Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Tovomitopsis nicaraguensis

Oerst. ex Planch. & Tr., Ann. Sci. Nat. Bot., ser. 4,14:266.1860

Tovomita nicaraguensis (Oerst.) L. O. Wms.; Chrysochlamys eclipes L. O. Wms.

Polygamous or dioecious shrub or small tree, 3-11 m tall, to 24 cm dbh, essentially glabrous; sap yellow, not copi­ous. Petioles to 3 cm long; blades elliptic, acuminate, acute at base, mostly 12-22 cm long, 4.5-11 cm wide, moderately thick, drying brown to rusty, especially be­low; lateral veins in 6-11 pairs. Panicles terminal, to 16 cm long, the branches divaricate, each subtended by a small bract; pedicels stout, ca 5 mm long; flowers bisex­ual, ca 5 mm long, arranged in dichasia; sepals 5, reddish, broadly rounded, concave, very unequal, the outermost reduced, the inner few with the margin thin, ± erose; petals 5, yellow, ovate, ca 4 mm long, ± concave, thick medially, thin along the margin; staminate flowers not seen (possibly lacking); bisexual flowers with the stamens to ca 20, ca 1.5 mm long, of irregular sizes, longer and shorter ones generally alternating; filaments flattened and fused to at least the middle; pistil ca 2 mm long; stigmas 5, pitlike, subapical. Fruits red, round to obovoid, ca 2 cm long, with 5 black dots at the apex (style bases), dehiscing into 5 parts at maturity to expose seeds; valves thick, 3-4 cm long, tasting bitter even at maturity; seeds 1 per carpel, ± oblong, black, ca 1 cm long, mounted between the wings of the 5-lobed central column, the aril white, not sweet but edible. Croat 4651, 11479,12663.

Common in the old forest. Flowers from July to Sep­tember. The fruits mature in late dry and early rainy seasons (March to June).

It is uncertain if the species is dioecious or, as is often the case in the Guttiferae, polygamous.

Nicaragua to Panama. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, and Darien and from premontane wet forest in the Canal Zone (Pipeline Road) and Panama (Cerro Jefe). See Fig. 393.