Metopium toxiferum is an evergreen tree with a broad, rounded crown of widely spreading, stout branches; it can grow 4 - 12 metres tall. The usually short bole can be 15 - 60cm in diameter[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of wood.
The plant contains a latex, which often exudes naturally from the bark and leaves, becoming black once exposed to the air. This latex irritates the skin and causes allergies. After contact with it, 70% of Europeans develop itching papules a few days later, which then develop into blisters and remain for several weeks[
The smoke of the burning wood irritates the skin[
Caribbean - Leeward Islands to Cuba and the Bahamas; SE N. America - Florida.
Forests and thickets of the dry limestone region and rare in the moist limestone region of Puerto Rico[
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A resinous gum obtained from the bark is said to be diuretic, emetic and purgative[
The heartwood is a rich dark brown streaked with red; the sapwood is yellowish or light brown. The wood is rather fine-textured; hard; heavy; strong; durable. It is easily worked in one report, but hard to work according to another; it takes a fine polish[
]. It is little used in Puerto Rico but has served elsewhere for fence posts[
]. It might well be used in cabinet work and for furniture, care being taken to overcome its tendency to check in drying[
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