Clusia is a large genus of trees and shrubs native to tropical America. It is characterized by its branches, which grow horizontally, and its leaves, which are thick and tough. The only commonly grown Clusia plant is the autograph tree.
There are about 150 Clusia species, but Clusia rosea, or the autograph tree, is the only one commonly grown. It is notable for its tendency to grow on top of and strangle other plants. It is an invasive species. Another unusual quality, this species is part of the only genus of plants capable of absorbing carbon dioxide at night. The tree has stiff, dark green or olive colored leathery leaves that grow to about 8 inches long. These leaves are tough enough that they can be carved into, hence the common name “autograph tree.” It also blooms pink or white flowers in long flower heads during the summer and small green fruits that ripen to black and eventually split open to reveal bright red seeds. These seeds are very attractive to birds and other fauna.