The Cordia Sebestena (Geiger-tree) is a bush or little tree local to the Caribbean area, but this tree is widely grown as a decorative tree all through the tropics and subtropics for its pompous reddish-orange flowers.

This tree ranges from southern Florida in the United States and the Bahamas, in Southwards it ranges throughout Central America and the Greater Antilles.

In fact, Florida in some cases said to fall inside its local distribution, it is argued that it was most likely introduced with the Florida Keys early in the nineteenth century, most probably by John Geiger.

John Geiger was a ship captain residing in the Key West. On the other hand Gann et al. claims in 2008 that this tree is native to Florida by saying that after an intensive research in the herbaria it indicates that this Geiger Tree is native to the Florida Keys and the extreme Southern mainland.


This tree was known as different names in different cultures, for example, Kopte (Mayan) or Siricote in the 19th Century northern Yucatan, in Jamaica it was known as scarlet Cordia and in Florida, this tree was called Geiger tree.


NameGeiger Tree, Sebestens, Scarlet Cordia
Scientific NameCordia sebestena
SynonymsCordia laevis

Vernacular Names

  • English: Geiger Tree
  • Albanian: Pema Geiger
  • Catalan: Geiger Tree
  • Dutch: Geiger Tree
  • Finnish: Geiger Tree
  • French: Arbre Geiger
  • Galician: Árbore Geiger
  • German: Geigerbaum
  • Greek: Geiger Tree
  • Hausa: Geiger Tree
  • Italian: Albero Geiger
  • Japanese: ガイガーツリー
  • Polish: Geiger Tree
  • Portuguese: Árvore Geiger
  • Russian: Дерево Гейгера
  • Spanish: Árbol de geiger
  • Swedish: Geiger Tree

History of Cordia Sebestena (Geiger Tree)

The history and origin of this plant are explained below briefly:

Origin of Geiger Tree

According to records (1924), this tree occurs in southern Florida. The majority of the Antilles, the northern bank of South America, and in Yucatan, Mexico.

The Cordia Sebestenais tree is largely native distributed from Florida to South America. It is utilized in fancy arranging and as a road tree all through the Neotropics.

This tree is not known to be any kind of major dangers or decrease in population. Therefore, it is consequently surveyed as Least Concern.

Ecology and habitat of Cordia Sebestena

A tree of medium size around 10 meters in height that is generally found in Rocky coastal thickets or sandy. Collections show that it is also found on dry hillsides and in scrublands. It has a high salt resistance making it appropriate to develop in coastal areas. As it is utilized as a decorative plant, therefore, it is also found in urban zones as a road tree.

Cordia sebestena Leave

Cordia Sebestena mostly develops in seashores and on poor soils and is frequently planted as a decorative tree. This plant thrives in dry soils and even in the salt conditions. Gann et al. (2008) portray the natural surroundings in South Florida as a seaside berm, Rockland hammock, and disturbed upland.


The detailed population of Cordia Sebestena tree is not known. However, it is known that this plant is common throughout the neotropics.

Major Threats

This species has a wide circulation and is rich where it occurs. In a few parts of its range urban improvement has lessened the habitat of this species.

Anyhow it is not considered to be a major threat to Geiger tree. In the Caicos Islands and Turks the Geiger Tortoise Beetle, Physonota Calochroma Floridensis, flourish on the leaves and can defoliate trees. This creepy crawly is likewise present in Florida, making extensive harm to the trees.


The Geiger-tree (Cordia Sebestena) is a bush or little tree (It is around 7 to 8 m in height, 15 cm width). The thick evergreen leaves are wide (5 to 10 cm wide and 10 to 20 cm long ). The leaves of this tree are very rough on the upper surface and usually hairy below.

The thin branch of a tree is hairy. The tubular, orange to red flowers are around 4 cm across and they are clustered at the end of twigs. The pear-shaped fruits are white pointed and they are around 2.5 to 5 cm long with a large seed.


The Management process of Cordia Sebestena is given below.

Conservation Actions

There is an ex-situ conservation method of collecting the C.variety Sebestena var.sebestena in the form of seed. These seeds are stored in the Kew’s Millenium seed bank and also in the living material at the royal botanic garden.

Moreover, the living collections of Largeleaf Geiger tree are present in the Caicos National Museum Botanical and cultural garden and also in the Turks.


The Cordia Sebestena fruit is edible, but people do not commonly eat it. The dark brown wood of Largeleaf Geiger tree is hard, heavy, and close-grained and it has been used in Latin America to make the furniture and cabinets.

The fruit of this tree is also used for fever treatment. The plant has been utilized as a solution for intestinal and stomach complaints, and furthermore for bronchial affections.

Cordia Sebestena classification (Taxonomy)

Fun Facts about Cordia Sebestena

Fun Fact of Cordia sebestena


Awais Ahmed

Awais Ahmed

An IT(Information Technology) graduate from Bahria University Islamabad, I started my carrier as a Freelance in the year 2016 and have worked as a Blogger and Content Creator at various organizations. Currently working as a Content Creator at Tapedaily. Staying updated and writing research-based content related to Plants, Animals, and various kingdoms are my key interest.

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