- History and Culture
Xylopia richardii locally known as Bois Blanc is a small native tree that can reach up to 6 meters in height. The white trunk has long stripes and the reddish-brown branches are robust and appear crowded. The green leaves are simple, alternate, oblong and shiny and they are distinguished by a yellow midrib. The golden flowers are solitary on the axils of the leaves with a conical form that resembles an octopus as it opens.
The largest population is found mainly in the South West of Mauritius where it flourishes in the heath, upland wet forest and intermediate forest. In forest ecology this species is considered a nomad plant that germinates in daylight but thrives in shaded areas.
This species is recorded as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Although seeds can be collected to be grown in nurseries for ecological restoration, natural regeneration appears to be poor. It is used in forest restoration projects.