Conocarpus erectus L.
Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished.
- Folk Medicine
- Yields and Economics
- Biotic Factors
The heavy wood (sp. grav. 1-0) is durable and takes a fine polish. Durable in
water, it is used for barges, boats, and maritime construction. Though
suceptible to dry-wood termites, it is also used for crossties, fences, and
turnery. Describing it as keeping well underground and in salt water, Irvine
(1961) notes it is used for piling and firewood. Bark has been used for
tanning leather. Sometimes introduced as an ornamental evergreen.
Reported to be astringent, styptic, and tonic, button mangrove is a folk remedy
for anemia, catarrh, conjunctivitis, diabetes, diarrhea, fever, gonorrhea,
headache, hemorrhage, orchitis, pricklyheat, swellings, and syphilis (Duke and
Wain, 1981; Irvine, 1961; Morton, 1981). The leaves are eaten, or their
decoction drunk, for fever (Irvine, 1961).
Bark contains 16-18% tannin.
Evergreen tree to 6 m tall, 20 cm in diameter, with spreading crown. Bark gray
or brown, becoming rough, furrowed, thick; inner bark light brown. Leaves
alternate, lanceolate, or ellipticaL, 3-8 cm long, 1.5-3 cm broad, leathery and
slightly fleshy, long-pointed at both ends, not entire, yellow-green on both
surfaces, usually with several gland-dots near vein angles on lower surface.
Petiole 3-10 mm long, slightly broad and winged with 2 gland-dots. Flower
clusters mostly 3-8 cm long at end of twigs and in leaf axils, of several small
heads, about 5 mm in diameter on slender stalks. Flowers many in each ball, 2
mm long, mostly bisexual. Bisexual flowers have hairy, grayish, 2-winged
tubular base, cuplike green calyx with 5 lobes, 5-10 protruding stamens, and
inferior ovary with slender style. Male flowers lack tubular base and pistil
but have longer stamens. Multiple fruits rounded, 10-12 mm in diameter,
purplish-brown. Drupes many, scalelike, dry, 3 mm long, 2-winged (Little,
Reported from the African and Middle and South American Centers of Diversity,
button mangrove, or cvs thereof, is reported to tolerate diseases, insects
light frosts, pests, salt, and waterlogging (NAS, 1980a; Little,
1983).(2n = 24)
Bermuda and Bahamas through West Indies to central Florida. From northern
Mexico southward on Atlantic Coast to Brazil and on Pacific Coast to Ecuador
including Galapagos and northwestern Peru. Western tropical Africa from
Senegal to Zaire. Not widely introduced (Little, 1983).
Estimated to range from Tropical Dry to Rain through Subtropical Dry to Rain
Forest Life Zones, button mangrove is reported to tolerate annual precipitation
of 8.7 to 21.5 dm (mean of 2 cases = 15.1), annual temperature of 25.8 to
26.0°C (mean of 2 cases = 25.9), and estimated pH of 6 to 8.5. It can
surely tolerate much higher annual precipitation and annual temperature down to
17deg.C (without heavy frost). Usually in brackish or saline silts of
depositing shores, marshes, and stream banks.
According to the NAS (1980a), planting is usually not needed because natural
regeneration is so successful. In Avicennia and Rhizophora direct seeding
results in ca 90% survival. The plants can be grown on dry land away from
seashores. They can be propagated from cuttings as living fenceposts (Little,
No data available.
Good mangrove stand can show annual productivity of 10-20(-25) MT/ha/yr, but
for firewood purposes, I would reduce that to 10-20 (-25) m3 /ha/yr,
figuring that at optimal, rather than average. Because of the heaviness of the
wood, a cubic meter of mangrove is generally more valuable than other species.
Litterfall may account for 1/3-1/2 of aboveground productivity.
The wood "has high calorific value as fuel but is most widely used for
high-grade charcoal (Morton, 1981). Little (1983) says it makes a good
slow-burning fuel and charcoal.
Suceptible to attack by dry-wood termites (Little, 1983).
Complete list of references for Duke, Handbook of Energy Crops
Duke, J.A. and Wain, K.K. 1981. Medicinal plants of the world. Computer index
with more than 85,000 entries. 3 vols.
Irvine, F.R. 1961. Woody plants of Ghana. Oxford University Press, London.
Little, E.L. Jr. 1983. Common fuelwood crops: a handbook for their
identification. McClain Printing Co., Parsons, WV.
Morton, J.F. 1981. Atlas of medicinal plants of middle America. Bahamas to
Yucatan. C.C. Thomas, Springfield, IL.
N.A.S. 1980a. Firewood crops. Shrub and tree species for energy production.
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
last update July 8, 1996