False Cocaine

Erythroxylum areolatum
Common Names: Redwood Swamp Redwood, False Cocaine, Smokewood

Family: Erythroxylaceae

Habit Erythroxylum areolatum grows as a shrub or small tree to 10 meters in height and a trunk to 25 cm in diameter. The leaves are arranged alternately, are elliptical, to 15 cm in length and 5 cm in width. The abaxial side of the leaf shows two faint lines running parallel to the mid vein. The lines are caused by differences in the areole size between the inner and outer portions of the leaf. The leaf margin is entire and the apex is acute. There are two stipules at the base of the petiole.

The monoecious actinomorphic flowers appear to be on the stems but actually arise from the axils above leaf scars. The calyx has 5 unfused green sepals. The corolla has 5 white unfused petals with nectaries at their base. There are 10 stamens. In the staminate flowers there is no functional ovary. In carpellate flowers there are no functional stamens, and the ovary, which is superior with 1 locule, becomes a red drupe at maturity.

Habitat: Erythroxylum areolatum grows in Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formation Forest/Shrublands (coppice), Pine Woodlands and the edges of freshwater wetlands.

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Erythroxylum areolatum occurs in the central and northern island groupings of the Bahamian Archipelago, as well as the Caribbean region and Central America.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Erythroxylum areolatum has no known medicinal uses in the Bahamas. The wood produces a large volume of smoke when burned and has been used to repel mosquitoes.