(L.) Dec. & Planch., Rev. Hort. sér. 4, 3:107.1854
Gilbertia arborea (L.)
Tree, 10-20 (25) m tall, 25-40 (70) cm dbh, glabrous; bark with prominent lenticels, not deeply fissured; wood soft; ultimate branches whorled from apex of stout stems; stems brittle. Leaves simple, alternate; petioles 1-8 cm long; blades variable, mostly elliptic, also ovate-elliptic and obovate-elliptic, obtuse to acuminate and downturned at apex, attenuate to rounded at base, 5.5-15 cm long, 2-8 cm wide, usually entire, rarely with remote apiculate teeth. Racemes terminal, 6-12 cm long, of 3-20 pedunculate umbels, frequently with many umbels along rachis below terminal whorl of umbels; primary peduncle and rachis 1.5-6 cm long, bracteate at nodes, the floriferous peduncles 1-5 cm long, often bracteate, the bracts free, ovate, ca 1 cm long; pedicels 3-9 mm long; flowers (3) 10-30 (50) per umbel, greenish-white, ca 6 mm diam, 5-7-parted; calyx ± bowl-shaped, truncate and undulate to remotely 5-lobed; petals 5, valvate, (1.3) 2-2.5 mm long, acute and cucullate at apex, spreading at anthesis, later reflexed; stamens 5 (7), alternate with and longer than petals, to 4 mm long, erect at anthesis, later spreading; anthers ca 1 mm long; styles 5 (7), connate at base, the connate part flat or slightly conical, free and held tightly together at apex, later spreading, persistent in fruit, ca 0.5 mm long. Berries globose, ca 1 cm diam, smooth, drying deeply sulcate between seeds with - 4-sharp ridges, black-purple at maturity, with a ringlike scar around persistent styles; seeds 5 (7), ± semicircular, flattened, with a sharp margin, ca 7 mm long, tan, notched at apex on inner margin, minutely muricate. Croat 11751, 17047.
Frequent in the forest. Flowers from June to December, principally in July and August. The fruits mature in about 1 month. Individuals may bear mature fruits as well as flowers on separate inflorescences. Leaves are lost and quickly replaced in the dry season.
Mexico to Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia; West Indies. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, Veraguas, Los Santos, and Darien Provinces, from premontane wet forest in the Canal Zone, Chiriqui, Coclé, Panama, and Darien, and from lower montane wet forest in Chiriqui. Reported from premontane moist, tropical wet, and premontane rain forests in Costa Rica (Holdridge et al., 1971).
See Figs. 441 and 442.