nXylopiatropical evergreen trees or shrubs; chiefly African
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
nxylopiaA genus of plants, of the order Anonaceæ, type of the tribe Xylopieæ. It is characterized by flowers with a conical receptacle bearing externally numerous stamens with truncate anthers, in the center excavated and containing from one to five carpels, each with twoto six ovules. There are from 30 to 40 species, natives of the tropics, chiefly in America, but with several in India and Africa. They are trees or shrubs with coriaceous and commonly two-ranked leaves. The flowers are solitary or clustered in the axils, and are nearly or quite sessile, each with six petals, the outer elongated, thick, boat-shaped, curving, erect, and almost meeting at the summit, surpassing the three inner petals. The fruit consists of oblong or elongated berries produced on a convex receptacle. X. Æthiopica, of western tropical Africa, is the source of African, negro, or Guinea pepper; it is a tree with pointed ovate leaves, and a fruit consisting of several dry black quill-like aromatic carpels about 2 inches long. These are sold in native markets as a stimulant and condiment, and were formerly imported into Europe, forming the piper Æthiopicum of old writers. For X. polycarpa, of tropical Africa, see yellow dye-tree (under yellow). From the pervasive flavor of their wood various American species are called bitter-wood, especially X. glabra in the West Indies and X. frutescens in Guiana. The fruit of X. sericea in Brazil serves as a spice, and it's bark torn from the tree in ribbon-like strips is twisted into coarse cordage, and would be available for matting. X. frutescens, known in Brazil as embira, has similar uses. Several species have formerly been classed under the genera Unona, Uvaria, and Habzelia.
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
nXylopiazī-lō′pī-a a genus of plants, natives of the tropics, chiefly in America.