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Caution - Central, North, South

Terminalia muelleri: Muellers Terminalia1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson 2


This is a small, 30-foot-tall, deciduous tree which forms a symmetrical, horizontally-layered silhouette from an arrow-straight trunk. The leathery, four-inch-long leaves turn attractively red in autumn and winter before dropping. In spring, the trees are decorated with spikes of tiny greenish-white blossoms which are followed by dark blue, small fruits. This tree is probably well suited for a street tree and other urban planting sites where a small tree is needed. It would also make a nice addition to the small residential lot as a specimen tree or small shade tree for a patio or deck.

Figure 1. Middle-aged Terminalia muelleri: Muellers Terminalia
Figure 1.  Middle-aged Terminalia muelleri: Muellers Terminalia

General Information

Scientific name: Terminalia muelleri
Pronunciation: ter-mih-NAIL-ee-uh MULL-er-eye
Common name(s): Muellers Terminalia
Family: Combretaceae
USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Figure 2)
Figure 2. Range
Figure 2.  Range
Origin: not native to North America
Invasive potential:According to the IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas (IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group 2008), in Florida Terminalia muelleri should be treated with caution, may be recommended but managed to prevent escape.
Uses: sidewalk cutout (tree pit); tree lawn 3–4 feet wide; tree lawn 4–6 feet wide; tree lawn > 6 ft wide; deck or patio; specimen; highway median
Availability: somewhat available, may have to go out of the region to find the tree


Height: 30 to 35 feet
Spread: 15 to 25 feet
Crown uniformity: symmetrical
Crown shape: vase
Crown density: moderate
Growth rate: moderate
Texture: medium


Leaf arrangement: alternate
Leaf type: simple
Leaf margin: entire
Leaf shape: obovate
Leaf venation: reticulate
Leaf type and persistence: deciduous
Leaf blade length: 2 to 4 inches
Leaf color: green
Fall color: red
Fall characteristic: showy


Flower color: white/cream/gray
Flower characteristics: showy


Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: blue
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves a litter problem

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/bark/branches: branches don't droop; not showy; typically one trunk; thorns
Pruning requirement: little required
Breakage: resistant
Current year twig color: green
Current year twig thickness: thin
Wood specific gravity: unknown


Light requirement: full sun
Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained
Drought tolerance: moderate
Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate


Roots: not a problem
Winter interest: no
Outstanding tree: no
Ozone sensitivity: unknown
Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown
Pest resistance: free of serious pests and diseases

Use and Management

Terminalia muelleri should be grown in full sun on any well-drained soil, tolerating acid, alkaline, and even salt, and are very wind-resistant. Trees should be planted where they can be protected from frost.

Propagation is by seed.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern.

Literature Cited

Fox, A.M., D.R. Gordon, J.A. Dusky, L. Tyson, and R.K. Stocker. 2008. IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas: Status Assessment. Cited from the Internet (November 16, 2012),


1. This document is ENH-785, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised April 2007 and February 2013. Reviewed June 2016. Visit the EDIS website at
2. Edward F. Gilman, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Agricultural Engineering Department, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

IFAS Assessment

Central, North, South


Caution - manage to prevent escape. May be recommended by IFAS. Will be reassessed in two years.

view assessment

Publication #ENH-785

Release Date:June 29, 2016

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Part of Southern Trees Fact Sheets

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