Lanceleaf Buttonwood
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Lanceleaf Buttonwood
E Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Lanceleaf Buttonwood, Damas tree
Botanical name: Conocarpus lancifolius    Family: Combretaceae (Rangoon creeper family)
Synonyms: Anogeissus latifolia (Roxb.) Bedd., Conocarpus niloticus Delile ex Steud.

Lanceleaf Buttonwood is an evergreen tree, usually growing 10-20 m tall. The bole can be up to 90 cm in diameter. Leaves are smooth and shiny, to 10 cm long, lanceshaped, narrowing towards the base, in dense spirals. Flowers are yellow-green, in round heads on branched stalks, slightly fragrant. Fruits are dry, round, greenish heads, cone like, containing tiny, scale-like hard seeds. The tree's wood is dense and suitable for charcoal. Goats use the young trees and shoots as fodder, although the leaves contain tannin. A drought-resistant species, Lanceleaf Buttonwood is one of the more promising trees for dry areas. Lanceleaf Buttonwood is found throughout the Horn of Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and South Asia.
Medicinal uses: A gum obtained from the tree is used to treat chest and bowel complaints.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Bangalore outskirts, Karnataka.

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