- History and Culture
Aphloia theiformis is a tree that can grow up to 15 meters tall. It is distinguished by its brownish peeling bark. Young branches are hairless, brown and are striped. The tree bears stacks of shiny dark green, elliptical leaves which have saw-toothed red margins and pale netted veins. It has axillary inflorescences bearing 1 to 5 medium-sized hermaphroditic white flowers. The tree blooms throughout the year and bears small white globose berries.
This indigenous species of Mascarene grows in intermediate forest and higher altitude among dense vegetation. Some isolated individuals, however, exist on open ground. With a high germination rate the natural regeneration is good ensuring the stability of the species. It is a pioneering species that can help support ecological rehabilitation efforts. Endemic birds, such as Pink Pigeon, feed on young leaves and mature fruit.
The species is listed as ‘Least Concern’ in the IUCN list of species. The seeds of this species are easily propagated in nurseries and it is used in forest restoration projects and in landscaping.
The name of the species "theiformis" is due to the shape of its leaf that resembles the tea leaf.
The plant is used to treat fever, pain, malaria and inflammation. It also has diuretic properties. During epidemy of malaria, tea infusions were used as a preventive measure