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The West Indian Nettle Tree,Trema lamarckiana, is a species of a plant in the Ulmaceae family belonging to a genus of Treme Lour. It is a small evergreen shrub that is native of Florida and West India. It has several common names such as pain-in-back, cabrilla and Lamarck trema. It is 6 m tall growing all year.[1][2][3]


The native regions where Trema lamarckiana (Roem. & Schult.) Blume occurs include Florida in North America, West India, Bermuda, Grand Cayman and the Bahamas.[4]

Habitat and Ecology

It is considered a pioneer species that it survives on wide range of areas from sedimentary to igneous rocks. It is commonly seen in serpentine areas. The areas in Puerto Rico where this species grows get annual rainfall between 1200 to 3000 mm. It does not like shade and usually lives in where herbs, shrubs and trees grow. The common places they grow are road cuts, unsteady slopes and landslides and automatically disrupted sites.[3]


The plant is mainly supported by its roots which are lateral, rigid but flexible. It usually has one main stem and it is covered by bark of brownish grey color with small lenticels over inner bark of pinkish brown color. The species is monopodial, in which the main stem continually maintains to produce the branches and some of those become thicker and develop into the main branches for older plants. The leaves are alternate and they are connected to twigs by 8 to 10 m long of petioles. Their blades are approximately 2-4(-6) × 2-2.5(-3) cm ovate-lantiolate, green color and have rough surfaces.[3]

Flowers and fruit

After it grows up to 1 m, it begins to produce flowers and fruits. During the time it favors moisture, it produces abundant numbers of fruits and seeds. The average weight of fruits collected in Puerto Rico was 0.0077 ± 0.0001 g/fruit. The average weight of air-dried seeds was 0.0024 ± 0.0000 g/seed, in other words, 1 kg held 416,000 seeds. Approximately, 60–120 days after sowing in commercial potting mix, 38 percent of seeds develop into flowers/fruit. Birds scatter the seeds. Seedlings are usually seen on disturbed area where seed-bearing plants exist. Young plants tend to grow when it is cut. [3]

Growth and Management

They grow slowly at early stage. Later, they grow 1 m/year and the growth rate declines as they become old. Its lifespan is 10 to 20 years. According to the record, the species is not weedy. Reproduction can be enhanced by disturbing the soil close to seed-bearing plants before the seasonal rain begins.[3]


The role of species is very important in disrupted ground. It colonizes and helps prevent soil from corrosion. It might be practical for site stabilization plantings even though it has never been used. Trema lamarckiana (Schult.) Blume has been recorded as a nitrogen-fixing species (Winrock International 2002). The wood is smooth and rarely used. The fruits it bears are significant nutrients for endangered Puerto Rican plain pigeons, Columba inornata webmorei (Division of Endangered Species 2002).[3]


  • Celtis lamarckiana Roem. & Schult.
  • Sponia lamarckiana (Roem. & Schult.) Decne.
  • Celtis lima Lam.
  • Trema lima authors, not Blume [3]
Written on October 15th, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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