This name is not universally accepted. We have followed the treatment in African Plant Database[
] and others, but some botanists are rejecting the Genus name Elaeodendron and are merging it with Cassine[
]. In that case, this species will be Cassine xylocarpa Vent.[
Cassine attenuata (A.Rich.) Kuntze
Cassine dioica (Griseb.) Lobr.-Callen
Cassine rotundata (DC.) Kuntze
Cassine xylocarpa Vent.
Elaeodendron attenuatum A.Rich.
Elaeodendron dioicum Griseb.
Elaeodendron rotundatum DC.
Elaeodendron trichotomum (Turcz.) Lundell
Eurya dioica Blume
Freziera dioica Macfad.
Maytenus trichotomus Turcz.
Common Name: Marble Tree
Marble tree is an evergreen shrub or small tree commonly growing 2 - 12 metres tall. The usually slender bole is around 5 - 8cm in diameter. The plant often has several stems emanating from the root crown or low on the trunk. The crowns are fairly dense (especially when open-grown), branchy, and often contorted[
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood. It is a potential nickel accumulator plant for treating polluted soils. Marble tree is pretty enough to make a good ornamental but has rarely been used as such[
S. America - Venezuela; C. America - Panama; Caribbean - St. Vincent to the Bahamas; N. America - southern Mexico.
Remnant and late secondary forests[
]. Scrub-lands and coppices in the Bahamas[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Marble tree is found wild in Puerto Rico at elevations from sea level to around 300 metres; growing in areas where the mean annual rainfall ranges from 750 - 1,800mm[
Moderately intolerant of shade, the plant can persist and grow slowly under low forest but needs to be open-grown or at least have broken sunlight in order to flower and fruit[
]. The species is drought-tolerant and usually grows on excessively well-drained situations such as beaches, bluffs, rocky headlands, and rocky ridges[
]. Marble tree often grows out of cracks in rocks, it is most often seen in areas of limestone and ultramafic (serpentine) rocks[
Marble tree grows slowly. A one metre tall sapling with a basal diameter of 1.5cm growing in the understory of low basal area moist forest had 37 annual rings[
]. Individuals as large as 20cm in diameter at breast height must be several decades old[
The plant is supported by an extensive shallow and deep lateral root system with sinkers and sometimes a discernable taproot. The roots are orange and stiff[
The bark has an odour of licorice when broken[
Management of the species should include protection from fire and from commercial development of habitat. Existing
understory seedlings and saplings could be released from competition by thinning or eliminating the overstory in patches[
The fruits are reported to be edible[
]. The yellow, more or less globose fruit can be up to 30mm in diameter[
Extracts of the plant are a stimulant[
The species is reported to be a nickel accumulator[
The wood is light-brown, hard, heavy, fine-textured, strong, and durable. It is certainly useful for fence posts, and possibly also for carving and turnery[
The wood is used for fuel[
A collection of air-dried seeds in Puerto Rico averaged 3.19 +0.076 g/seed or 313 seeds/kg. Sown in commercial potting mix, they began germinating in 26 days and completed 82 percent germination.
The species can also be propagated by asexual means. Fifty-six and 21 percent, respectively, of air layers and misted cuttings treated with IBA rooted. The newly formed roots are fragile and easily broken off during transplanting[
The seeds are probably dispersed by fruit bats. Seedlings and saplings are relatively common in and around Puerto Rican stands of the species[
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