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Cabbage Bark is a tropical American timber tree which grows to as much as 100 feet tall and has a straight trunk with or without buttresses. The outer bark is dark gray to brown, fissured, scaly and with an unpleasant cabbage-like odor; the inner bark a pinkish brown. Consequently, the crown is dense, columnar or pyramidal to spreading, with young twigs that are brown and downy. While, leaves are alternate, pinnate, entire, bright tan when young, shiny green when mature, and 6-20 inches long. And, flowers are borne in terminal groups 7-24 inches long, made up of small pink to purple, aromatic blooms, attracting bees, butterflies and birds. Fruit is a hard, leathery, oval capsule, 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches long, containing a fleshy pulp and a single seed. Bats and rodents feed on the fruit and disperse the seeds.
For propagation the seeds are sown directly into the soil. Cabbage bark timber is strong, hard and heavy and is used in parquet flooring, cabinetry, etc. However, bark and seeds are reported to be poisonous, but also they also have medicinal uses. In its native area, is used for erosion control, windbreaks and as shade in coffee plantations. As an ornamental it is suited to parks, yards and street sides for its foliage and flowers.