The lignum vitae is an endangered species. Also known as the tree-of-life, or its genius species name, Guajacum sanctum, the lignum vitae is indigenous to parts of the eastern Carribean, Central America, and the Florida Keys.
Not only is the lignum vitae the plant of the Bahamas and the flower of Jamaica, but the it is also popular because of its wood. Specifically, the lignum vitae is all but gone from the Keys because it was over-harvested for it’s wood. The tree-of-life is used in propeler shaft bushings and other machine parts. It’s also extremely dense; the wood is so heavy that it will sink in water! According to Britannica.com, the lignum vitae resin (also known as guaiacum), can be used to treat respiratory disorders.
The plant grows very slow and does not need much water to live. The tree flowers during the Spring.
More information on the lignum vitae tree at Wikipedia.