Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Cupania rufescens

Tr. & Planck., Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot., sér. 4, 28:374. 1862

C. fulvida Tr. & Planck.

Candelillo

Tree, to 15 m tall; trunk to 25 cm dbh, sulcate at least when young; outer bark with shallow, horizontal and vertical fissures, flaking off to expose reddish inner bark; wood cream-colored, with sweet odor; younger stems densely ferruginous-hirsute, obscurely 5-ribbed. Leaves pinnate; rachis conspicuously hirsute; leaflets 3-7 (9), obovate-oblong, mostly rounded at apex (sometimes obtuse or acute), often inequilateral at base, the larger 7-22 (33) cm long, 3.5-10 cm wide, glabrous above but with densely pubescent midrib, conspicuously hirsute below especially on veins, the margins entire to usually denticulate (serrate on juvenile plants); all veins promi­nent, the major laterals impressed above; simple leaves on juvenile plants to 45 cm long and 15 cm wide. Panicles stout, densely floriferous, upper-axillary, ± equaling leaves, densely hirsute; flowers white, 5-parted; calyx densely pubescent, 2.8-3.3 mm long, equaling corolla, regular; petals obovate, pubescent, the scales fused along the margin at base; disk orange, prominent, nearly gla­brous; stamens 8, the filaments villous on basal three-­fourths; staminate flowers opening before bisexual flowers and mostly deciduous when bisexual flowers open, with the stamens to 3.5 mm long, exserted; anthers ca 1 mm long, attached to filament at middle, the thecae divergent in lower half; ovary and style very densely pubescent, the trichomes stiff, straight, usually exceeding stigmas; ovary narrowly ovoid, strongly             3-angulate; style and stigmas less than 2 mm long; stigmas 3, ± erect; bisexual flowers with the stamens    2-2.5 mm long, not exserted; anthers smaller than in staminate flowers, otherwise similar; ovary ovoid, ca 2 mm high, the pubescence as in staminate flowers but with style and stigmas not ex­ceeded by trichomes; style ± equaling ovary; stigmas 3, recurved. Capsules in dense clusters, burnt-orange to Indian red, sharply 3-sided, 1.5-2 cm broad, nearly as long as broad, densely pubescent outside, less so in­side, dehiscing broadly along the angles, each angle narrowly winged; seeds 3, obovoid, ca 1 cm long, black, shiny, partly enveloped by a yellow to greenish aril. Croat 14627.

Frequent in the forest, especially the young forest. Seedlings are often abundant; they are more deeply toothed and more densely hirsute and often look quite unlike adult plants. Flowers in the early to middle dry season, usually in February and March. The fruits mature in late dry and early rainy seasons, from late April to June. Dehisced fruit valves hang on the tree all year.

Seeds are probably bird dispersed.

Mexico to Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, Los Santos, Panama, and Darien, from tropical wet forest in Darien, and from premontane rain forest in Chiriqui and Veraguas.

See Fig. 339.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Cupania rufescens
  • Cupania rufescens
  • Cupania rufescens Fruit
  • Cupania rufescens Fruit
  • Cupania rufescens Flower Leaf
  • Cupania rufescens Fruit Leaf
  • Cupania rufescens Fruit Leaf
  • Cupania rufescens Fruit Leaf
  • Cupania rufescens Leaf
  • Cupania rufescens Leaf