- History and Culture
G. borbonica is an endemic tree that forms part of the Chrysobalanaceae family, commonly known as Bois balai, Faux buis or Bois buisis. It is a small tree that can reach 8m in height. It has small, simple, alternate leaves that have a wavy margin, are dull green in colour and are closely packed on the branches. The tree’s inflorescence occurs in clusters of 15 to 30 small white flowers and can typically be seen from December to February and also in July. Young plants are recognized by the hair on the twigs, petioles and midrib of the leaves. It bears drupe-like fruit, red in colour with a single seed.
G. borbonica is found in sub-humid and upland wet forests. It usually grows under the forest canopy, but in some areas, it grows into trees. Endemic birds build their nests on this tree because of the density of the foliage.
G. borbonica is considered ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red Data list. This species is endemic to Mauritius and Reunion Island and is found mostly in the upland forest. In the wild this species blooms abundantly and bears a lot of fruit. Numerous seedlings can be found under the tree, as the seeds germinate easily. This species is used in forest restoration projects and in landscaping.
Rachel Atkinson and Jean-Claude Sevathian, A guide to the plants in Mauritius, (Mauritius: Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, 2005), 80
Guy Rouillard and Joseph Guého, Les plantes et leur histoire à l’Ile Maurice