Pain-in-back

Trema lamarckianum
Common Names: Pain-in-Back

Family: Celtidaceae

Habit: Trema lamarckianum grows as a large shrub to small tree up to 9 meters in height, typically to 3 meters. The leaves are arranged alternately to 7 cm in length, ovate with an acute leaf apex, serrate margin and 3 prominent mid-veins. The leaf surface is covered in stiff hairs giving it a rough texture.

The monoecious and hermaphroditic, actinomorphic flowers are arranged in clusters at leaf axils. The calyx has 5 unfused greenish, hirsute sepals. There is no corolla. Staminate flowers have five stamens and a nonfunctional ovary. The perfect flowers have 5 stamens and a superior ovary with a single locule and seed. The fruit is a pink drupe at maturity.

Habitat: Trema lamarckianum grows in disturbed areas such as roadsides, construction areas, and abandoned fields. It may also grow along the edges and occasionally the interior of Dry Broadleaf Evergreen Formations – Forests/Woodlands/Shrublands (coppice).

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Trema lamarckianum occurs on all island groupings within the Bahamian Archipelago as well as Florida and the entire Caribbean region.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Trema lamarckianum has been reported for use in strengthening and aphrodisiac teas on Exuma and Long Island.