An attractive medium sized, evergreen tree that is capable of growing up to 15 m. Canopy is broad and dense and may spread 8 to 10 m across, often as wide as the height of the tree. Bark is brown or grey, shallowly fissured and flaky. Leaves are light green in colour, somewhat shiny, broad, egg shaped or elliptical with pointed apex and arranged alternately along the branches. Flowers are showy, large and funnel shaped and 2 to 4 cm long, with five to seven slightly wrinkled lobes. Flowers, which are short-lived, are scentless. They are present in clusters at the terminal ends of the branches or in leaf axils. Fruit is almost round or egg shaped, 2 to 3 cm long, green when young, brown, hard and woody when mature. Each fruit contains up to four or fewer delicate, white, narrow, small seeds.
Beach Cordia's Behavior & Ecology
It is adapted to a variety of soils including sandy and clay soils to rocky limestone. It is propagated by seeds and cuttings. Seeds are very small and very difficult to extract and hence, whole capsule is generally sown. Fruits may be soaked in water overnight or up to two days after clipping off the end of the hard, woody capsule to accelerate germination. Germination takes place within three to six weeks and seedlings may attain 40 to 50 cm height in about six to eight months, which can used for outplanting. Seedlings may be grown in partial shade to get better results. Stem cutting is also commonly used in propagation. Heavy branches often develop low on the stem and branches are slanted and look crooked in very old trees.
Beach Cordia's Relationship with Humans
Wood is soft but durable. Heartwood is dark chocolate coloured, often with dark streaks. It is finely grained, easy to work with, shrinks little and takes a fine polish. In the Maldives, timber is widely used for boat building. It is a good craft wood and is used in handicrafts. It is also used for house construction and house poles, which may last for more than 100 years. Leaves are used to colour fish nets and lines to make them less visible to fish. It is also grown as a shade and an ornamental tree. In a multispecies coastal bioshield, it can be planted behind a row of sea lettuce tree (Scaevola taccada), nit pitcha (Guettarda speciosa) and beach heliotrope (Tournefortia argentea) to protect it from direct aerosol salt spray.
Beach Cordia habitat
Cordia subcordata is a small tree from 8 to 10 m in height (Allen 2002). Confined to coastal areas where it is a fairly common constituent of scrub and secondary forest. This tree occasionally occurs in strand forest behind beaches or in thickets behind mangrove swamps. This species is evergreen and moderately fast growing (Allen 2002).
Beach Cordia threats
In the Papuasian region, a major concern has been the heavy exploitation of the species for native carvings and artifacts for the tourist trade, resulting in the rapid disappearance of many mature trees. Sea level rise (included by global climate change) is predicted to disrupt the ecology of this species, and unduce mortality to mangrove species (Ellison 2005). Already due to land use changes, from 1980 to 2007 there has been an 18% decline in Mangrove areas (FAO 2007). Reasons for Mangrove clearance are for a variety of agriculture (shrimp farms, coconut plantations, rice and salt pans) also due to the expansion of urban areas. There is also loss from severe storm events, cyclones, hurricanes and tsunamis. Mortality is also increased due to exposure to pollution and sewage. As climate change progresses, human population continues to grow, and associated activities expand it is thought that these threats could cause a significant decline in population size for the species over the coming years. However more information is needed to confirm the specific impact these species have on C. subcordata at a country, regional and global level.