- History and Culture
Protium obtusifolium locally known as Colophane bâtard is a canopy tree that can grow up to 20 meters in height. Its trunk has a diameter of approximately 75 centimeters. It has a pale pinkish-white to grey bark, exuding a clear sticky and turpentine-smelling resin. Its leaves are compounded with an odd number of leaflets. The latter are grouped at the furthest extremities of the branches. They are elliptical in shape, measuring 5 to 10 cm in length and 2.5 to 6 cm in length. Their colour is usually dark green, shiny and usually change to a dark red colour when they mature.
Protium obtusifolium can be found throughout various habitats in Mauritius, from dry forests, to intermediate and upland forests. When in inflorescence, the tree bears numerous flowers, which are grouped at the extremities of the leaflets. The fruit are small oval berries which turn yellow when they ripen.
Protium obtusifolium is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The tree has suffered from the historical deforestation and threats that have plagued the native forests: exploitation of wood, clearing of land for sugar cane cultivation and the impact of invasive alien species.
The leaves and bark of Colophane bâtard are known to help treat venereal diseases and urinary tract infections while the bark is used as a diuretic and to treat intestinal upsets.
 Atkinson, R., & Sevathian, J.-C. (2005). A guide to the plants in Mauritius. Vacoas: Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
 Rouillard, G., & Guého, J. (1999). Les plantes et leur histoire à l'Ile Maurice.
 Ameena, G.-F., Guého, J. & Seewraj-Bissoondoyal, M., 1997. The Medicinal Plants of Mauritius. International Journal of Pharmacognosy, 35(4), pp. 237-254