Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Cupania latifolia

H.B.K., Nov. Gen. & Sp. 5:126.1821

C. papillosa Radlk.

Tree, 4-20 m tall; trunk 5-25 cm dbh, often somewhat twisted; outer bark smooth, bearing fine, granular lenti­cels which wipe off easily; inner bark thin, tan; sap with faint, pleasant aroma; stems densely lenticellate, the younger parts (including petioles and branches of inflo­rescence) densely brown-tomentose. Leaves pinnate (juvenile plants often with some large simple leaves); petioles to 6 cm long (15 cm long on juvenile leaves); leaflets 3-11, oblong-elliptic to obovate, obtuse to trun­cate and sometimes emarginate at apex, obtuse to acute and inequilateral at base, 8-20 cm long and 2-6.5 cm wide (to 35 cm long and 15 cm wide on juveniles), densely short-pubescent to glabrate on veins above, usually papil­late and glabrous to sparsely pubescent and with incon­spicuous stalked glands below, the margin obscurely crenate to wavy. Inflorescences 15 cm or more long, paniculate, the panicles axillary or subterminal, to ca 2.5 cm long; flowers white, 5-parted, ca 2-2.7 mm long; sepals ovate to oblong, tomentose; petals villous, obovate, rounded or emarginate at apex, the margin fringed, the scales fused to margins of petals, deeply divided in mid­dle; disk thick, bowl-shaped, weakly lobed, densely velutinous except on inner margin; stamens 8, villous below middle; staminate flowers with the stamens to 3.5 mm long, exserted, the pistillode with 3 minute styles; bisexual flowers with the stamens ca 1.5 mm long; ovary ovoid, tomentose, gradually tapered to a stout style; style and stigmas pubescent, together about equaling the ovary; stigmas 3, ca 1.5 mm long, divergent. Capsules      subglo­bose to trilobate, short-stipitate, to ca 2.5 cm diam at maturity, greatly shrinking upon drying and becoming more markedly trilobate; valves thick, woody, densely dark-brown-tomentose outside, woolly inside; seeds black, shiny, ca 1 cm long, enveloped at base with an orange-yellow aril. Croat 11076, 11981.

Occasional, in the forest and at least near the lake margin in the vicinity of the laboratory cove and on the northern side of the island. Flowers in June and July. The fruits mature in September and October.

Like most other Cupania, this species is variable throughout its range, especially in the type and degree of pubescence. It merges almost imperceptibly at times with a number of other species, including           C. americana L. (West Indies and northern South America), C. scrobic­ulata L. C. Rich., and                 C. oblongifolia Mart. (Brazil). C. papillosa Radlk., segregated by Radlkofer on the basis of the dense papillations and glandular trichomes on the lower surface, is only an extreme form of this species.

On BCI this species is closest to C. cinerea and may hybridize with it. Croat 11981 bears pubescence inter­mediate between the two species.

Panama to Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Amazonian Brazil. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Colon, and Panama and from tropical wet forest in Colón (Portobelo).

See Fig. 338.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Cupania latifolia fruit-dry
  • Cupania latifolia immature-fruit
  • Cupania latifolia immature-Infructescences
  • Cupania latifolia leaf
  • Cupania latifolia seed-dry
  • Cupania latifolia
  • Cupania latifolia Fruit
  • Cupania latifolia Fruit
  • Cupania latifolia Fruit Leaf
  • Cupania latifolia Fruit Leaf