Acnistus arborescens

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Acnistus arborescens
Acnistus arborescens 1.jpg
Scientific classification
A. arborescens
Binomial name
Acnistus arborescens

Acnistus arborescens is a species of flowering plant in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Common names include gallinero, hollowheart, wild tobacco, siyou, bastard sirio, galán arbóreo, tabaco de monte, nigüito, marieneira, güitite, and tabak djab.[1]


A. arborescens is a large shrub or tree up to 10 meters in height. It flowers in clusters on naked branch parts below the leaves. Leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical, narrow to a long v-shape at the base, variably narrowed to a point at the tip, 15 to 30 cm long and 5 to 15 cm wide, margins entire or slightly wavy, hairless except when young. Young stems and young leaves have rusty hairs. The fragrant flowers bloom in clusters of 30 or more, with broadly funnel-shaped tubes about 1.2 cm long and recurving lobes. The protruding stamens are greenish-white to cream. The bright orange fruit is round, and about 1 cm across. They flower sporadically throughout the year, with fruit generally from March to July.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

It is native to Central and South America, and the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, it is classified by the US Department of Agriculture as a native plant species.[3]


A. arborescens contains a fragrant compound also found in roses and Narcissus tazetta called orcinol dimethyl ether that is almost undetectable to the human nose. However, experiments show that honeybees can readily detect it.[4]

Acnistus arborescens 2.jpg


A. arborescens is grown as an ornamental tree for gardens and natural landscaping projects to attracting various species of birds, a use from which it gets its Brazilian common name "thrush fruit".[5]


  1. ^ Francis, J. K. Acnistus arborescens. USDA Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Jardín Botánico Sur, Puerto Rico.
  2. ^ Susan Iremonger (2002). A Guide to Plants in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. University of the West Indies Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-976-640-031-6.
  3. ^ USDA
  4. ^ Natalia Dudareva; Eran Pichersky (27 March 2006). Biology of Floral Scent. CRC Press. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-8493-2283-9.
  5. ^ Frisch, Johan Dalgas & Frisch, Christian Dalgas, Aves Brasileiras e Plantas que as atraem, São Paulo, 2004, Dalgas Ecotec, 3rd. edition, ISBN 85-85015-07-1, page350

External links[edit]