Colubrina arborescens

Colubrina arborescens (Mill.) Sarg.

Common Names: Common Snake Bark, Bitters, Soap Bush

Family: Rhamnaceae

Habit: Colubrina arborescens grows as a large shrub to small tree up to 10 m in height with stems and young leaves densely brown pubescent. The leaves are arranged oppositely, to 10 cm in length, ovate to elliptic with an acute/obtuse leaf apex and an entire leaf margin. The abaxial leaf surface is pubescent.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in axillary pubescent cymes. The calyx has 5 unfused, brown pubescent sepals.  There are 5 off white, unfused petals. There are 5 stamens alternate with the petals.  The ovary is superior with 3 locules. Around the base of the ovary is a nectary disc.  The fruit is a capsule that is dark brown at maturity.

Habitat: Colubrina arborescens grows in coastal sand substrate Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forest/Shrublands (coppice, scrublands), and Dunes.

Distribution: Colubrina arborescens occurs on north and central island groupings in the Lucayan Archipelago, the Caribbean, Central and northwestern South America, Florida.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Colubrina arborescens has been used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago in obstetric situations.