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Guettarda speciosa

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Guettarda speciosa, with common names sea randa,<ref name=GRIN>Template:GRIN</ref><ref name=trop/> or zebra wood,<ref name=GRIN/><ref name=trop/> is a species of shrub in the family Rubiaceae found in coastal habitats in tropical areas around the Pacific Ocean, including the coastline of central and northern Queensland and Northern Territory in Australia, and Pacific Islands, including Micronesia, French Polynesia and Fiji, Malaysia and Indonesia and the east coast of Africa. It reaches 6 m in height, has fragrant white flowers, and large green prominently-veined leaves. It grows in sand above the high tide mark.

Taxonomy and naming

Alternate names in the Cook Islands include 'Ano, Hano, Fano, and Puapua. The last is also used in Samoa, and the similar Puopua in Tonga.<ref name=Bishop>Template:Cite web</ref> It is known as Utilomar in the Marshall Islands.

It was originally described by Carl Linnaeus. The genus was named in honour of the 18th century French naturalist Jean-Étienne Guettard, while the specific epithet is derived from the Latin speciosus 'showy'.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

Description

It is a perennial shrub or small tree Template:Convert tall by Template:Convert wide with smooth creamy grey bark. The large oval-shaped leaves are Template:Convert long by Template:Convert wide. Dark green and smooth above with prominent paler veins, they are finely hairy underneath. Flowering is from October to May, the fragrant white flowers are Template:Convert long with 4–9 lobes. These are followed by sweet-smelling globular hard fruit, measuring Template:Convert, which mature September to March.<ref name=enc>Template:Cite book</ref><ref name=Brock>Template:Cite book</ref>

Distribution and habitat

Guettarda speciosa is found in coastal habitats in tropical areas around the Pacific Ocean, including the coastline of central and northern Queensland and Northern Territory in Australia, and Pacific Islands, including Micronesia, French Polynesia and Fiji, Malaysia and Indonesia and the east coast of Africa. As its name suggests, the beach gardenia grows on beaches and sandy places above the high tide level.<ref name=enc/>

Ecology

The Mariana Fruit Bat (Pteropus mariannus) feeds on the fruit and flowers, acting as a vector for the dispersal of seeds.

Human use

Use by indigenous cultures

The large leaves were used in various ways by the indigenous people of northern Australia; they could hold food, and when heated, they were given to relieve headaches and aches in limbs. The stems could be used to make Macassan pipes.<ref name=Lev81>Template:Cite book</ref> The flowers were used to scent coconut oil on the Cook Islands, and the wood for dwellings and canoes.<ref name=Bishop/>

Cultivation

A very useful plant for seaside planting in tropical climates, it needs a sunny aspect and well-drained soil. It has proven difficult to propagate, as this must be done by seed which may take months to germinate.<ref name=enc/>

References

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External links

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