Kew scientists lead a horticultural breakthrough and cultivate café marron to bear fruit
Kew scientists have performed a horticultural breakthrough by not only cultivating the small tree to flower regularly but for it to successfully pollinate and bear fruit.
The café marron (Ramosmania rodriguesii) is a small tree endemic to the Mauritian island of Rodrigues.
Believed extinct for 40 years, a single tree was discovered by a local schoolboy and cuttings sent to Kew in 1986, in order to propagate the species and ensure its survival.
In 2001, 11 rooted cuttings were sent back to the island to be reintroduced.
Although café marron had regularly flowered at Kew, it had never set seed until horticulturists made another breakthrough by successfully pollinating the flowers.
In 2003, a café marron at Kew bore its first fruit with viable seeds.
Author: Christina Harrison, Kew magazine