South America.

The tree is essentially evergreen throughout most of its native range. The leaves are compound, 2.5 to 3 cm in length, and 2 cm wide. Flowers are showy, to 2.5 cm across, bluish purple, fading to white.

The flowers have five petals which yield a bright yellow-orange fruit with red flesh and black seeds.

Common nameFlower coloursBloom timeHeightDifficulty
Tree of Life, Lignum Vitae, GuaiacBluish purple, fading to whiteMarch-October9to 12 feetEasy to grow

Planting and care

Fill a 4 to 6 inch pot with a soilless seed starting the potting mix. Use a pot that has at least one drainage hole in the bottom. Prepare one pot for each lignum vitae seed.
Make a 1/4-inch-deep hole in the center of the pot with your index finger. Drop one seed into the hole and then smooth the soil back over it.

Full Sun to Partial ShadeWell-drained soilMedium24.5 degrees CApply any organic fertilizer

Caring for Guaiac

    Water the potting mix in the pot until it is evenly damp and water starts to seep out of the hole in the bottom. Place the pot or pots containing the lignum vitae seeds in a bright area, out of indirect light.
    Maintain a constant temperature between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit around the seeds during germination. Maintaining warmth during germination is important.

Typical uses of Guaiac

Special features: Where winter hardy, it grows well in coastal plantings. Also serves as an attractive ornamental lawn tree. It also can be grown as a shrub. May be grown in containers due to slow growth rate.

Culinary use: NA

Ornamental use: The plant is used for an ornamental purpose.

Medicinal use: Unverified information Some of the resins active ingredients are effective anti-inflammatory agents. Due to this fact, it is used against a sore throat and gout.
Note: Please consult your health expert.


  • http://homeguides.sfgate.com/germinate-lignum-vitae-72045.html
  • http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=287642&isprofile=0&
  • http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Tree%20of%20Life.html
  • http://www.flowersofindia.net/risearch/search.php?query=%09Guaiac&stpos=0&stype=AND

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