Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Sapium caudatum

Pitt., Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 20:127.1918

Monoecious tree, to 30 m tall and 90 cm dbh, glabrous all over. Trunk weakly buttressed; younger trunks and branches bearing short, stout, branched spines; outer bark thin, hard, in ± rectangular patches, easily peeling, with horizontal scars 6-20 cm long staggered on trunk; inner bark very granular; sap copious, milky, especially in branches. Leaves alternate, simple, somewhat cori­aceous; stipules ca 1 mm long, triangular, subpersistent; petioles 2-5.5 cm long, with 2 stipitate glands near apex; blades oblong-elliptic to obovate, with a hooded acumen, obtuse at base, (9) 13-18 (27) cm long, 3-5 (8) cm wide, the margins revolute, irregularly and minutely toothed; juvenile leaves thinner, the teeth much longer and          gland-­tipped. Spikes solitary, terminal or in uppermost axils, bisexual, to 25 cm long; corolla and disk lacking; stami­nate flowers globular to pyriform, to 1.3 mm long, in groups of 7-14, inserted on axis above a minute bract, the bract bearing a pair of flattened glands ca 3 mm long, the flowers and glands violet-purple; calyx 4-lobed, ca 0.5 mm long, the pairs of lobes unequal; stamens 2, included; anthers extrorse; pollen orange, tacky; pistillate flowers 5-10, solitary at basal nodes, the bract as in staminate flowers but usually larger; calyx (2) 3-5-lobed, sometimes obscurely so; ovary orbicular; styles 3, simple, ca 2 mm long, united only at base, in part deciduous. Capsules ovoid, to 1 cm long,               short-stipitate, with 6 longitudinal grooves, splitting into 3 segments; seeds 1 per segment,     compressed-ovoid, ca 6 mm long, minutely warty, covered most of its length at maturity with a bright red, thin, pulpy layer. Croat 14998, Foster 1787.

Occasional in the forest. Flowers from late May to July. The fruits mature from July to September. Leaves fall in the early dry season, usually in February, and grow back toward the end of the dry season or in the early rainy season.

Range uncertain, possibly restricted to Panama where it is known principally from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Veraguas, Panama, and Darién and also from lower montane wet forest in Chiriqui (near Cerro Punta).

See Fig. 325.