Monographs Details: Cordia nitida Vahl
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - The round, red, cherry-like fruits of this tree give it both Spanish and English popular names; Muñeca is another Spanish one, and Manjack an English. The fruits are often produced abundantly, making it conspicuous, and they are a favorite fruit of wild doves. The tree inhabits all the Greater Antilles, and ranges eastward through the Virgin Islands, to Tortola; in Porto Rico it grows in woodlands, forests, arroyos and on hillsides, in moist, and relatively dry districts, at lower and middle elevations, ascending to about 500 meters elevation, and occurs also on Vieques Island, it is also called Cereza cimarrona.
Cordia is a Linnaean genus, the name commemorating Valerin Cordus, a German physician and botanist, who lived from 1515 to 1544. There are some 50 species of trees and shrubs, all tropical in distribution. They have alternate, broad, stalked leaves, and small, 5-parted, mostly white flowers, in broad clusters. The calyx has from 3 to 5, short teeth; the salverform, or nearly rotate corolla has a short tube, and the stamens are usually 5; the 4-celled ovary has 1 or 2 ovules in each cavity and the style is 2-cleft. The small, fleshy, stone-fruits are globose.
Cordia nitida (shining, referring to the leaves), may reach 20 meters in height, with a trunk over 0.6 meter in diameter, but is usually much smaller. The slender twigs are finely hairy. The smooth, rather thin, untoothed leaves, often fallen at flowering time, are elliptic to obovate, pointed, or blunt, from 4 to 14 centimeters long, with slender stalks, from 6 to 15 millimeters long, the upper surface shining. The flowers are numerous, in stalked clusters sometimes 10 centimeters broad, the individual ones on short-hairy stalks 3 millimeters long, or shorter; the calyx is nearly globular in bud, becoming about 4 millimeters long; the white corolla is 10 or 12 millimeters broad. The globular, bright red, viscid fruits are about 8 millimeters in diameter.
There are 5 other species of Cordia in the Porto Rico Flora; of these, Cordia sulcata is illustrated in this work.
West Indian Cherry
Cordia nitida Vahl; West, Bidrag til Bese[k]rivelse over St. Croix 275. 1793.