Catesbaea spinosa L.


Family: Rubiaceae

Genus: Catesbaea

Category: Shrub - Evergreen

Zones: 10a to 11

Size: To 12' tall

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


...the largest of them was about four inches thick and twelve or fourteen feet in height: the bark was smooth, of a greenish russet colour, and the wood seemingly tough and hard. The leaves were like those of Box, but smaller, they grow in clusters round the stalks, by intervals of an inch space, more or less: from every cluster shoot forth two sharp pliant spines. The flowers are tubulous, of a yellow colour about six inches long, hanging pendulous: they are monopetalous, being very small at the calix, and wide at the mouth, in form of a Roman trumpet, except that their verge is divided into four deep segments, which are usually reflected back.

The fruit is of an oval form, and of the size of a pullet's egg; the flesh or pulp of it is like that of a ripe apple, covered with a smooth yellow skin; the middle of the fruit is hollow, containing many small triangular seeds, adhering to a pithy Placenta, which runs through the fruit: the fruit has an agreeable tartness and good flavour, and seems as if it was capable of being improved by cultivation, but is little known. (Catesby's Natural History II: 100)


Native to the Bahamas and Cuba.

Published in Sp. Pl. 1: 109 in 1753 - Lectotype = "Frutex Spinosus Buxi foliis, plurimis simul nascentibus; flore tetrapetaloide, pendulo, sordide flavo, tubo longissimo; fructu ovali croceo, semina parva continente" in Catesby, Nat. Hist. Carolina, 2: 100, t. 100, 1743.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner