Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Protium panamense

(Rose) I. M. Johnston, Contr. Gray Herb. 70:72.1924


Functionally unisexual tree, usually less than 12 m tall (to 40 m elsewhere), ± stilt-rooted at base, glabrous; outer bark thin, smooth, the leaf scars on younger trees ca 5 cm broad; inner bark pinkish; sap with sweet strong odor typical of family. Leaves pinnate; petioles 6-13 cm long, flattened on upper surface, swollen at base; pet­iolules 1-4 (8) cm long, swollen at both ends; leaflets 3-7 (9), mostly ovate-lanceolate to oblong, bluntly short­-acuminate, obtuse to rounded at base, 13-35 cm long, 6-9 (16) cm wide, coriaceous. Inflorescences paniculate (rarely racemose), axillary or terminal, sometimes cauli­florous, mostly to 15 cm long; flowers greenish-white to greenish-yellow, 4 (5)-parted, with a strong, sweet aroma; pedicels to ca 4 mm long; calyx ± truncate or shallowly lobed, very short; petals 3 mm long, valvate, ± spreading at anthesis, papllose-puberulent on margins, the apex acute; stamens 8 (10), 2 mm long; filaments broadened below, recessed somewhat in fleshy yellowish disk; pistil conical, short; stigma simple, almost sessile, persistent in fruit. Capsules drupaceous, red at maturity, often in a large congested cluster, ellipsoid to ovoid, apiculate, shortly stipitate, to 2.8 cm long, the valves 2 or 4, unequal, the smaller falling free at maturity; pyrene 1(4), to ca 1.5 cm long, bearing 1 or 2 seeds, greenish, covered with a thick, white, fleshy, sweet mesocarp ca 3 mm thick, attached to larger valve near apex, becoming pendent, displayed against red inner valve surface. Croat 4834, 11110.

Abundant, especially in the younger forest and along the shore; rare in the older forest. Flowers usually twice per year (sometimes three times per year), once in the early dry season (January to February, rarely as late as April), once in the early rainy season (usually July and August), and rarely again in the late rainy season. Fruit maturation is considerably more staggered, and mature fruits have been seen from February to August, often at the same time as flowering.

Though flowers are functionally unisexual, there are few conspicuous differences between staminate and pistillate flowers or inflorescences.

Known only from Panama, probably extending into both Costa Rica and Colombia. In Panama, known only on the Atlantic slope from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, and San Blas, from tropical wet forest in Colón and Coclé, and from premontane wet forest in the Canal Zone and Colón.

See Fig. 302.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Protium panamense capsule
  • Protium panamense damaged-fruit
  • Protium panamense Inflorescence buds
  • Protium panamense flower
  • Protium panamense Inflorescence
  • Protium panamense Inflorescence
  • Protium panamense flower plant
  • Protium panamense flower plant
  • Protium panamense fruit
  • Protium panamense fruit