Plant Listings

Ocotea coriacea

Ocotea coriacea (Sw.) Griseb.

Formerly: Nectandra coriacea

Common Names: Lancewood, Bastard Torch, Black Torch, Sweet Torchwood

Family: Lauraceae

Habit: Ocotea coriacea grows as a tree up to 12 m in height with a trunk to 50 cm in diameter.  The leaves are arranged alternately with petioles and midribs that are yellowish and the petioles have a distinct hook shape.  The leaves are lanceolate, to 15 in length with an entire margin and an acute leaf apex.

The actinomorphic flowers are arranged in panicles.  The calyx has 3 white, pubescent, unfused sepals.  The corolla has 3 white, pubescent, unfused petals. There are 9 stamens, the 3 center ones have glands below the anthers.  Interspersed among the stamens are 3 additional glands.  The superior ovary has a single locule and 1 seed.  The fruit is a drupe that turns black at maturity.

Habitat: Ocotea coriacea grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations- Forest/Shrubland (coppice) on limestone substrates.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Ocotea coriacea occurs on all island groups within the Bahamian Archipelago as well as south Florida, the entire Caribbean region and Central America

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Ocotea coriacea is not used medicinally in the Bahamas.

Ocotea coriacea has a large volume of oil in the wood and branches have been used as a light source thus the common name Torchwood.