Monday, 17 December 2012

Cratoxylum cochinchinense

Cratoxylum cochinchinense also known as the yellow cow wood is native to most of the South East Asia countries (including Singapore!). it is from the family Hypericaceae.

Having a crown that droops, it can be planted as a shrub or small tree. Its maximum height is 30m, but in Singapore it usually reaches a height of 10m or shorter.

Its opposite arrangement leaves possess fleshy to papery leaf blades that are oval. It is 3–13cm in length and 1–4.4 cm in width, with minute gland-dots. Its mature leaf blades are green above, and grey-green on the undersides. Its leaf blades are also deep purple when young, before turning pinkish-brown then green.

The trees faintly fragrant flowers are 1.3–2.5 cm wide, with deep crimson to pink or pinkish-yellow petals. They are usually found in pairs, on 5.1–15 cm-long flowering shoots occurring at branch tips known as panicle. The flowers are pollinated by insects, mostly bees.

Its brown fruits are oval, 8–13mm in length and 4–5mm in width. Its seeds are narrowly drop-shaped to oval, 6–8mm in length and 2–3mm in width. Each fruit contains many seeds.

The seeds are released when the ripe fruit splits. Fever can be treated by taking a decoction of bark and leaves. A decoction (extract flavor by boiling) of the roots is given to women as a post-labour tonic. Despite the durability of the wood being disputable, it is used for cabinets, construction, furniture, and inside fittings.

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