Cordia elliptica Sieber ex Griseb.
Cordia nitida Vahl ex H.West
Gerascanthus laevigatus (Lam.) Borhidi
Hymenesthes nitida (Vahl) Miers
Common Name: Clam Cherry
Tree growing at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, Florida, USA
Photograph by: David Stang
Cordia laevigata can be a shrub, or a tree with a dense, rounded crown. Usually growing 4 - 8 metres tall, it is reported to sometimes reach 20 metres, whilst at other times it is a shrub only a few metres tall. It can be evergreen or deciduous according to the climate. The bole can be 30cm in diameter[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use of its wood. It makes an attractive ornamental in cultivation[
Cordia laevigata has quite a wide range in the Caribbean and C. America but its suitable habitat is threatened by urban development, tourism and recreation activities. The extent of this activity has lead to the species being considered locally as 'Critically Endangered' on some of the smaller Caribbean islands, for example, the Cayman Islands. The species is afforded little protection in the wild. Globally, the plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2014)[
C. America - Panama; Caribbean - Virgin Islands to Jamaica and Haiti.
Thickets and forests in coastal and limestone regions; at elevations up to 500 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
The plant flowers and produces fruit at irregular periods through the year, frequently producing quantities of fruit[
Although we have seen no specific information for this species, the fruits of most Cordia species are comprised of a thin to fairly thick layer of pulpy, sweetish-tasting flesh surrounding a single seed and are more or less edible[
], (though some are known to cause gastric disturbances).
The wood is used chiefly for posts[
The wood of most species in this genus is hard and, where the plants grow large enough, the wood is often harvested at least locally for use in construction etc and also for making charcoal[
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