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Casearia sylvestris - Wild sage


Native to:



Central America, most of South America, the Caribbean.

Moist or dry forest, often in secondary growth. Up to 2100 meters above sea level. 6 meter tall tree.

Casearia sylvestris - Wild sage

Ecological value:

Used in reforestation schemes. Pioneer species of secondary or dry forests. Fast growth rate. Attracts pollinators such as bees - the genus is employed for honey production. Tolerates salty soils, produces fruit year round which birds consume.

Material uses:

Seeds produce non-drying oil. Wood is dark, fine-textured, hard, strong, but with little resistance to wood-eating organisms. Used for construction, flooring, boards, cabinet-making, fuel and to make charcoal. Leaves contain an essential oil.

Edible uses:


Medicinal use:

Bark and leaves are used to treat inflammation, fevers, gastric ulcers, diarrhea. Oil from seed and roots treat wounds, leprosy. Anti- tumor, antibiotic properties, HIV treatment.

Other details:

The genus Casearia belongs to the Salicaceae family - or the Willow family - which contains 56 genera and 1220 species. Most members of this family have alternately leaf arrangements, with simple leaves. Many have serrated or dentate leaf margins. Most have inconspicuous flowers.


Harry Gomez Moron/Christine Facella


“Casearia Sylvestris Sw. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 28, 2023.
“Casearia Sylvestris - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d.
Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A. , ‘Medicinal Plants of Brazil’, Reference Publications; Michigan, 2000
Image sources: Tarciso Leão

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