Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Berchemia zeyheri
(Sond.) Grubov, Rhamnaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  no

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  Low risk, score: -2 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Rhamnus zeyheri Sond.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: pau-rosa, pink ivory, red ivory, red ivorywood

Habit:  tree

Description:  "This is a deciduous tree with a spreading crown and varies in height from under 20 ft (6.1 m to over 50 ft (15.2 m). The boles are usually 7-9 in. (178-229 mm) in quarter girth. The flowers are small and greenish-yellow in color. The fruits are small black berries, very similar in appearance to those of the buckthorns." (Managed Timber Resources web site)

Habitat/ecology:  "It seems to prefer a warm-temperate to sub-tropical climate and can tolerate mild to moderate frost (according to different authors) and is drought hardy. It is reportedly difficult to get it to coppice. Seedlings are reported to establish slowly but then grow rapidly." (David C Le Maitre, Environmentek CSIR, South Africa— response to query on Aliens listserver). "It is slow growing and occurs in fairly dry habitats. It is not one of our bush encroachment species, i.e. trees that invade natural grasslands. Its rate of reproduction is relatively low. The small red fruits are much loved by people and birds." (Richard Boon, Durban, South Africa—response to query on Aliens listserver).

Propagation:  Seed (bird-dispersed fruits), possibly also dispersed by pigs, rats or other animals. "The fruits are palatable and edible and dispersed by a wide range of birds and non-flying mammals (possibly also bats). Warning signs to me are its wide range which implies adaptability (or that there might be ecotypic differences) and the potentially long-range dispersal. (David C Le Maitre, Environmentek CSIR, South Africa—response to query on Aliens listserver).

Native range:  Southern Africa (Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa with a scattering in other parts of southern Africa)

Comments:  This species has very valuable wood and may be introduced for this purpose (it was recently proposed for planting in Hawai‘i). Given the possibility of bird and animal dispersal, it should be thoroughly evaluated before introduction.


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This page was created on 19 AUG 2001 and was last updated on 2 JUL 2017.