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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 4/5/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 4/5/2013)
Species Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg.
PlaceOfPublication Gard. & Forest 3: 260. 1890.
Synonym Pistacia simaruba L., Sp. P1. 1026. 1753. Bursera gummifera L., Sp. P1. ed. 2. 471. 1762. Terebinthus simaruba (L.) W. F. Wight in Rose, Contr. U. S. Natl. Herb. 10: 122. 1906. Elaphrium simaruba (L.) Rose, N. Amer. Fl. 25: 246. 1911.
Description Trees, 5-20 m high; bark coppery-red, shiny, thin, peeling off in thin papery sheets to expose a smooth bright-green layer; branchlets glabrous to rarely yellow-
Habit Trees
Description ish-woolly, becoming reddish-brown, covered with yellowish lenticels and con- spicuously marked by large elevated cordate leaf scars. Leaves odd-pinnate, 21- 35 cm long and 12-23.5 cm wide; petioles puberulent basally and sparingly pubescent above, or glabrous to rarely yellowish-woolly, 7-11.5 cm long; leaf- lets 5-7(-9), long-acuminate, inequilateral basally, the laterals broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, the terminals obovate, membranaceous to coriaceous, the margins entire, conspicuously lanate when young to nearly glabrate in age, becoming sparingly pubescent above, at least the veins pubescent beneath, slightly shiny above, paler beneath, the blades 4.5-14.5 cm long and 2.5-8 cm wide; petiolules pubescent to glabrous, 5-31 mm long; rachis not winged. Inflorescences usually glabrous, reddish; staminate 17-28 cm long, longer than the young leaves; car- pellate 4-10.5 cm long, ca. as long as the young leaves. Flowers 3- or 5-merous, with glabrous pedicels 2-4 mm long in flower and 5-16 mm long in fruit; staminate 5-merous, the calyx shallowly 5-lobed, the lobes less than 1 mm long, the petals 5, ovate-elliptic, acute and incurved apically, 2-2.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, the stamens 10, ca. as long as the petals, the filaments 1.5 mm long, the disc 5-lobed; carpellate 3-merous, the calyx lobes 3, the petals 3, ovate, acute and incurved apically, 2 mm long and ca. 1 mm wide, the stamens 6, ca. half as long as the petals, the ovary 3-loculed, ovoid, ca. 2 mm high, the stigma 3-lobed. Fruits subglobular, pointed at both ends, slightly 3-angled, green to bright pink, maturing reddish-brown and drying brownish, 8-13 mm long and 7-9 mm in diameter, dehiscing by 3 obovate valves; pyrenes 1(-2), 1-seeded, 3- angled, bony, lenticular-ovoid, pinkish to whitish, attached to the pedicel by a persistent whitish column ca. 2 mm long.
Distribution Widespread throughout the Caribbean region, occurring from coastal north- eastern Mexico through Central America, and southern Florida through the West Indies, to Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela. In Panama flowering from mid- March to mid-June, and collected in fruit in all months but September.
Note Bursera simaruba is both widespread and variable. Panamanian collections tend to have leaves and leaflets that are larger than those seen from elsewhere, and there is some variation within the isthmus in terms of leaflet size, shape, and pubescence. However, the combination of a thin, papery, coppery-red, peeling bark, and the complete loss of leaves during the dry season, make this tree imme- diately recognizable in the field. Perhaps there is more than one taxon represented by what has been called B. simaruba, as pointed out by Williams and Cuatrecasas (Trop. Woods 110: 32. 1959), but this cannot be determined until a thorough review is made of the genus.
Specimen CANAL ZONE: Barro Colorado Island, shore N of Fuertes House, Woodworth & Vestal 741 (A); Fuertes Inlet, Shattuck 1023 (F, MO); shoreline of Miller Peninsula S of Orchid Isle, Croat 6723 (MO); Pefia Blanca Point, Shattuck 498 (F, MO), shoreline, large cove, Croat 8372 (MO); S of island (Barro Colorado Island?), P. White 114 (F, MO). Farfan Beach area, Tyson 1804 (MO). Fort Amador, on causeway and islands, Tyson 2023 (MO). Near beach at Fort Kobbe, Duke 4219 (MO). Seedlings, across street from Gorgas Hospital, Duke & Bristan 8302 (MO). Madden Dam, second growth, Ebinger 833 (MO); cut-over area across highway from Small Boat Landing, Lewis et al. 5297 (MO). Vicinity of Mira- flores Lake, moist shaded habitat, G. White 159 (GH, MO). Sosa Hill, Balboa, brushy slope, occasional, Standley 26483 (A, US). CHIRIQUI: Progreso, Cooper & Slater 313 (US). Rio San Cristobal, 2 mi. W of David, alt. 150 ft, Tyson 920 (MO). COCLE: Penonome and vicinity, alt. 50-1000 ft, Williams 439 (US). DARIEN: Forests around Pinogana, Pit- tier 6566 (US). Headwaters of Rio Chico, heavy forest, alt. 500-700 ft, Allen 4644 (MO). Rio Pucro, below village of Pucro, Duke 13117 (MO). HERRERA: Vicinity of Ocui, alt. 100 m, Allen 4064 (MO). PANAMA: Cermefio, Dwyer & Robyns 111 (MO). Farfan Beach Road, Kirkbride & Elias 67 (MO). Isla Espiritu Santo, common, Duke 10432 (MO). Isla San Jose, East Harbor, rocky bluffs, Erlanson 158 (GH, US); Main Beach, rocky coastal bluff, Erlanson 107 (GH, US); rocky cliffs near sea, Johnston 63 (GH). Isla Taboga, moist thicket, Standley 27077 (US); moist wooded slope, common, Standley 27928 (US); alt. ca. 0-186 m, Woodson et al. 1503 (A, F, MO). 2 mi. N of La Chorrera, secondary forest, Lewis et al. 5190 (MO). Near Playa Rio Mar, thorn forest, coastal scrub, and Curatella savanna, alt. 10-100 ft, Duke 11781 (US). Rio Mar, Tyson et al. 2306 (US). Roadside savanna between Rio Pacora and Chepo, Dwyer et al. 5114 (MO). Near Rio Tapia, Juan Diaz region, Maxon & Harvey 6638 (US). Near big swamp E of Rio Tocutman, wet forest, Standley 26583 (US). Sabana de Juan Corso, near Chepo, alt. 60-80 m, Pittier 4670 (GH, US). VERAGUAS: Vicinity of Santa Fe-Rio Santa Maria, alt. 1000 ft, Allen 4423 (MO).
Note In Panama Bursera simaruba occurs in areas where the vegetation is decidu- ous seasonal forest, monsoon forest, and evergreen seasonal forest. It appears to be a species of advanced secondary growth. Seemann (The Botany of the Voyage of H. M. S. Herald, p. 118) reported that, "This tree is of middle size; it is used for making fences; the wood is easy to cut, and the sticks, when put into the ground, soon produce young shoots. The gum that exudes from the stem is applied to wounds, and considered to have very beneficial effects." Comments on the labels of many recent collections attest that Bursera simaruba still has its uses, both medicinally and as living fence posts. As is to be expected with a plant both common and economically important, a number of common names have been recorded for Bursera simaruba. Those used in Panama are almacigo (fide Cooper & Slater 313 and Standley 27928), carate (fide Standley 27928), gumbo-limbo (fide Woodworth & Vestal 741), hue-chi-chi (fide Allen 4644), and palo mulatto (fide Maxon & Harvey 6638).
 
 
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