Erythroxylum areolatum

Erythroxylum areolatum L.

Common Names: Swamp Redwood (Erythroxylum areolatum), False Cocaine, Smoke Wood

Family: Erythroxylaceae

Habit: Erythroxylum areolatum grows as a shrub or small tree to 10 meters in height and a trunk to 25 cm in diameter.  The leaves are arranged alternately, are elliptical, to 15 cm in length and 5 cm in width.  The abaxial side of the leaf shows two faint lines running parallel to the mid vein. The lines are caused by differences in the areole size between the inner and outer portions of the leaf. The leaf margin is entire and the apex is acute.  There are two stipules at the base of the petiole.

Erythroxylum areolatum is monoecious. The incomplete, imperfect, actinomorphic flowers appear to be on the stems but actually arise from the axils above leaf scars.  The calyx has 5 unfused green sepals.  The corolla has 5 white unfused petals with nectaries at their base.  There are 10 stamens.  In the staminate flowers there is no functional ovary.  In carpellate flowers there are no functional stamens, and the superior ovary has 1 locule. The fruit is a red drupe at maturity.

Habitat: Erythroxylum areolatum grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation Forest/Shrublands (coppice), Pine Woodlands and the edges of Fresh Water Wetlands.

Distribution: Erythroxylum areolatum occurs in the central and northern island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago, as well as the Caribbean region and Central America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Erythroxylum areolatum is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.  The wood produces a large volume of smoke when burned and has been used to repel mosquitoes.