Crossopetalum rhacoma

Crossopetalum rhacoma Crantz

Common Names: Wild Cherry, Poison Cherry

Family: Celestraceae

Habit: Crossopetalum rhacoma grows as a medium size shrub/tree to 8 meters in height (typically much shorter).  The trunk is thin (to 10 cm in diameter) with gray bark.  The leaves, which are arranged alternately, oppositely or whorled, are linear to lanceolate to obovate in shape, to 5 cm long with an emarginate or apiculate leaf apex and a crenulate or notched margin.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in few-flowered panicles in the leaf axils. The calyx has 2 unfused greenish sepals.  The corolla has 4 unfused greenish-red petals.  There are 4 stamens. The ovary has 4 locules. The flower structure changes over time with the ovary inferior during the early male stage becoming superior during the later female stage. The fruit is a red drupe at maturity.

Habitat: Crossopetalum rhacoma grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations –Forest/Woodlands/Shrublands/ Dwarf Shrublands as well as Pine Woodlands.

Distribution: Crossopetalum rhacoma occurs on all island groupings within the Lucayan Archipelago as well as south Florida, the Caribbean region, and Central America to northern South America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Crossopetalum rhacoma is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.