Botanical name: Guazuma ulmifolia Family: Sterculiaceae (Cacao family)
Synonyms: Theobroma guazuma, Guazuma tomentosa
West Indian Elm is a medium-sized tree, usually branched from the base. Leaves are alternate, in flat plane along long branches, upperside dark green, underside light green-blue. Leaf base is prominently asymmetric, and leaves have a rough feel. There are three main leaf veins arising together from the leaf base, a characteristic of this family as well as several related families. The tree produces small, whitish-cream flowers during the dry season. These develop into odd, woody fruits which look similar to the true Rudraksh, used as beads in rudraaksh maala worn by sadhus. But the fruits have a cherry flavor if chewed. West Indian Elm is found in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. It has been cultivated in India for over 100 years.
Identification credit: Prashant Awale
The flower labeled West Indian Elm is ...