Soldierwood is a small tree or shrub, commonly 10 - 20 feet in height with a slender trunk and branches; the crown is moderately dense and has an irregular shape. The bark is orange-brown, mottled, fissured and peels off in thin layers. Leaves are dark green, shiny, alternate, simple, entire, elliptic, 2 1/2 - 6 inches long. Leaves have scattered gland spots near the margin. Flowers are borne in leaf axils, yellow green in color, blooms tiny about 1/16 inch long. Fruit is globose, about the size of a peppercorn, orange red in color. Seeds used for propagation. Soldierwood has dark brown to yellowish, heavy, hard strong wood used for posts. A soft drink is made from the bark and sometimes the fruit; the drink also is said to have medicinal properties. Seeds are made into necklaces. This plant does well in a range of soil types with good drainage. In landscaping, with pruning, soldierwood can be a small specimen tree ot large shrub in gardens or patios. It can be grown in a planter and in a native plant garden.
Photo credit: Burnt Umber, Flickr