Characteristics of Clusia Tree (Clusia rosea) in the Wild

Clusia rosea
Clusia or Autograph Tree (Clusia rosea) is a tropical and sub-tropical plant species in the genus Clusia. This tree is often referred to as Clusia major, but that is wrong.

Clusia grows as a hemiepiphyte tree, that is, it grows as an epiphyte on rocks or other trees early in its life and resembles the strangulation fig tree (Ficus). Clusia rosea is a tree native to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Hispaniola, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Florida.

The clusia tree is cultivated as an ornamental plant, both for flowers, leaves, and fruit. It is grown in gardens as a fruit-producing and ornamental tree in sub-tropical climates and used as an ornamental plant in tropical climates.

In Sri Lanka, Hawaii, and many other tropical countries, the clusia tree is classified as an invasive species.

It was named the Autograph Tree because the thick leaves of the clusia were often scrawled with pointed objects for ancient people’s signatures, and the signature strokes lasted long until the leaves became old (years).

Clusia is also known as Mamey silvestre in Spain, Clusier or l’arbre autographe in France, and Balsamapfel in Germany.

 

Characteristics of Clusia Leaf

Clusia rosea Leaf
Source: flickr.com/Alka Khare

Wide ovoid leaves, 6-18 cm × 12 cm in size, rounded edges, thick, smooth edges, dark green on top, and lighter at the bottom.

 

Characteristics of Clusia Flower

Clusia rosea Flower
Source: flickr.com/Marjorie Barrett

Flowers 7-10 cm in diameter, 7 petals, and pink to white.

 

Characteristics of Clusia Fruit

Clusia rosea Fruit
Source: inaturalist.org/alexamvg

Round fruit, 9 cm in diameter, orange flesh (aril), this fruit is often eaten by birds.

 

Characteristics of Clusia Tree

Clusia rosea Tree
Source: flickr.com/Kyle Wicomb

Clusia is a tree that can grow to medium size, it can reach a height of 5-15 meters (rarely 20 m) in the wild. However, when planted in pots, they do not exceed 2 meters in height in the tropics and can only reach 5 cm in diameter in 50 years.

Due to the very slow growth of clusia in tropical climates, this tree was chosen as an ornamental tree for narrow yards and strategic places such as office yards and shopping centers.

Clusia is also suitable for planting in coastal areas, because of its tolerance to salt.

 

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