Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Cavanillesia platanifolia

(H. & B.) H.B.K., Nov. Gen. & Sp. 5:306.1823

Cuipo, Quipo, Bongo, Hamati

Deciduous tree, to 40 m tall, small-crowned; trunk usu­ally 1-1.5 m diam, pale, often somewhat bulging ca 2 m above base, markedly ringed at intervals of ca 1.5 m, the surface planar but roughened with lenticels in age; in­ner bark granular. Leaves simple, clustered at apex of branches; stipules ovate, 5 mm long; petioles 10-25 cm long; blades ovate, palmately lobed (young leaves entire), the lobes 3-7, acuminate, cordate at base, to 30 cm long and wide' glabrate above, densely puberulent below. Cymes contracted, axillary; pedicels ca 1 cm long, sur­mounted by 3 fugacious bracteoles; flowers red, pre­cocious, 2-3 cm long; calyx bell-shaped, irregularly 5-lobed, ca 1.5 cm long; calyx and pedicel shortly                      ferrugi­nous-tomentulose; petals 5, strap-shaped, to 2.5 cm long and ca 5 mm wide, red,           ferruginous-tomentulose toward obtuse apex; stamens many, reddish, to 2 cm long, united into a column about one-third their length; anthers ca 1 mm wide, broader than long, dehiscing upward; ovary 4- or      5-celled, the ovules 2 per cell; style straight, exceed­ing stamens by 5-10 mm; stigma 5-forked. Capsules hard, narrow, linear, to 12 cm long, with 4 or 5 conspicuous wings; wings semicircular, membranous and markedly veined, each to 15 cm long and 8 cm. wide, red and green when mature; seeds 4 or 5. Croat 8348.

Occasional, in the forest. Flowers in March and April. The fruits mature in April and May. Leaves fall in De­cember or January and reappear in May and June.

The fruits, despite their large wings, are poor fliers, and most land within a few hundred feet of the parent plant.

Nicaragua to Peru. In Panama, a typical component of tropical moist forest (Tosi, 1971) and described as the most abundant tree in upland Darién, (Lamb, 1953); known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Los Santos, Panama, and Darién, mostly on limestone soils (R. Foster, pers. comm.).

See Fig. 369.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive