Dalbergia odorifera Samen
Dalbergia odorifera is native to China. The tree occurs there on the islands of Fujian, Hainan und Zhejiang until 600 m above sea level. In former times Dalbergia odorifera was named Dalbergia hainanensis after the Hainan Island where is occurs. But since 1980 the official name is Dalbergia odorifera. Dalbergia odorifera is mainly used because of its nice wood. The populations of Dalbergia odorifera suffer from overexploitation. Due to that Dalbergia odorifera is listed as vulnerable species on the red list since 1998.
Dalbergia odorifera reaches a height of 10 to 15 m and grows quite fast. Under good environmental conditions the tree trunk can gain 1 cm in diameter per year. The bark is light brown to brown. The wood is known as huali or huanghuli in China. This noble and expensive wood is used to build furniture. The wood has a glossy surface and has a beautiful grain. It is reddish brown to yellowish golden in color. Many people see the faces of ghosts in the grain. Pieces of woods with such special grains are especially expensive. The wood has in addition a really nice odor. Due to that the Latin name is "odorifera" what means translated "having a nice odor" and it is also described as fragrant rosewood. Besides furnitures also juwelery is made from the wood. The wood is really robust and things made from it are very long living. The leaves are pinnate. The single leaflets are ovate to elliptic and dark green. The flowers are clustered in panicles. The single flowers are only 5 mm in diameter and whitish to slightly yellowish in color. The fruit is like it is typically for a Fabaceae, a pod.
The fruits and with the fruits the seeds inside are distributed with the wind. The fruits can stay up to 6 months on the motherplant. The heartwood from the roots and the trunk is used in medicine to reduce the blood pressure. In addition some substances having an antioxidant effect were isolated from the roots. They may play a role in medicine in the future. The seeds of Dalbergia odorifera do not need a pretreatment and germinate after about a month when temperature is kept around 23°C. During germination the substrate should be kept moist.
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