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Clusia rosea – Autograph tree
Pitch Apple, Florida Clusia, Balsam Apple, Wax Apple
Description: A tropical tree that stays green all year and is valuable for its beauty and many different uses. The leaves are shiny and dark green. They are thick and tough, with visible veins and a waxy feel. The tree makes small flowers that look like stars. The flowers can be white or pale pink. They bloom on and off all year. The fruit of Clusia rosea is round, juicy, and pinkish-red when ripe, and it has lots of small seeds inside. The tree’s bark is smooth and looks grayish-brown. It develops small cracks as it gets older. It useful as shade in gardens, provide food for wildlife. Moreover, its wood is used in crafts, and its latex has been utilized for traditional medicinal purposes.
Substitutions: Clusia minor (Small Clusia): Another member of the Clusia genus, Clusia minor bears resemblance to Clusia rosea in terms of leaf texture and growth habit. It is also cultivated for its ornamental value. Garcinia mangostana (Mangosteen): This species, while primarily cultivated for its edible fruit, also belongs to the Clusiaceae family and may share some visual or botanical traits with Clusia rosea.
Ecology: Clusia rosea thrives in tropical to subtropical climates and prefers well-drained soil with good organic content. It requires full to partial sun exposure and is tolerant of both drought and salt spray, making it suitable for coastal areas. Clusia rosea is adaptable to a variety of environmental conditions but performs best in warm temperatures and high humidity levels.
General distribution: Native to tropical regions of the Caribbean, including countries such as Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola. It has also been naturalized in other tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, including parts of Florida, Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.
Author of text and photos: Chanduni Bootawatta.
Photographed in Sembuwatta, Sri Lanka on 14/01/2023.