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Duranta erecta

Golden-Dewdrops, Duranta

Duranta erecta L.

dew-RAN-tah  ee-WRECK-tah



Explanation of name: Genus named for Italian botanist and physician Castor Durantes, died ca. 1590 (BA1). Erecta is self-explanatory.


Synonym: Duranta repens L. (see WU2)


Natural range: Caribbean to Brazil. Contrary to other indications (e.g., BA1), WU2 does not accept the species as native to Florida. Authorities are mixed on this question, partly because the species is an aggressive colonizer readily dispersed by birds and escaping cultivation. Almost certainly not indigenous to Palm Beach County. (Any claim to “nativity” would be in or near the Florida Keys.)


Recognition: Shrub or small tree, sometimes thorny, with opposite, often-serrate leaves, these sometimes variegated in cultivated material. Flowers deep purple (or white in var. alba Bailey), in short dangling racemes. Fruits pea-sized, golden-translucent


Landscape uses: This fast-growing (or medium-growing) shrub or small tree is popular for its decorative drooping branches, showy purple (or white) flowers, and golden (but deadly poisonous) fruits. Those with white-variegated foliage (var. variegata Bailey or cv. ‘Alba’) are showy.

Cultivars include: ‘Alba’, ‘Desert-to-Jungle’, ‘Gold Edge’, ‘Gold Mound’ (important and widespread), ‘Tiger Eye’, ‘Variegata’, ‘Lemon Lime’.

A Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Assn. (FNGLA) Plant of the Year (2005), Duranta ‘Gold Mound’ with golden-yellow foliage (looking like severe nutrient deficiency) has become inexplicably fashionable as a small, often-heavily pruned, sick-looking specimen and border plant decorating the entrances to gated communities across our area, often awkwardly associated with plants of more normal coloration. It reportedly fares best in full sun, high heat, and high humidity, and being small-statured, 'Gold Mound' should be more closely spaced than other selections. One grower recommends 14”. The flowers attract butterflies, and the fruits feed birds. Propagated by cuttings or seeds.




FL Native

Growth Form

Flowering Season

Typical Dimensions

Suggested Spacing

Cultural Conditions


Duranta erecta

Golden Dewdrops

Exotic according to WU2 (see discussion)

Shrub or

Small Tree



To 18’ X 10’-15’

(BA1, UFFPS190)


(depends on cultivar)

See discussion for ‘Gold Mound’



(SU for ‘Gold Mound’)





Fruits are lethal



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