- History and Culture
Bertiera zaluzania is a low plant with upright growth and silky branches. Leaves have short petioles or stalks and are oblong and pointed in shape. It is penninerved; the midrib of the leaf has many lateral veins diverging from it and running parallel to one another, and is glabrous, without hairs, above, and silky underneath. Inflorescences are on peduncles or stalks and have hanging terminal branches with flowers that have no stalk at each fork. The fruit look like small blue berries in the shape of grapes, which when dry are the size of a pea.
This species is generally found in a humid environment and occasionally in intermediate forests. The plant is one of the undergrowth species of native vegetation. It is a source of food for wildlife. The flowers are pollinated by birds and flies. The fruit are dispersed by birds, but it is very rare to find seedlings in the wild.
Endemic to Mauritius and classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List, the plant is protected under forest restoration projects and in Conservation Management Areas (CMAs) of the National Park. The seeds are propagated for this purpose in nurseries before being reintroduced in the natural environment. The population is declining due to the loss of natural habitat and the progression of invasive alien species
The berries or fruit are blue and spherical in shape and hang in clusters like grapes, hence its vernacular name of Grape Wood.
The first sample of this plant was collected in 1792 by Philibert Commerson