- History and Culture
S. mauritianum is a small tree or shrub that can grow up to 10 meters tall, and has a greyish brown cracked trunk, with rounded stems. The leaves of the plant are clustered at the apex of the branches, are sessile, with short, thick petioles, they are broadly ovate, elliptical, obtuse at the tip, and twisted at the base. The leaves has leathery appearances, and its colour looks dark green above, and greyish green from below. Its Inflorescence is in clusters or thyrsos, and are pink in colour, with yellowish discs. It produces berries that have a three dimensional shape and are red-purple in colour.
This endemic species of Mauritius grows both in the intermediate forest and the upland forest. The flowers are borne directly on the trunk (cauliflower) and are pollinated by birds, geckos and flies. The fruits are scattered by birds; however, it is rare to find seedlings in the wild.
Apple wood is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. The plant is protected under the forest restoration project and in the Conservation Management Areas (CMAs) of the National Park. Its population is declining due to habitat loss and the invasion of exotic species.
The first sample was collected in 1937 by Reginald Edward Vaughan, Curator of the Mauritius Herbarium, and the species took the name of its country of origin, Mauritius, hence the name mauritianum.