- History and Culture
Syzygium contractum is a large shrub that can grow up to 10 meters tall. This plant has a pinkish brown bark, and branches that spread laterally and gradually divide. The thick leaves are obtuse or pointed at the end and sometimes revolute (rolled outwards) at the base. They are dark green on the above surface and greyish green below. The inflorescence is terminal (at the top of the branches) and persistent. It has small pinkish grouped flowers, that are inserted in its apical part. The fruits are dark blue spherical berries when they are ripe.
This endemic species of Mauritius is found in both intermediate and upland forests generally among dense native vegetation. This species has a small canopy structure. The plant produces terminal flowers which are pollinated by birds and geckos. The fruit are eaten by birds and fruit bats and the seeds are dispersed by the same.
The species is ranked 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List. It 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 flower has a very delicate feel when it is touched, from which comes the name contractum, which means "carnal touch".
The first sample of this plant was collected by Jean Louis Poiret in 1813.