Its flower is about the size of a Bahamian 10cent piece. This tree is one of two species which yield the valuable Lignum vitae wood, the other being Guaiacum officinale. The wood density is again one of the most dense in the whole world making it heavy and hard to work with. Common name(s): Lignum vitae, holywood, tree of life. At 79 pounds per cubic foot, Lignum vitae is so heavy it sinks. Endemic to the Caribbean and the north coast of South America, the wood was first brought to Europe in the 16th century. The heartwood color ranges from a dark greenish brown to black. In San Francisco, structures built with Lignum vitae wood imported from the tropics survived the 1906 earthquake. Family: Zygophyllaceae. It boasts spectacular blossoms. The Lignum Vitae tree is indigenous to the Caribbean and parts of South America not only is it The National Tree of the Bahamas but its blooming flower is the National Flower of Jamaica. Of the six species, only two (Guaiacum sanctum and Guaiacum officinale) are commonly used by the woodworking industry. Lignum vitae is a relatively small and very slow growing tree, taking upwards of 15 years to reach the stage where one could cut lumber. The crown of blooming flowers creates a heavenly appearance. Young trees give a bonsai sculptural like feel. These uses caused over harvesting, reducing native populations to the point that Lignum vitae is now listed as "Endangered" by IUCN (The World Conservation Union). USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Figure 2) Origin: native to Florida, the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. UF/IFAS Invasive Assessment Status: native. However, G. Officinale is grown as an ornamental tree … Lignum Vitae is excellent for wood turning, as well as being used for bearings, bushings, some marine applications, and mallet heads. It's also the world's densest wood, and has such unusual properties that the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, has its aft main shaft strut bearings made out of the stuff. Lignum vitae – “the wood of life” in Latin -- is among the densest and heaviest woods on earth. The common name, Lignum vitae (tree of life or wood of life), comes from its historic medicinal use as a remedy for conditions from arthritis to coughs to syphilis. Lignum vitae is the common name for a group of six species from the genus 'Guaiacum', best known for their strength, density, and durability. While the bark of older trees is one the hardest trade wood in the world. It is a very hard, dense, and heavy wood, with a fine texture. Lignum Vitae (Argentine) is an exotic wood, yet is native to the West Indies and the tropical regions of the Americas. Lignum Vitae, Latin for "Tree of Life," is the national tree of the Bahamas. The wood has been used for making specific parts of ships that needed to be self-lubricating so that they would last longer. The tree is considered to have medicinal value, used mostly for home remedies. All in all this is one of my favorites. - Unknown - Unknown. Yes that is right the lignum vitae does bloom. In addition, the seeds display unpredictable germination periods and sprout extremely slowly.