The Bois corbeau

Breynia retusa

Native to southern India, the Bois corbeau is a naturalized invasive species which can be found mainly in the dry forests of the Massif de la Montagne, more precisely between the towns of La Possession and Saint Denis. It is, for example, present at the Grande Chaloupe, in the Ravine Montauban, in Saint François, at the Brûlé or in La Providence.

It can be described as a shrub with leaves set all in one plane on branches and bearing fruits resembling miniature apples. It differs from Boophane disticha by its uniformly green leaves, unpatched with white marks.

The seed is released after the phase where the fruit opens in three when the latter falls at the foot of the mother plant by gravity. Furthermore, the seeds are eaten by birds which disperse them afterwards. Man is also one of the vectors of propagation (through horticulture) of the Bois Corbeau. It is sold in nurseries as an ornamental plant.

The Bois corbeau is present on the list of invasive exotic plants of La Réunion, which has been defined by the CNBM (Conservatoire Botanique National des Mascarins).

The semi-dry forests of the Massif de la Montagne are undergoing restoration procedures through the LIFE+ Forêt Sèche project whose actions include planting native species and also eliminating invasive alien species, including the Breynia retusa.