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Guaiacum officinale

SynonymsGuajacum officinale L.
Common namesgayak, gayak fran, frazostrae, pokhout, guaiacum, lignum-vitae tree, arbre de vie, bois saint, gaïac, gaïac bâtard, gaïac franc, gaïac mâle, gaïac officnale, Franzosenholz, Guajakholz, guajaco, legno guajacano, legno santo, guyaiaco, bakaut, guayacan, guayaco, leno santo, palo santo, pano santo de las Indias, fransosenholts, common lignum-vitae (Trade name)
Ecocrop code6558

DESCRIPTION: It is a slow-growing broadleaf, evergreen tree or shrub reaching 3-12 m in height. Stem is generally crooked wood intensely hard, the branches knotty and bark deeply furrowed. The dense crown of close-growing foliage gives the tree a rounded, compact, net appearance. Each leaf is composed of 2 or 3 pairs of smooth, stalkless leaflets arranged on a slender mid-rib. The leaflets are 6-13 cm in length. Beautiful blue flowers grow in great profusion and almost cover the tree and remain for a long time. As the older blooms fade from deep blue to paler shades, some becoming almost white, a striking variegation of colour is produced. USE: The great strength and tenacity of the timber, combined with the self-lubricating properties due to the resin content, make this wood especially adapted for bearing underwater. The most important use for it is for bearing lining the stern tubes of propeller shafts. Resin obtained from the wood and bark is used in powder, pill and tincture. Apothecaries use shavings and raspings of the wood for medicinal purposes, in the same way the bark is employed for medicine. Resin is applied to the tooth for a toothache, and applied externally for rheumatism. For gout, blood pressure and arteriosclerosis resin is taken orally. It is distinctly ornamental on a lawn. GROWING PERIOD: Perennial. COMMON NAMES: Lignum-vitae tree. FURTHER INF: The tree is native of the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. It has been introduced into India and Ghana. It also grows in the arid plains stretching form the Florida Keys of USA to Venezuela. It can be found in lowland dry forest, woodland, and thicket. It frequently grows in coastal areas.
SOURCE: ICRAF Agroforestree Database (22.07.02) E6558