- History and Culture
This is a small monoecious tree that can reach 8 m high, with a smooth trunk. The alternate leaves of Molinea alternifolia are composed of 6 to 8 leaflets. The small flowers are pinkish white, unisexual. The seeds contained in the capsules are black and shiny, they are wrapped in the lower half, of a white waxy substance.
The plant grows in intermediate and upland forests. This species is part of the undergrowth and canopy vegetation of the native forest. The flowers are pollinated by birds and geckos. Plants produce many seeds that are dispersed by birds, and seedlings can be seen in the wild.
Endemic to the Mascarenes, it is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. Seeds and seedlings are easily propagated in nurseries, they are used for forest restoration and landscaping projects. The population is declining due to habitat loss and the invasion of exotic species.
The vernacular name is derived from a Malagasy word related to the shape of the fruit that resembles the point of arrows called "sagaie" in Madagascar, it was used in the past by hunters.
The first sample of the plant was collected in 1791 by Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier Lamarck, French botanist.