Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Tabernaemontana arborea

Rose in Donn. Sm., Bot. Gaz. (Crawfordsville) 18:206. 1893

Wild orange

Tree, to 20 m tall and 55 cm dbh, weakly buttressed, sometimes involuted, usually glabrous; bark with small vertical rows of lenticels; wood hard, heavy; sap milky, copious. Leaves opposite; petioles 2-11 mm long, with a prominent interpetiolar ridge (leaving a prominent scar), glandular in axils; blades mostly elliptic to obovate, short-acuminate, obtuse to acute at base, 5-18 cm long, 2.5-6 cm wide, dotted with brown glands below. Cor­ymbs terminal; pedicels to 1 em long; bracteoles 1.5-2 mm long; flowers fragrant, many, 5-parted; calyx lobes ovate, 1.5-3 mm long, each with several slender squa­mellae inside at base; corolla white, the limb ca 2 cm wide, the tube to 9 mm long, swollen in basal half, pubes­cent inside above the point of staminal attachment; sta­mens included, attached just above base of tube; anthers ca 3.2 mm long, free; style and stigma 1, 5-lobed, ca 2 mm long; nectaries lacking. Follicles 2, reniform, to 7.3 cm long and 5 cm wide; exocarp roughened, splitting at maturity to expose orange matrix and brown seeds; seeds oblong, many, to 13 mm long, longitudinally striate. Croat 5242, 5419.

Common in and mostly restricted to the older forest. Flowers mainly from March to June. Flowering time and intensity may vary from year to year. R. Foster (pers. comm.) reports that in one year trees flowered synchro­nously and heavily over a few weeks, but that in the next year there was intermittent flowering over several months. Time of fruit maturity is uncertain, possibly during the dry season (January to March). The fruits are eaten by white-faced monkeys in June (J. Oppenheimer, pers. comm.).

Guatemala to Panama. In Panama, known from tropi­cal moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Panama, and Darien, from premontane wet forest in Panama, and from tropical wet and premontane rain forests in Darien (Cerro Pirre).

See Fig. 464.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Tabernaemontana arborea Inflorescence buds
  • Tabernaemontana arborea flower
  • Tabernaemontana arborea flower plant
  • Tabernaemontana arborea flower plant
  • Tabernaemontana arborea flower plant
  • Tabernaemontana arborea flower plant
  • Tabernaemontana arborea fruit
  • Tabernaemontana arborea immature-fruit
  • Tabernaemontana arborea leaf
  • Tabernaemontana arborea seed-dry