Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Hymenaea courbaril

L., Sp. Pl.1192.1753

West Indian locust, Algarrobo, Courbaril, Cuapinol, Quapinol

Tree, mostly to 20 (30) m tall and 50 (200) cm dbh; outer bark brown, closely lenticellate, bitter tasting, pale orange beneath surface, glabrous; wood reddish-brown, hard. Leaves bifoliolate; petioles 1-2 cm long, rugose when dry; leaflets narrowly oblong to elliptic-lanceolate, asym­metrical, short-acuminate, unequally rounded at base, 4-10 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, coriaceous, punctate, the midrib conspicuous below. Inflorescences terminal, subcorymbose, to ca 8 (12) cm long, the branches puberu­lent, the parts jointed and articulate; flowers white or purplish, soon falling, probably opening at night; bracts caducous; pedicels thick, ca 7 mm long; calyx tube ca 8 mm long, 4-lobed, the lobes ovate to oblong, expanding to ca 15 mm long, coriaceous, densely tomentose inside, easily caducous; petals 5, white, sometimes tinged with purple, rounded, 1.5-2 cm long, ca 9 mm wide, clawed below, the claw ca 1.5 mm long; stamens 10, alternately short and long, the long ones to 2 cm long; style attached laterally at apex of ovary, directed somewhat to one side of the flower; stigma held above the lower anthers and at some distance from the divergent longer set. Legumes oblong, flattened, to 17 cm long and 6.5 cm wide, turgid, hard, reddish-brown; seeds (2) 4-6, embedded in sticky pulp. Croat 10209.

Rare, in the young forest. Flowers during the dry season and the early rainy season (December to May). The fruits mature chiefly during the rainy season, espe­cially late in the rainy season.

The flowers are believed to be bat pollinated.

Mexico to Peru, Paraguay, and Brazil; West Indies. In Panama, ecologically variable; known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Veraguas, Herrera, Panama, and Darien, from premontane dry forest in Herrera, from tropical dry forest in Coclé, from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama, and from premon­tane wet forest in Chiriqui, Coclé, and Darien. Tosi (1971) listed this species as characteristic of tropical dry, premontane moist, and tropical moist forests in Panama. Reported also from tropical wet forest in Costa Rica (Holdridge et al.,1971).

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Hymenaea courbaril flower-bud
  • Hymenaea courbaril fruit
  • Hymenaea courbaril seed-dry
  • Hymenaea courbaril seed-wet
  • Hymenaea courbaril
  • Hymenaea courbaril
  • Hymenaea courbaril