Gammalamme (Bursera simaruba) (L.) Sarg.
Common Names: Gum elemi, Gammalamme, Gumbo limbo, Tourist tree
Habit: Bursera simaruba ranges from a
bush to large trees over 15 meters in height. The trunk is a reddish
brown that peels off in thing layers. New growth is more greenish.
The leaves are compound ranging from 3 to 9 leaflets. They are
arranged alternately and the leaflet margins are entire.
The flowers appear in before new
leaves sprout during the spring in panicles. Plants are monoecious
with every individual producing both male and female flowers. The
male flower calyx and corolla is 5 lobed with 10 stamens. The female
flowers calyx and corolla is 3 lobed with 6 infertile stamens. The
fruit is a berry with three seeds.
Habitat: Bursera simaruba occurs in Dry
Broadleaf Evergreen Formations (Coppice) on both a limestone and sand
substrate. It is a common species throughout the islands. It is also
found in the Pine woodlands.
Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Bursera simaruba occurs on all
islands of the Bahamas as well as Florida, the Caribbean, and Central
and South America. In the Bahamas there is a related endemic species
(Bursera frennigae) that occurs in the southern islands.
Cultural usage: There are many cultural uses of
Bursera simaruba. Within the Bahamas it is used medicinally
to treat circulatory problems as well as in strengthening and
aphrodisiac teas. Throughout its range it is propagated as an
ornamental. Also in areas of Central and South America is used to
make living fence poles due to its ability to grow from cuttings of