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Taxon: Thespesia populnea (L.) Sol. ex Corrêa

Genus: Thespesia
Family: Malvaceae subfamily: Malvoideae tribe: Gossypieae
Nomen number: 36526
Place of publication: Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. 9:290. 1807
Name verified on: 29-Nov-2007 by ARS Systematic Botanists. Last updated: 05-May-2009
Species priority site is: Natl. Germplasm Repository - Miami (MIA).


Common names:

  • bendytree   (Source: Websters Dict ) – English
  • corktree   (Source: Websters Dict ) – English
  • Indian tuliptree   (Source: PROTA4U ) – English
  • milo   (Source: Pl Res SEAs 11:251.) – English
  • Pacific rosewood   (Source: Pl Res SEAs 11:251.) – English
  • Polynesian rosewood   (Source: PROTA4U ) – English
  • porlia-tree   (Source: Aust Pl Common Names ) – English
  • portia-tree   (Source: Hortus 3 ) – English
  • seaside mahoe   (Source: Websters Dict ) – English
  • Seychelles rosewood   (Source: PROTA4U ) – English
  • tuliptree   (Source: Websters Dict ) – English
  • umbrella-tree   (Source: PROTA4U ) – English
  • tong mian   (Source: F ChinaEng ) – Transcribed Chinese
  • arbre ombrelle   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • bois de rose d'Océanie   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • kalfata   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • motel debou   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • porché   (Source: PROTA4U ) – French
  • Küsten-Tropeneibisch   (Source: Zander Ency ) – German
  • bela-sombra   (Source: PROTA4U ) – Portuguese
  • pau-rosa   (Source: PROTA4U ) – Portuguese
  • tespésia   (Source: D. Groth, p.c. 2005) – Portuguese (Brazil)
  • mtakawa   (Source: PROTA4U ) – Swahili

Economic importance:

  • Environmental: erosion control   (fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Environmental: ornamental   (fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Environmental: shade/shelter   (fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Human food: vegetable   (fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Materials: fiber   (for caulking & rope fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Materials: tannin/dyestuff   (obtained from flowers & fruits fide Plantation Trees)
  • Materials: wood   (fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Medicines: folklore   (fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251-252. 1997)
  • Social: religious/secular   (considered a sacred tree in some Pacific regions fide Pl Res SEAs 11:251. 1997)
  • Weed   (fide Invasive Pl Spec)

Distributional range:

    Northeast Tropical Africa: Eritrea; Somalia
    East Tropical Africa: Kenya; Tanzania
    West Tropical Africa: Benin; Ghana; Nigeria; Senegal; Togo
    South Tropical Africa: Mozambique
    Western Indian Ocean: Comoros; Madagascar; Mauritius; Reunion; Seychelles
    China: China - Guangdong, Hainan
    Eastern Asia: Japan - Ryukyu Islands; Taiwan
    Indian Subcontinent: India [coasts]; Sri Lanka
    North Indian Ocean: India - Andaman and Nicobar; Maldives
    Indo-China: Cambodia; Myanmar; Thailand; Vietnam
    Malesia: Indonesia; Malaysia; Papua New Guinea; Philippines
    Australia: Australia - Northern Territory [n.], Queensland [n.], Western Australia [n.]
    Southern Mexico: Mexico - Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Yucatan
    Northwestern Pacific: Micronesia
    South-Central Pacific: French Polynesia
    Southwestern Pacific: Fiji; Vanuatu
    Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Bermuda; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Dominica; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Hispaniola; Jamaica; Martinique; Montserrat; Netherlands Antilles; Puerto Rico; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and Grenadines; Virgin Islands (British); Virgin Islands (U.S.)
    Mesoamerica: Costa Rica; Honduras; Nicaragua; Panama
    Northern South America: Venezuela - Falcon
    Western South America: Colombia

