Ebony tree Facts

Ebony tree Facts
Ebony is an evergreen tree that belongs to the ebony family. There are three species of ebony: Ceylon, Gabon and Makassar ebony. They can be found on Sri Lanka, India, West Africa and Indonesia. Ebony tree grows on fertile, moist soil, in tropical rainforests, usually on the lower altitudes. Number of ebony trees in the wild is decreasing due to excessive harvest of these plants from their natural habitats. Gabon ebony is already listed as endangered. Dark heartwood of ebony trees has application in numerous industries because of its durability and strength.
Interesting Ebony tree Facts:
Ebony tree can reach 65 to 98 feet in height. Young trees have rounded crowns. Old trees have wide, multi-branched crowns that spread horizontally.
Bark of ebony tree is dark grey colored and scaly. It is often covered with mosses and lichens.
Ebony tree has oblong, ovate or lanceolate leaves. They have entire margins and satin-like texture.
Ebony tree produces separate male and female flowers on the same tree (monoecious plant). Ebony tree blooms during the spring. Flowers are small but fragrant.
Botanically speaking, fruit of ebony tree belongs to group of berries. Ceylon ebony produces rounded berries that have velvety brown skin on the surface.
Fruit of Gabon ebony is edible. It is lemon- or apple- sized, sweet and succulent. It can be consumed fresh, dried or in the form of porridge.
Fruit of Gabon ebony is used in the industry of alcoholic beverages for the manufacture of beer, wine and brandy.
Ebony tree is important source of food for the wild animals. Elephants, rhinos and giraffes feed on leaves, while velvet monkeys, baboons and warthogs like to eat fruit of ebony tree.
Ebony tree produces extremely hard and dense heartwood. Unlike many other types of wood, ebony cannot float on the surface of water (it sinks).
Heartwood of ebony tree is black or brownish (chocolate brown) in color. It is used for the manufacture of black chess pieces, inlay, tool handles, canoes, violins and black keys for the piano. Gabon ebony was used as firewood in the past. This practice is abandoned today because ebony is very expensive and rare in the wild.
Ceylon ebony is often planted together with cardamom in India to provide shade required for the proper development of cardamom.
Bark of ebony tree can be used as a source of dark blue pigment that is used for painting of cloth.
Ancient Egyptians used heartwood of ebony for carving. Many pharaohs were buried with items made of ebony.
Root of some ebony trees can be used in treatment of dysentery, intestinal parasites, leprosy and fever.
Ebony tree can survive hundreds of years. It reaches maturity between 60 and 200 years.

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