Monday, 17 December 2012

Carallia brachiata ‘Honiara’

Carallia brachiata ‘Honiara’ or sometimes known as the, Freshwater mangrove and Billabong tree is native to the Solomon Islands. It belongs to the family Rhizophoraceae.

This evergreen tree with a wide spreading crown reaches a maximum Height of 20m.

The leaves are  5-15cm in length and 2-10 cm in width. Papery to thin leathery texture, the margin of the leaf is entire. There are scattered dark glands visible with a lens on the yellow green underside of the leaf blade, it’s not visible to the naked eye. The upper side of the leaf is dark green. Lateral veins form loops (often a double series of loops) inside the blade margin. 

The billabong tree flowers are about 3-4mm long. Stalkless or very shortly stalked, each flower is enclosed by two small bracts. Petals are white, pale greenish, creamy green, or yellow with red or green base. Stamens are twice the number of petals.

Fruits are round, about 8-9 mm in diameter, turning from pink to red when ripe. Each fruit contains one seed, and it is in a shape of a kidney that measures less than 1mm in diameter. 

The wood is suitable for many users, from building houses to musical instruments. Due to its high energy value, the wood yields good-quality fuel wood and charcoal. The fruits can be eaten and the leaves and bark are used in local medicine to treat septic poisoning and itch. The tree is also planted for aesthetic purposes, particularly for its narrow columnar habit and pendulous branches.

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