Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Lacmellea panamensis

(Woods.) Markg., Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 15:622. 1941

L. edulis sensu auct. non Karst.

Tree, to 20 m tall, ± glabrous, sometimes armed with short stout spines; outer bark coarse, thin, hard; inner bark thick, tan; sap milky, abundant in trunk, branches, and fruits. Leaves opposite; petioles to 1 cm long; blades oblong-elliptic, acute to long-acuminate, obtuse and decurrent on petiole at base, 5-13 cm long, 2-4 cm wide. Flowers congested in axillary cymes; pedicels 2-4 mm long; calyx lobes ± rounded, 1-1.5 mm long, ciliate; corolla narrowly tubular, white, drying burnt-orange, the tube to 3 cm long, puberulent inside, somewhat in­flated just above base and at insertion of anthers near apex of tube, the limb to 1.5 cm diam, the lobes spread­ing, rounded to acute; anthers free, ca 4 mm long; style shorter than anthers at anthesis; stigma 1, cylindrical, papillose. Fruits broadly ellipsoid to obovoid, 2-3 cm long, yellow-orange, with a short persistent style to 3 mm long; exocarp ± leathery; mesocarp fleshy, sweet and tasty, with copious milky sap; seeds 1-4, usually 2, ellip­soid, usually flattened on one side, ca 1.5 cm long. Croat .5373.

Occasional in the forest, most abundant on the slope toward the tower; not seen in higher levels of the old forest. Flowers from March to August, mostly from April to June. The fruits mature from February to June, mostly from March to May of the following year. Juve­nile fruits are common in the late rainy season. Leaves of this species are a favorite of sloths and as much as one-fifth of the foliage is sometimes cropped (E. Mont­gomery, pers. comm.).

Belize, Costa Rica, and Panama, probably ranging along the Atlantic slope of Central America. In Panama, a characteristic species in tropical wet forest (Tosi, 1971); known also from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone and Darien.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Lacmellea panamensis flower-bud
  • Lacmellea panamensis flower
  • Lacmellea panamensis flower
  • Lacmellea panamensis fruit
  • Lacmellea panamensis fruit
  • Lacmellea panamensis immature-fruit
  • Lacmellea panamensis immature-fruit plant
  • Lacmellea panamensis leaf
  • Lacmellea panamensis seed-wet
  • Lacmellea panamensis seed-wet