(Aubl.) Urban, Symb. Ant. 3:322.1902
Palo de la Cruz
Shrub or small tree, (1.5) 3-6 (10) m tall; trunk to 12 cm dbh; stems glabrous to puberulent. Leaves deciduous; stipules subulate, 2-5 mm long, densely pubescent, caducous; petioles 2-10 mm long; blades mostly obovate, abruptly acuminate, acute and ± decurrent at base, 5-18 cm. long, 2-8.5 cm wide, glabrous or puberulent on veins especially below, pellucid-punctate and pellucid-lineate, ± entire to shallowly crenate-serrate, the teeth often sharp. Fascicles dense, in old leaf axils; pedicels and calyx puberulent; pedicels 2.7-4.7 mm. long at anthesis, articulated shortly above base, elongating to 8 mm in fruit; flowers white, with a faint sweet aroma, precocious; calyx deeply 4-6-lobed, 4-6 mm long, the lobes spreading; corolla lacking; stamens (7) 8, ± glabrous, 2.5-3.5 mm long, alternating and uniting with much shorter, densely villous staminodia; ovary villous; stigma globular, held ± at level of anthers. Capsules ellipsoid, 8-14 mm long, green often becoming violet-purple at least at apex, splitting into 3 parts; valves red inside; seeds several, irregular, brown, ca 3 mm long, enveloped in an orange aril. Croat 8391, 8747.
Common along the shore and at the margins of clearings; occasional in the young forest. Flowers commonly from March to May. The fruits mature from March through June. Leaves fall before flowering, and new leaves begin to develop near the time of flowering in the late dry season.
The species is similar to Casearia aculeata. See that species for a discussion.
Costa Rica to Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil (Pará). In Panama, known only from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, Veraguas, Herrera, Panamá, and Darien.