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[
Hernandezia sonora (L.) Hoffmanns.
Hernandia ovigera L.
Hernandia peltata Sessé & Moç.
Common Name: Jack In A Box
Jack in a box is a fairly fast-growing, handsome, evergreen tree with an open, irregular crown and showy panicles of flowers[
]. It grows up to 20 metres tall[
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[
Caribbean - Barbados; Cuba; Guadeloupe; Montserrat; Puerto Rico; St. Vincent and Grenadines.
]. Wet and semideciduous forests[
]. Frequently found along river banks and in very wet places in lowland areas, it grows at elevations from sea level to 500 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of lowland tropical climates[
Prefers a rich, humid, moisture-retentive soil and a position in full sun[
]. Well suited to coastal gardens in the tropics, tolerating maritime exposure[
]. Established plants are moderately drought tolerant[
The bark, seeds and leaves are used as a purge[
A preparation of the roots is used as an antidote to fish poisoning[
The plant has been suggested as a shade tree for Cacao plantations[
The juice from the leaves is depilatory, destroying hair without pain[
The oily seeds can be burnt as candles, though they produce a great deal of smoke[
When the wood dries, it is greyish white with faint olive-coloured streaks; it does not have a characteristic odour or taste[
]. The soft sapwood and the heartwood are barely distinguishable[
]. The wood is very light, not very durable, has a straight hilum, thick texture, low shine, and soft grain[
]. Wood resists cracking by screws and is easy to work with sharp tools, but saws produce a floccose finish[
]. Although very soft, it is used to some extent for building purposes[
]. It is used for interior finishes, general carpentry, fillers for plywood, boxes and crates, baskets, scaffolds, chips for briquettes, pulp, and paper[
]. It can also be used as a substitute for heavier grades of balsa wood[
Cuttings of mature wood[
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