Botanical Name: Ehretia acuminata
Species: E. acuminata
*Ehretia serrata Roxb.
*Ehretia thyrsiflora Nakai.
Common Names: Koda Tree
Ehretia acuminata is found in Japan, China, Bhutan, Nepal, Laos, Vietnam, New Guinea and Australia. Fossil evidence suggests an ancient Laurasian origin. This group of plants spread to Australia and South America via Africa, when these continents were still joined. It grows in woodlands in valleys to 1500 metres in W. China.
Ehretia acuminata is a medium to large size deciduous tree , occasionally reaching 30 metres in height and a 90 cm in trunk diameter.
The bark is of a creamy grey colour, with vertical fissures. Koda is often easily identified in winter as being deciduous and of the characteristic flutings at the base of the trunk.
Leaves, flowers and fruit:
The leaves are alternate and simple, tapering to a tip, finely toothed, 8 to 13 cm long. Smooth and green on both surfaces slightly hairy above. The midrib and lateral veins are distinct on both sides of the leaf, raised beneath.
Flowers are white, sweetly scented, in panicles. Individual flowers are without a stalk, about 4 mm in diameter. Flowers appear in September to November in the southern hemisphere.
The fruit matures from January to April in Australia, in China in September, being a yellow or orange drupe, 4 to 5 mm in diameter, containing four seeds. The fruit is edible to humans with a sweet taste. Fruit are eaten by many rainforest birds, including the Lewin’s honeyeater, rose-crowned fruit-dove, brown cuckoo dove, wompoo fruit dove and Australasian figbird.
Seed germination is relatively easy. Ensure the flesh is removed from the fruit, and expect rapid germination.
Prefers a moderately fertile well-drained sandy loam in a sunny position. Tolerates calcareous soils. Requires a sheltered position. Plants are shade tolerant in continental climates but they require more sun in maritime areas in order to ripen the wood. Rich fertile soils encourage soft sappy growth which is then more susceptible to winter damage. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun. A tree at Kew was 6 metres tall in 1989. This species is much confused with E. ovalifolia.
Through seed – Sow stored seed in late winter or early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame.
Fruits are edible – eaten raw. About the size of a pea, it is insipidly sweet when fully ripe. The fruit is about 4mm in diameter. The unripe fruit is sometimes used as a pickle.
Medicinal Uses: The juice of the bark is used in the treatment of fevers.
Other Uses: Ehretia acuminata is used for roadside plantings, building and furniture timber as it is light, tough, soft and easily worked. Used for carrying poles.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.