Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Cordia spinescens

L., Mant. Pl. Altera 206. 1771

C. ferruginea (Lam.) R. & S.

Arching shrub or small tree, to 5 m tall. Leaves alternate; petioles 1-2.5 cm long; blades ovate to elliptic, acute to acuminate, rounded to obtuse at base, 8-16 cm long, 4-9 cm wide, usually irregularly dentate, sparsely strigose above, lighter and softly pubescent below. Inflorescences branched or unbranched, axillary; peduncle partly united to petiole; flowers sessile, in spikes; calyx cupular, ca 2-3 mm long, its lobes 5, curving inward to protect ovary after flower falls, enlarging and becoming red in fruit; corolla white, 3-4 mm long, glabrous outside, with gland-­tipped trichomes inside, the lobes 5, short, toothed; sta­mens 5, slightly exserted at anthesis; filaments fused to tube near base, the tube with gland-tipped trichomes below point of fusion with stamens; anthers shedding at least some pollen in bud; style shorter than corolla at anthesis, branched twice; stigmas 4, folded and held just above anthers in bud, apparently receptive. Drupes ovoid, 4-5 mm long, bright red; seed with prominent reticulations, covered with a thin, fleshy mericarp. Croat 12811.

Occasional along the shoreline, abundant in Rear # 8 Lighthouse Clearing. Flowers and fruits throughout the year, but most flowering occurs in the middle of the rainy season to the early dry season (August to February). Mature fruits are most abundant in the dry season. Since the plant may flower over a long period of time, the same plant may bear flowers and mature fruits.

The plant is probably pollinated by pollen feeders, such as the small beetle seen visiting some open flowers. The fruits are often transformed into galls by insects.

Mexico to Bolivia. In Panama, ecologically widespread; known principally from all regions of tropical moist forest except in the Azuero Peninsula and from tropical wet forest on the Atlantic slope in Colón, Coclé, and Veraguas, but also from a variety of life zones at higher elevations on the Pacific slope, including premontane wet forest in Chiriqui and Coclé, and premontane rain, lower montane wet, and lower montane rain forests in Chiriqui.