The reddish-brown peeling papery bark on the trunk earned this tree the nickname "the tourist tree." Flowers are small and greenish white.
Gumbo limbo is found in the US in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. They are very wind-resistant, making them ideal for hurricane prone areas. Small branches of this tree can be planted directly in the soil to create "living fences". Gumbo limbo fruits provide important sources of food for many bird species, such as vireos and flycatchers.