Thursday, December 3, 2009

Commersonia bartramia

Which family do you think the above specimen is belonging to? Four of us had different guesses after meeting this strange and unfamiliar tree which include Moraceae, Sterculiaceae, Elaeocarpaceae and Euphorbiaceae. The answer is Sterculiaceae or Tiliaceae depending on taxonomic treatment. Meeting unfamiliar species is always funny and exciting in the field which is like an assessment to your identification, integration, logical thinking and association skills.

Only one species under the genus Commersonia, Commersonia bartramia, is distributed in China which is mainly distributed in southern parts of China including Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan and Yunnan. It flowers in winter but the exact date depends on regions and altitude. It has considerable economic uses where bark and fiber are used for weaving.