Catesbaea spinosa

Catesbaea spinosa L.

Common Names: Prickly Apple, Spanish Guava

Family: Rubiaceae

Habit: Catesbaea spinosa grows as a slender many branched shrub to small tree up to four meters in height. The bark is grayish in color and develops horizontal fissures with age. The leaves are opposite, to two cm long. The leaves are elliptic in shape with an entire leaf margin and acute leaf apex. Between the opposite leaves, there is an interpetiolar stipule that is a thorn to 3 cm in length.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic, solitary flowers occur in leaf axils. The calyx and corolla are fused at their base into a hypanthium.  The calyx is 4 lobed, cylindrical, 15 cm in length, and yellowish white. salverform in shape, and produces an extended tube that is five or more centimeters long with four elongated lobes. There are four stamens fused to the top of the hypanthium.  The ovary is inferior. The fruit is an orange berry with numerous seeds.

Habitat: Catesbaea spinosa grows on a solid limestone substrate in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations (coppice).

Distribution: Catesbaea spinosa occurs within the central islands Lucayan Archipelago as well as Cuba.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Catesbaea spinosa is not used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

Catesbaea spinosa was introduced as an ornamental from the Bahamas to European gardens by Mark Catesby in 1726 when he returned to England with fruits. It is now used around the world as an ornamental due to it’s showy flowers and bright orange fruits.