Common name: Scrubwood
Scientific name: Commidendrum rugosum
IUCN status: Conservation dependant
The scrubwood is a long-lived shrub that can tolerate both the semi-desert climate and saline soils of the Crown Wastes. The scrubwood is able to capture moisture from the sea mist which enables it to grow out from the sheer cliffs that surround the Island. The leaves that fall under the protective branched canopy provide a mulch that helps to develop the scrubwoods own pocket of soil.
Scrubwoods would have survived in large numbers throughout the dry outer parts of the Island in association with the ebonies, tea plants, old father live forever, plantain and salad plant. Today only fragments of the larger populations survive, still growing beside other endemics with the exception of the ebonies.
The scrubwood is a low spreading shrub which grows to about a metre in height and is often wider than it is tall. The branches are dark in colour and are scattered with leaf scars left after older leaves have fallen. The large daisy like flowers are borne at the tips of the branches, white initially becoming tinged with red with age and are about 25mm long in diameter. The scrubwood are in flower almost all year round. The leaves are cobered with sticky hairs, have notched edges, are about 50mm long and are borne in tight rosettes.
NUMBER OF SURVIVING POPULATION
The scrubwood has been the most succesful of all endemic plants to recover in numbers. Several populations of scrubwoods are naturally regeneratingt from Flagstaff to South West Cliffs. The healthiest populations can be found at Distant Cottage, Man and Horse and Great Stone Top.
Scrubwoods are also growing in cultivation at Pouncey’s, George Benjamin Arboretum and Scotland.
CONSERVATION RECOVERY PROGRAMME
After the reduction of feral livestock from the Crown Waste and the improvement of fencing, this species has recovered and increased dramatically. Conservation work for this species has focused on maintaing the different populations. The larger populations are surviving and regenerating without aid but smaller populations need conservation support through removing invasive weeds and planting scrubwood seedlings. Seed is collected annually from many different populations and this used to re-stock struggling populations.