Graytwig (Schoepfia chrysophylloides), also known as whitewood, was flowering and fruiting on Prange Island on Father’s Day. Clusters of tiny orange flowers and ripening fruits in hues of green and red accented its green, wavy-edged leaves and distinctive grayish white bark.
The zig-zag of its whitish branches is quite distinctive. Its trunks are quite white, too. The multiple trunks likely are evidence of the Christmas freeze of 1989.
Graytwig is uncommon in Florida but is widely distributed in the West Indies. It ranges into Volusia County on the east coast and into Collier & Lee counties on the west coast.
Graytwig does not grow at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area. A few graytwig trees grow at the Captain Forster Preserve in substantial shade along the main trail in the sandy soil near Highway A1A. Flowering and fruiting is limited in these conditions and by excessive pruning by the Indian River County Parks Department.
On Prange Island graytwig is quite common and quite large-sized on sunny edges …
Its fruits are a single-seeded ovoid drupe and are host to the native schoepfia fruit fly (Anastrepha interrupta). This yellowish fruit fly feeds only on this fruits of this plant, unlike introduced ‘generalist’ fruit flies that plague the citrus industry including the omnipresent Caribbean fruit fly and the Mediterranean fruit fly target=”_blank”>Caribbean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata), the subject of vigorous and controversial eradication upon each re-introduction.