Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Brosimum alicastrum

Sw. subsp. bolivarense (Pitt.) C. C. Berg, Acta Bot. Neerl. 19:326. 1970.

B. bernadetteae Woods.; Helicostylis latifolia Pitt.


Monoecious tree, 3-35 m tall; bark thin, with prominent leaf scars and irregular horizontal raised lines; inner bark smooth, thick, tan; sap forming milky droplets. Petioles stout, 4-14 mm long; blades     elliptic-obovate to elliptic, acuminate to mucronate at apex, broadly cuneate to rounded at base, 6-15 (20) cm long, 3-6.5 (8) cm wide, glabrous, coriaceous, the major lateral veins raised below, with a conspicuous submarginal collecting vein and prominulous reticulate veins; stipules nearly encircling stem, 5-9 (15) mm long, deciduous. Flowers dense, in globular clusters 4-9 mm diam, completely concealed before anthesis by short-stipitate, round, peltate bracts; peduncles obsolete or to 5 mm long; perianth obsolete; staminate flowers many, the stamen solitary, the anther circular, eccentrically peltate, ca 1 mm diam, dehiscing by 2 basal valves; pistillate flowers 1 or 2 at center of clusters, the stigmas deeply 2-lobed, the lobes exserted 4-7 mm before staminate flowers open, spreading, subu­late. Fruit a false drupe, ± globose, 1-1.5 (2) cm diam, with minute round protuberances, with an apical depres­sion; seed 1. Croat 10306, 1164 7

Common in the forest. Seasonal behavior uncertain. Apparently flowers from November to May, mostly during the dry season. The fruits mature from May to October and are eaten when ripe by monkeys (Hladik & Hladik, 1969).

Carpenter (1934) reported that fruits of this species are second only to Ficus as food for most animals of the forest. Bats play a principal role in their dispersal (R. Foster, pers. comm.). The outer shell of the fruit is often thrown to the ground.

The subspecies bolivarense is distinguished from the subspecies alicastrum byhaving anthers with free thecae; anthers of the subspecies alicastrum are peltate with the thecae fused.

The typical subspecies ranges from Mexico to Costa Rica and the West Indies. The subspecies bolivarense ranges from Costa Rica through the Andes to Guyana and Brazil (Acre Territory). In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Chiriqui, Pa­nama, and Darién. Reported from tropical wet forest in Costa Rica (Holdridge et al., 1971).

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense flower
  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense flower plant
  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense fruit
  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense immature-fruit
  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense seed-dry
  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense seed-wet
  • Brosimum alicastrum subsp bolivarense seed-wet
  • Brosimum alicastrum boliviense
  • Brosimum alicastrum Flower
  • Brosimum alicastrum Flower