Palo de Jazmin

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Palo de Jazmin

Styrax portoricensis

Status Endangered
Listed April 22, 1992
Family Styracaceae (Styrax)
Description Evergreen tree growing to 66 ft (20 m) with tapered shiny green leaves on upper surface, and pale green on lower surfaces.
Habitat Palo Colorado forests of Puerto Rico.
Threats Establishment of plantations, selective cutting, trail and road construction.
Range Puerto Rico


Palo de Jazmin, Styrax portoricensis, is an evergreen tree that can grown up to 66 ft (20 m) in height. The leaves are alternate, lack stipules, and have entire margins that are slightly turned under. The leaves are 2.5-4 in (6.2-10 cm) long and are tapered at both ends; they are widest in the middle with a shiny green upper surface, a pale green lower surface, no hairs, and scattered star-shaped scales. The inflorescence is a three to six flowered raceme, each flower being borne on a curved pedicel. The fruits are a one-seeded elongated drupe, about 0.5 in (12.5 mm) in diameter, densely covered with scales and maintaining the cup-shaped calyx at the base.


The one remaining Palo de Jazmin tree is located in the Palo Colorado forest association.


Palo de jazmin was collected for the first time in 1885 from the eastern mountains of Puerto Rico. Collected only twice since then, in 1935 and 1954, it was thought to be extinct until rediscovered in November 1982. Endemic to Puerto Rico, only one immature tree is presently known and occurs in the Palo Colorado forest association of the Luquillo Mountains.


The palo de jazmin has suffered from the destruction of most of its natural-forest habitat through agricultural, forestry, and other human activities. It is extremely rare, having been collected only a few times and even thought extinct until "re-discovered" in 1982. Only one immature tree is presently known to exist. That individual and its habitat are at risk from the construction and maintenance of military communications facilities, other human activities, and natural disturbances such as hurricanes.

Conservation and Recovery

The U.S. Forest Service removed the wind-thrown trees that had fallen on the last remaining Palo de Jazmin tree during Hurricane Hugo. This endangered tree sustained only minor damage.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Boqueron Ecological Services Field Office
P.O. Box 491
Carr 301, Km 5.1,
Bo. Corozo Boqueron, Puerto Rico 00622-0510
Telephone: (787) 851-7297
Fax: (787) 851-7440


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 22 April 1992. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered or Threatened Status for Five Puerto Rican Trees." Federal Register 57 (78): 14782-14785.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1995. Callicarpa ampla, Ilex sintenisii, Styrax portoricensis, Ternstroemia luquillensis, and Ternstroemia subsessilis Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia.