- History and Culture
The Bois de Ronde encompasses several species of Erythroxylum, some of which are endemic to Mauritius and others endemic to both Mauritius and Reunion. This is the case for E. laurifolium and E. sideroxyloides. E. laurifolium is a shrub reaching up to 4 meters height with slender twigs and simple, alternate elliptical leaves which are deep green on the upper side and light green on the lower surface. Both species have white star-shaped flowers and red fruit resembling small chilies, and are distinguished by their red leaf stalks.
E. laurifolium and E. sideroxyloides are found in the low altitude forests of Mauritius.
Both species are found in the protected areas of Mauritius. E. sideroxyloides is considered ‘Least Concern’ while E. laurifolium is considered an ‘Endangered species’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Various species of Bois de ronde have been used as medicinal plants, as a diuretic and for renal stones, and is also known to have been used as an antispasmodic and to treat fevers and sore throats.