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Compositae: Commidendrum robustum

Melliss, J.C., 26

Melliss, J.C., 26

Melliss, J.C., 26


Commidendrum robustum

Original Distribution

St. Helena

Extinction Data

IUCN 2003 = Endangered (Less than 50)


Local name: Cluster-leaved gumwood or Bruchell’s gumwood.Tree up to 5 m, canopy umbrella shaped due to regular di- or trichotomous branching immediately under the terminal inflorescence, production of which prevents apical growth. Branches di- or trichotomous, with prominent leaf scars . Leaves clustered at tips of branches, gummy when young, cueate-lanceolate, light green, subrugose, sparsely puberulent above when young, subtomentose below, leaf base entire and narrowing, subpetiolate, mid-leaf and tip serrate. Inflorescence terminal (pseudoauxiliary), scarcely exceeding leaves. Peduncle very short, bearing 1-many long, somewhat drooping pedicels, each bearing a single capitulum arising from base of inflorescences. Ray florets female, ligules white. Disc flowers tubercular, hermaphrodite, corolla 5-lobed. Receptacle bare. Involucral bracts overlapping, unequal. Anthers without tails. Style bilobed. Achenes somewhat compressed, glabrous. Pappus hairs in one row, short, pale brown, appearing smooth, in fact minutely scaberulous.Formally it was local on the upper parts of the gumwood zone at 400-700 meter altitude at Thompson Wood Hill. Although it is extreme doubtful whether any pure material of this subspecies still exists, its characters are frequently seen in hybrid populations at Peak Dale. The taxon hybridizes with its typical form which is now also very rare. For instances, there is also a tree of questionable identity found in Deep Valley among plants of the typical form.

Number of Specimens at Kew


Specimen Type (Y/N)


Kew Herbcat Barcode Number



Melliss, J.C.

Collector Number


Date Collected

25th November 1867

Other Information

A small tree to 7-8 m, it was cut extensively for fuel in the early years of settlement of the island by the English East India Company. It has given its name to certain placenames on the island such as "Gumwoods". It is one of several species in the endemic genus Commidendrum

Information Sources

Cronk, Q.C.B. (1989) The past and present vegetation of St. Helena. Journal of Biogeography 16: 47-64Cronk, Q.C.B. (2000) The endemic flora of St Helena. Anthony Nelson Oswestry, UK.Oldfield, S., Lusty, C. & MacKinsen, A. (1998). The world list of threatened trees. World Conservation Press. Cambridge.Walter, K.S. and Gillett, H.J. (eds) (1998). 1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants. Compiled by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK