From The Plant Encyclopedia

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Cordia boissieri in bloom

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Kingdom Plantae
Order (unplaced)
Family Boraginaceae
Species in this genus
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Cordia is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae. It contains about 300 species of shrubs and trees, which are found worldwide mostly in warmer regions. Many of the species are commonly called manjack, while bocote may refer to several Central American species in Spanish. The generic name honours German botanist and pharmacist Valerius Cordus (1515-1544).[1] Like most other Boraginaceae, a majority have trichomes (hairs) on the leaves.



Many Cordias have fragrant, showy flowers and are popular in gardens, although they are not especially hardy.[2]

As food

A number of the tropical species have edible fruits, known by a wide variety of names including clammy cherries, glue berries, sebesten, or snotty gobbles. In India, the fruits of local species are used as a vegetable, raw, cooked, or pickled, and are known by many names, including lasora in Hindi. One such species is Fragrant Manjack (C. dichotoma), which is called gunda or tenti dela in Hindi and lasura in Nepali. The fruit of the Fragrant Manjack is called phoà-pò·-chí (破布子), 樹子仔, or 樹子(POJ: chhiū-chí) in Taiwan where they are eaten pickled.


The wood of several Cordia species is commercially harvested. Ecuador Laurel (C. alliodora), Ziricote (C. dodecandra), Spanish Elm (C. gerascanthus), and C. goeldiana are used to make furniture and doors in Central and South America.[2]

Ziricote[3] and Bocote[4] are sometimes used as a wood for making acoustic guitar backs and sides. Well-known guitarist Richard Thompson currently plays a Lowden F-35C RT Richard Thompson Signature Model with Ziricote back and sides.[5] Similarly, drums are made from C. abyssinica, C. millenii, and C. platythrysa due to the resonance of the wood.[6]


Cordia species are used as food plants by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species, such as Endoclita malabaricus, Bucculatrix caribbea, and Bucculatrix cordiaella.[7] The Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle (Physonota alutacea) feeds on C. boissieri, C. dentata, C. inermis, and C. macrostachya.[8]

Selected species

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  1. Quattrocchi, Umberto (2000). CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: A-C. CRC Press. pp. 612–613. ISBN 9780849326752. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bennett, Masha (2003). Pulmonarias and the Borage Family. Timber Press. pp. 196–198. ISBN 9780881925890. 
  3. Luthiers Mercantile page about Ziricote
  4. Luthiers Mercantile page about Ziricote
  5. Presad, Anil (October 2009). "Richard Thompson" (PDF). Guitar Player: 50. 
  6. Tudge, Colin (2007). The Tree. Random House. p. 237. ISBN 9780307395399. 
  7. Davis, Donald R.; Bernard Landry; Lazaro Roque-albelo (2002). "Two new Neotropical species of Bucculatrix leaf miners (Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae) reared from Cordia (Boraginaceae)". Revue Suisse de Zoologie 109 (2): 277–294. 
  8. Quinn, Mike. "Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle Physonota alutacea Boheman, 1854". Texas Beetle Information. Texas Entomology. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Grandtner, Miroslav M. (2005). Elsevier's Dictionary of Trees. 1. Elsevier. pp. 252–260. ISBN 9780444517845. 
  10. "Cordia dichotoma Forst. f.". Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities. University of Connecticut. 2009-10-06. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  11. "Subordinate Taxa of Cordia L.". TROPICOS. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Species Records of Cordia". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-08-21. 
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