Exotic Tree Species

Syzygium malaccense (sometimes called Mountain or Malaysian apple) is a very interesting tree and is widely planted for its bright red fruit.

This tree was included in the very first re-forestation areas at REGUA  for two reasons:

  • we loved the tree as it brings in many butterflies on its rotting fruit and
  • at the time we weren’t following a rigorous planting method

For the same reasons we also added Syzygium cumini, and specialists informed us that this species was native to northeast Brazil.   Forestry engineers do not believe that either species is a threat as an invasive species, but we are slowly cutting down Syzygium malaccensis as we aim to get as faithful as possible to the list of native Atlantic Forest species.

Syzygium malaccense flower by Mike Patrikeev
Syzygium malaccense flower (© Michael Patrikeev)

Many reforestation projects are planting species from different areas of Brazil including the Amazon and the Cerrado. There are two fundamental reasons for this; nurseries have difficulty accessing seeds as the law prohibits seeds being collected from local parks and the climate has changed so that the drier Cerrado species actually grow well in the slightly altered climate at REGUA.

Typical examples are Cassia grandis and Triplaris brasilensis both from the Amazon.  Other erroneously planted species of the past is Artoparpus integrifolia, the jackfruit which has covered large areas of the Tijuca park and Ilha Grande.   The Oil palm Eleias guinansis, planted for over centuries by farmers and workers for oil and making soap has likewise spread since it germinates very well in primary forest and is eaten and dispersed by virtually every animal from agouti to vulture.    It is easy to see how species like these get out of control.