Haematoxylon campechianum L.

  • Authority

    Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.

  • Family


  • Scientific Name

    Haematoxylon campechianum L.

  • Description

    Species Description - The hard, red wood of this small tree yields the dye haematoxyline, more important formerly than since the manufacture of artificial dyes. It is widely distributed nearly throughout the West Indies, and grows also in Yucatan and Central America; in Porto Rico it is restricted to the dry southern and southwestern dlstricts. Haematoxylon (Greek, blood-wood), is a Linnaean genus, based upon the species here illustrated; another exists in Mexico, ranging south to Nicaragua, and a third, perhaps not distinct, grows in northern South America. All are small trees, thorny or unarmed, with evenly pinnately compound leaves, the small leaflets mostly inversely heart-shaped, and long, axillary clusters of small, yellow, stalked flowers. The calyx has a very short tube and 5, somewhat unequal, overlapping segments; there are 5, oblong, spreading, somewhat unequal petals; and 10, separate stamens with filaments long-hairy at the base; the pistil has a short-stalked ovary containing 2 or 3 ovules, and a very slender style topped by a small stigma. The fruit is narrow, flat, nearly membranous, peculiarly splitting longitudinally along the middle of the valves. Haematoxylon campechianum (from Campeche) reaches a maximum height of about 8 meters, but is usually smaller and sometimes shrubby. Its trunk and larger spreading branches are characteristically ridged, the smooth bark light gray, the slender twigs smooth, the thorns from 5 to 15 millimeters long, The leaves are stalked, smooth, and from 5 to 10 centimeters long, with 2 to 4 pairs of rather thin, finely many-veined, obovate leaflets from 1 to 3 centimeters long, notched at the top, wedge-shaped at the base, the upper surface shining. The slender flower-clusters are short-stalked, from 2 to 5 centimeters long; the fragrant flowers are borne on very slender stalks 4 to 6 millimeters long; the rather narrow petals are from 5 to 7 millimeters long, and about as long as the stamens. The oblong pods are delicately veined, from 2 to 5 centimeters long, from 8 to 12 centimeters wide, very thin, often pointed at both ends. The flowers produce much nectar, and logwood honey is highly prized.

  • Discussion

    Logwood Campeche Senna Family Haematoxylon campechianum Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 384. 1753.