Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Casearia aculeata

Jacq., Enum. Pl. Carib. 21.1760

C. guianensis (Aubl.) Urban var. rafflesioides Croat

Tree, ca 5 m tall; trunk ca 7 cm dbh, with simple spines near base; branches and branchlets glabrate to densely strigillose or puberulent; branches arching, wide­-spreading, often with straight, stout, sharp    branch­-spines. Stipules deltoid to narrowly triangular, ca 2 mm long; petioles 2-8 mm long; blades ovate to elliptic or obovate or oblanceolate, acuminate to acute or rounded at apex, obtuse to attenuate and decurrent at base, 2.5-11 cm long, 1.3-4 cm wide, glabrous or with sparse, ± appressed pubescence, weakly or not at all pellucid­-punctate, the margins crenate-serrate, the teeth obscure to sharp, glandular and incurled. Fascicles sparse, sessile, axillary; bracteoles connate, sparsely pubescent, whitish to translucent, very thin, the outermost ± triangular, very short, the inner ones oval, rounded at apex; pedicels 1.5-3 mm long, slender, to 3 mm wide when dried, sparsely villous, articulate at about middle, usually longer than bracteoles; flowers greenish-white, ca 7 mm diam; sepals 4-6, 3-3.5 (5.5) mm long, strigillose outside, blunt to rounded at apex, spreading at anthesis; corolla lacking; stamens 7 or 8 (9), ca 4 mm long, erect at anthesis, fused into a ring at base, alternating with densely villous staminodia, the staminal tube glabrous outside, pubescent inside; filaments ± glabrous; anthers 1 mm. long, introrse, equaling height of style; pollen yellowish, ± tacky; ovary sparsely villous, narrowly ovate; style short; stigma globular, viscid, short-puberulent. Capsules 3-valved, round to ellipsoid, to ca 1 cm long, pale green to white often marked with purple; valves maroon inside, marked with prominent white spots; seeds of irregular shapes, ca 4 mm long, enveloped in a pale orange aril. Croat 11777,13268, 14057.

Occasional, in the forest. Flowers in March and April. The fruits mature from April to June.

Distinguished from C. guianensis by having elliptic leaves present at the time of flowering and by having sharp branch-spines. Other differences are discussed elsewhere (Croat, 1975b).

H. Sleumer considers Casearia stjohnii I. M. Johnston synonymous (pers. comm.); I consider it distinct (Croat, 1975b), though probably more closely related to C. acule­ata than (as I had originally thought) to C. guzanensis. Casearia stjohnii flowers later than C. aculeata (June and July), with the fruits maturing during August and Sep­tember. It also has thicker, longer inflorescence bracts and much stouter, more densely pubescent pedicels.

Mexico to Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil. In Panama, known principally from wetter parts of tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Panama, and Darién.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Casearia aculeata fruit
  • Casearia aculeata fruit plant
  • Casearia aculeata fruit plant
  • Casearia aculeata leaf
  • Casearia aculeata seed-wet
  • Casearia aculeata seed-wet cluster
  • Casearia aculeata
  • Casearia aculeata
  • Casearia aculeata Leaf
  • Casearia aculeata Flower Leaf