Grey nicker (Guilandina bonduc) is a species of flowering plant in the senna tribe, Caesalpinieae, that has a pantropical distribution. It is a liana that reaches a length of 6 m (20 ft) and scrambles over other vegetation. Stems are covered in curved spines. Its 2 cm (0.79 in) grey seeds, known as nickernuts, are buoyant and durable enough to be dispersed by ocean currents.
Scandent shrubs; stems armed with recurved prickles. Leaves bipinnate, to 50 cm long; pinnae 4-5 pairs; leaflets 5-8 pairs per pinna, 2-5 x 0.8-2.2 cm, ovate or elliptic-oblong, base rounded, apex obtuse, mucronate; petiole to 15 cm long; stipules 0.8-1.7 cm long, foliaceous, lobed or pinnate. Racemes supra-axillary or terminal, many-flowered, to 15 cm long. Flowers c.1.5 cm across; pedicels 2-5 mm long; bracts 6-8 x 1-2 mm, lanceolate, caducous. Calyx lobes 5, separate almost to the base, 5-8 mm long, oblong or obovate, pubescent. Petals yellow as long as the sepals, oblanceolate, reflexed; upper one smaller. Stamens 10; filaments villous. Ovules 2. Pods 4.5-9 x3.5-4.5 cm, elliptic, turgid, beaked, covered with straight, puberulent spines. Seeds 1 or 2, 1-1.5 cm across, subglobose, greyish-white.
Grey nicker's facts
Did you know?
Grey nicker (Guilandina bonduc) was once a common plant in all islands of Maldives, but now it is found only occasionally mainly in some nothern islands.
Grey nicker's Behavior & Ecology
Caesalpinia bonduc can be found flowering and fruiting throughout the year. Seeds of Caesalpinia bonduc float and retain their viability in water for extended periods. This explains its presence in coastal areas throughout the tropics.
Grey nicker's Reproduction
It can be propagated by seed or stem cuttings.
Grey nicker's Relationship with Humans
Seed and the root-bark are used to treat intermittent fevers. Seeds are useful to disperse swelling, restrain haemorrhage and keep off infectious diseases. Seeds was used for jewellery and in traditional indoor games.
Grey nicker habitat
Guilandina bonduc is a scrambling shrub, or small tree forming dense clumps. Occurs in disturbed vegetation, often coastal.