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National Symbols - The National Tree

Lignum Vitae - National Tree - National Symbol of the Bahamas

The Lignum Vitae - The National Tree of The Bahamas

The Lignum vitae, meaning tree of life, is from the genus Guaicum (caltrop family or Zygophyllaceae) and is the National Tree of The Bahamas.

The extremely hard and heavy self-lubricating wood is especially adapted for bearings or bushings of propeller shafts on steamships, and also serves for bearings in steel mills, for bowling balls, and pulleys. For many years, dating back to World War II, shipments of the wood were made from The Bahamas to the United Kingdom and the United States by the old New Providence firm of Duncombe and Butler. Apart from its industrial uses, the bark of the tree is used for medicinal purposes, and many Bahamians throughout the islands steep the bark and drink it as a tonic for creating energy as an aphrodisiac.

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