- History and Culture
H. integrifolia is a small tree measuring up to 15 meters in height, endemic to the Mascarenes. Its old twigs can become smooth and rounded, showing prominent leaf scars. Leaf stalks are red with prominent ribs. The leaves themselves are simple, oval-shaped and grouped at the top of the twigs in helices. The tree bears capsule shaped fruit which hold dark brown shiny seeds.
This endemic species grows from intermediate forest to humid forest and usually at high altitude. It is commonly found in the wild and grows frequently among native canopy trees. The seeds germinate easily in the wild but very often are damaged by the presence of feral pigs which turnover the soil. The population size is declining due to native habitat loss and the invasion of exotic species.
The bois pigeon is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The seeds are easily propagated in a nursery and it is largely used in forest restoration and could be a species used in landscape design.
A stem bark infusion is believed to help treat high blood pressure and improve circulation. The bark is also infused in rum as a tonic before intense physical effort.
Observations indicate that Pink pigeons feed on young leaves and the fruit of the plant, hence its common name.