Rauvolifa nitida

Rauvolfia nitida Jacq.

Synonym: Rauvolifa tetraphylla

Common Names: Smooth Rauvolfia, Bitter Bush, Milk Bush

Family: Apocynaceae

HabitRauvolfia nitida grows as a medium to large size tree up to 15 meters in height.  The truck, which can be up to 1 meter in diameter, is gray, and produces white latex. The leaves are arranged oppositely or in whorls of up to 7 leaves. The leaves are to 20 cm long and 7 cm wide, with an acuminate leaf apex and entire margin.

The complete, perfect, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in panicles that occur in the axils of leaves. The calyx has 5 fused greenish sepals. The corolla has 5 white fused petals forming a tube.  At the mouth of the corolla tube is a ring of hairs.  Below the ring of hairs inside the tube are 5 stamens fused to the corolla.  The superior ovary, which has 2 locules, is a drupe or a few- seeded berry, and turns dark red to black at maturity.

HabitatRauvolfia nitida  grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forest (coppice) on a limestone substrate.

DistributionRauvolfia nitida occurs on the northern island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago as well as in the Greater Antilles.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usageRauvolfia nitida is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.