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Useful Tropical Plants

Hernandia sonora

L.

Hernandiaceae


There has been some confusion between this species and Hernandia guianensis, with some treatments viewing them as a single species (as H. Sonora) and others seeing them as distinct and with distinct ranges. Most recent treatments follow the latter concept. Because the ranges are distinct, it is often relatively easy to decipher which species is actually being discussed in older works[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Hernandezia sonora (L.) Hoffmanns.

Hernandia ovigera L.

Hernandia peltata Sessé & Moç.

Common Name: Jack In A Box

Hernandia sonora
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: Lauren Gutierrez
Creative Commons License
Hernandia sonora Hernandia sonora Hernandia sonora Hernandia sonora Hernandia sonora Hernandia sonora

General Information

Jack in a box is a fairly fast-growing, handsome, evergreen tree with an open, irregular crown and showy panicles of flowers[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It grows up to 20 metres tall[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].
The plant is gathered from the wild for a range of local uses, and is also often grown as an ornamental in gardens and along streets[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References


Range

Caribbean - Barbados; Cuba; Guadeloupe; Montserrat; Puerto Rico; St. Vincent and Grenadines.

Habitat

Forests[
356
Title
The Useful and Ornamental Plants of Trinidad and Tobago.
Publication
 
Author
Williams. R. O. & Williams. R. O. Jnr.
Publisher
Self Published in Trinidad and Tobago.
Year
1951
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a wide range of plants both native and introduced to Trinidad and Tobago. Gives a brief description of the plant and some of its local uses.
]. Wet and semideciduous forests[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Frequently found along river banks and in very wet places in lowland areas, it grows at elevations from sea level to 500 metres[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
Growth RateFast
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of lowland tropical climates[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Prefers a rich, humid, moisture-retentive soil and a position in full sun[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. Well suited to coastal gardens in the tropics, tolerating maritime exposure[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Established plants are moderately drought tolerant[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The bark, seeds and leaves are used as a purge[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

A preparation of the roots is used as an antidote to fish poisoning[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant has been suggested as a shade tree for Cacao plantations[
356
Title
The Useful and Ornamental Plants of Trinidad and Tobago.
Publication
 
Author
Williams. R. O. & Williams. R. O. Jnr.
Publisher
Self Published in Trinidad and Tobago.
Year
1951
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a wide range of plants both native and introduced to Trinidad and Tobago. Gives a brief description of the plant and some of its local uses.
].

Other Uses

The juice from the leaves is depilatory, destroying hair without pain[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

The oily seeds can be burnt as candles, though they produce a great deal of smoke[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

When the wood dries, it is greyish white with faint olive-coloured streaks; it does not have a characteristic odour or taste[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. The soft sapwood and the heartwood are barely distinguishable[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. The wood is very light, not very durable, has a straight hilum, thick texture, low shine, and soft grain[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Wood resists cracking by screws and is easy to work with sharp tools, but saws produce a floccose finish[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. Although very soft, it is used to some extent for building purposes[
356
Title
The Useful and Ornamental Plants of Trinidad and Tobago.
Publication
 
Author
Williams. R. O. & Williams. R. O. Jnr.
Publisher
Self Published in Trinidad and Tobago.
Year
1951
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a wide range of plants both native and introduced to Trinidad and Tobago. Gives a brief description of the plant and some of its local uses.
]. It is used for interior finishes, general carpentry, fillers for plywood, boxes and crates, baskets, scaffolds, chips for briquettes, pulp, and paper[
337
Title
Tropical Tree Seed Manual
Publication
 
Author
Vosso. J. Editor.
Website
http://www.rngr.net/Publications/ttsm
Publisher
USDA Forest Service.
Year
2002
ISBN
 
Description
An extremely good guide, it can also be downloaded in its entirety from the address shown above.
]. It can also be used as a substitute for heavier grades of balsa wood[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cuttings of mature wood[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

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