- History and Culture
D. boutoniana is one of the12 species of ebony trees that are endemic to Mauritius. The tree has a straight trunk with black bark and can reach up to 10 meters high. D. boutoniana has simple, alternate leaves as well as translucent leaf veins and white margins. The small flowers are white and fragrant, and the fruit are acorn-like in appearance.
D. boutoniana can be found in the intermediate and humid forests. The ebony seeds are dispersed by birds and fruit bats, but it is very hard to find a new seedlings in the wild due to the loss of native habitat by invasive exotic alien species.
D. boutoniana is considered ‘Endangered’ in the IUCN Red Data List. This species can be used for forest restoration projects. It can also be a food source for fruit bats if the species is propagated and replanted in the wild.
It has the largest fruit of the ebony species found on Mauritius. It is easy to confuse the black ebony (D. tesselaria) and this species as the trunk is the same colour but its leaves are much bigger than that of the black ebony.