Its leaves turn yellow seasonally.
It is the host of the Cotton Stainer Bug (Dysdercus decussatus), and
the plant was eradicated in many cotton-growing areas to eliminate
Uses as food: The fruits, flowers and young leaves are edible.
Other uses: The timber is hard, termite-resistant, has an attractive
grain and dark-red colour, and is naturally oily so it can be highly
polished (thus it is also called Pacific Rosewood). But the timber
is often twisted and rarely found in large pieces so it makes only
small items. As the timber does not impart a flavour, it is often
used to carve wooden food bowls and food utensils in Hawaii.
The tough fibrous bark is made into rope (Hawaii and elsewhere) but
is not as good for this purpose as Sea Hibiscus is. The bark is also
used to caulk boats (Malay). Cork is made from the inner bark.
A yellow dye is obtained from the flower and fruits, and a red one
from the bark and heartwood.
Other products extracted from the plant includes tannin, oil and
gums (a dark red resin exudes from the bark). A fast growing shrub
that grows into a small tree with spreading branches, it casts
welcome shade and in Hawaii were planted near homes for this
purpose. In India, they were planted to provide shade in coffee and
Traditional medicinal uses: Ground up bark is used to treat skin
diseases (India), dysentery and haemorrhoids (Mauritius). Leaves are
applied to inflamed and swollen joints (South India). When cut, the
young fruit secretes a yellow sticky sap used to treat ringworm and
other skin diseases (South India). Roots are used as a tonic. There
is some modern investigation of the plant's effects on high blood