  • widely cultivated in tropics


  • PROTABASE, the information base of PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) (on-line resource).
  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. et al. 1996. Flora of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 78:1-581.
  • Adams, C. 1972. Flowering plants of Jamaica.
  • Bosser, J. M. et al., eds. 1976–. Flores des Mascareignes.
  • Correll, D. S. & H. B. Correll. 1982. Flora of the Bahama archipelago.
  • Dale, I. R. & P. J. Greenway. 1961. Kenya trees & shrubs.
  • Dassanayake, M. D. & F. R. Fosberg, eds. 1980–. A revised handbook to the flora of Ceylon.
  • Elevitch, C. R., ed. The traditional tree initiative: species profiles for Pacific Island agroforestry (on-line resource).
  • Encke, F. et al. 1984. Zander: Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen, 13. Auflage.
  • Erhardt, W. et al. 2008. Der große Zander: Enzyklopädie der Pflanzennamen.
  • Exell, A. W. et al., eds. 1960–. Flora zambesiaca.
  • Faridah Hanum, I. & L. J. G. van der Maesen, eds. 1997. Auxiliary plants. In: Faridah Hanum, I. & L. J. G. van der Maesen, eds., Plant Resources of South-East Asia (PROSEA). 11:251–252.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2010. Ecocrop (on-line resource).
  • Fryxell, P. A. 1979. The natural history of the cotton tribe. 86.
  • Fryxell, P. A. 1988. Malvaceae of Mexico. Syst. Bot. Monogr. 25:441–443.
  • Groth, D. 2005. pers. comm. [re. Brazilian common names].
  • Hedberg, I. & S. Edwards. 1989–. Flora of Ethiopia. (and Eritrea. 2000)
  • Howard, R. 1974–1989. Flora of the lesser Antilles.
  • Humbert, J.-H., ed. 1936–. Flore de Madagascar et des Comores.
  • Huxley, A., ed. 1992. The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening.
  • Integrated Botanical Information System (IBIS). Australian plant common name database (on-line resource).
  • Iwatsuki, K. et al. 1993–. Flora of Japan.
  • Jardín Botánico Nacional. 1998–. Flora de la República de Cuba.
  • Keay, R. W. J. & F. N. Hepper. 1953–1972. Flora of west tropical Africa, ed. 2.
  • Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third.
  • Liogier, H. A. 1984–. Descriptive flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands.
  • Luna, R. K. 1996. Plantation trees.
  • Matthew, K. M. 1983. The flora of the Tamilnadu Carnatic.
  • Nasir, E. & S. I. Ali, eds. 1970–. Flora of [West] Pakistan.
  • Paul, T. K. & M. P. Nayar. 1988. Malvaceae. In: Botanical Survey of India, Fascicles of flora of India 19:225–226.
  • Proctor, G. R. 1984. Flora of the Cayman Islands. Kew Bulletin Additional Series XI.
  • Sharma, B. D. et al., eds. 1993–. Flora of India.
  • Stevens, W. D. et al., eds. 2001. Flora de Nicaragua. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85(1-3).
  • Thulin, M., ed. 1993–. Flora of Somalia.
  • Turrill, W. B. et al., eds. 1952–. Flora of tropical East Africa.
  • Weber, E. 2003. Invasive plant species of the world: a reference guide to environmental weeds.
  • Woodson, R. E. & R. W. Schery, eds. 1943–1980. Flora of Panama.
  • Wu Zheng-yi & P. H. Raven et al., eds. 1994–. Flora of China (English edition).
  • Webster's third new international dictionary.


Check other web resources for Thespesia populnea (L.) Sol. ex Corrêa:

  • PLANTS: USDA-NRCS Database of Plants of the United States and its Territories
  • Flora of China: Online version from Harvard University
  • AVH: Australia's Virtual Herbarium
  • TROPICOS: Nomenclatural and Specimen Database of the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Mansfeld: Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
  • ePIC: Electronic Plant Information Centre of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • AGRICOLA: Article Citation Database or NAL Catalog of USDA's National Agricultural Library
  • Entrez: NCBI's search engine for PubMed citations, GenBank sequences, etc.


  • Seed: U.S. National Seed Herbarium image
  • Check for additional images
  • Google Images Images Note: Be advised that their identity may be inaccurate. Proper identification of a plant may require specialized taxonomic knowledge or comparison with properly documented herbarium material.

Abbreviations & symbols in GRIN Taxonomy

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Cite as:
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program.
Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database].
National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: (25 November 2015)

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