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Andira inermis - Cabbage bark


Native to:



Southern Mexico through Central America to northern South America. Florida. Central Africa.

Alluvial forests, evergreen tropical to dry savannah. 0-2000 meters above sea level. 25 meter tall tree.

Andira inermis - Cabbage bark

Ecological value:

Medium growth rate, moderately drought tolerant, moderately tolerant to salt spray and wind. Important food source for bees. Nitrogen fixer. Roots control erosion. Used to restore degraded watersheds. Can be used as a shelter-belt species as it responds well to pruning.

Material uses:

Wood, heavy and hard, resistant to fungi and wood boring insects. Used for bridges, docks, railroad tracks, for high grade furniture, handles, boats etc. Wood has no resonance making it suitable for dampening sounds. Prunings used as firewood.

Edible uses:

Fruits are edible. Seeds and bark toxic. Decoction of leaves as beverage. Used as a shade tree in coffee plantations.

Medicinal use:

The bark is a powerful anthelmintic, narcotic, purgative and vermifuge (anti parasitic). Used to treat snake bites.

Other details:

Has a symbiotic relationship with soil bacteria that form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen which can be shared with neighboring plants. Seeds burnt in a room can drive out bats.


Mengmeng Chen/Christine Facella


“Andira Inermis (W.Wright) Kunth Ex DC. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online.
“Andira Inermis - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d.
Barwick. M., ‘Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide’, Thames & Hudson, London, 2004
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A. , ‘Medicinal Plants of Brazil’, Reference Publications; Michigan, 2000
Image source: S.Pereira-Nunes

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