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Useful Tropical Plants

Brosimum alicastrum

Sw.

Moraceae

+ Synonyms

Alicastrum brownie Kuntze

Brosimum bernadetteae Woodson

Brosimum columbianum S.F.Blake

Brosimum gentlei Lundell

Brosimum latifolium Standl.

Brosimum terrabanum Pittier

Brosimum uleanum Mildbr.

Ficus faginea Kunth & C.D.Bouché

Helicostylis bolivarensis Pittier

Helicostylis latifolia Pittier

Helicostylis ojoche K. Schum. ex Pittier

Piratinera alicastrum (Sw.) Baill.

Urostigma fagineum (Kunth & C.D.Bouché) Miq.

Common Name: Breadnut

Brosimum alicastrum
Canopy
Photograph by: Congobongo1041
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-us
Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum Brosimum alicastrum

General Information

Breadnut is an evergreen tree with a globose crown; it can grow up to 45 metres tall, though is usually smaller. The straight, cylindrical bole can be free of branches for up to 22 metres, 30 - 10,0cm in diameter with moderately large buttresses[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
,
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
,
333
Title
Tree Species of Panama
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ctfs.arnarb.harvard.edu/webatlas/mainframe.php?order=s
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Factsheets on all the tree and shrub species of Panama, giving identification guide, brief guide to the species and some uses. A vast, but rather incomplete work as of 15/07/09.
,
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
,
551
Title
A Century of Trees of Panama.
Publication
 
Author
Pittier H. Mell C.D.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A work that was very difficult to get published according to the correspondence contained at the start!. A treatment of 100 different species with descriptions and details of uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana; C. America - Panama to Mexico.

Habitat

A canopy tree in seasonally flooded or dry limestone woodland[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. Moist or wet forest, ascending to about 1,000 metres but mostly at 300 metres or less in Guatemala[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height30.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsWind
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

The plant grows naturally lowland areas of hot, humid, tropical climates with a seasonal dry period[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 25°c, but can tolerate 12 - 35°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When established, it can tolerate occasional, short-lived, light frosts[
377
Title
Trade Winds Fruit
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The on-line catalogue of a company selling seeds. Gives descriptions, photos and uses of a very wide range of fruit and other food-producing plants plus ornamentals.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 600 - 4,000mm, but tolerates 500 - 5,000mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Of easy culture, it grows best in a humus-rich, fertile, moisture-retentive soil in full sun or light shade[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. Very tolerant of shallow, calcareous soils[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. Established plants are very drought tolerant and also tolerate seasonal flooding[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].
Plants can escape from cultivation and become weedy in some tropical areas[
377
Title
Trade Winds Fruit
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The on-line catalogue of a company selling seeds. Gives descriptions, photos and uses of a very wide range of fruit and other food-producing plants plus ornamentals.
].
Trees can commence producing fruit in 5 - 6 years from seed[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
].
Plants flower intermittently throughout the year[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
] and can produce two or three harvests[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
].

Edible Uses

Seed - raw or cooked[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. The raw seed has some bitterness[
335
Title
Perennial Edible Fruits of the Tropics : an Inventory
Publication
 
Author
Martin, F. W.; Campbell, C. W.; Rubertbe, R. M.
Publisher
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
Year
1987
ISBN
 
Description
A booklet giving terse details of almost 300 species of edible fruits, plus regional lists of Botanical and Common names for over 2,500 less well-known edible fruits of the tropics.
], whilst the roasted seed develops a nutty, cacao-like flavour[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. An agreeable and nourishing food with a flavour similar to hazel nuts[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. The seed can also be boiled and mashed like potatoes, or made into juice and marmalade[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. The ground up seeds can be made into a mash to mix with corn when making tortillas[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].
When steeped in water, the seeds make a coffee-like beverage[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].
The seed is the size of a small chestnut[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
]. The seed is produced inside a yellow fruit about 25mm in diameter - each fruit contains one seed[
63
Title
Nuts.
Publication
 
Author
Howes. F. N.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
Rather old but still a masterpiece. Has sections on tropical and temperate plants with edible nuts plus a section on nut plants in Britain. Very readable.
].

The yellow or orange fruit has a sweet, thin edible flesh surrounding the large seed[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. A sweet, agreeable flavour[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The globose fruit is 15 - 20mm in diameter[
369
Title
Flora of Costa Rica
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C.
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
Field Museum of Natural History; Chicago
Year
1938
ISBN
 
Description
Rather dated, but an excellent treatment of the area. Available for download from the internet.
].

The milky latex, which flows freely when the trunk is cut, resembles cream and when diluted with water is said to afford a substitute for cow's milk[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
,
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
]. The latex is also mixed with chicle[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

There is a belief in Yucatan that if the seeds are eaten by nursing women the flow of milk is increased[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The latex is mixed with water, warmed and drunk as a treatment for dry coughs and for itchy sore throat[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
The latex is applied directly on sores in the mouth and other parts of the body for healing[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree provides good shade and reduces the impact of strong winds[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].

Other Uses

A latex is obtained from the stems. It is sometimes mixed with chicle to make chewing gum[
377
Title
Trade Winds Fruit
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
The on-line catalogue of a company selling seeds. Gives descriptions, photos and uses of a very wide range of fruit and other food-producing plants plus ornamentals.
].

The heartwood is a yellowish to dark brown, tinged with red around knots and other defects; the thick band of sapwood is yellowish to nearly white. The texture is fine to medium; grain is straight to irregular and shallowly
interlocked; luster is low; without distinctive odour or taste. The wood is hard, heavy, very strong, tough, not very durable, being particularly vulnerable to insect attack. Because of its high density and silica content, the wood requires appropriate tools, when it becomes easy to moderately difficult to work, taking a good polish. It is used for general construction,carpentry, flooring, furniture, cabinet making etc[
46
Title
Dictionary of Economic Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Uphof. J. C. Th.
Publisher
Weinheim
Year
1959
ISBN
-
Description
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
,
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
,
316
Title
Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607.
Publication
 
Author
Chudnoff. Martin.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin.
Year
1984
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details on the properties of the wood of almost 400 species of trees from the Tropics.
,
333
Title
Tree Species of Panama
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ctfs.arnarb.harvard.edu/webatlas/mainframe.php?order=s
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Factsheets on all the tree and shrub species of Panama, giving identification guide, brief guide to the species and some uses. A vast, but rather incomplete work as of 15/07/09.
,
551
Title
A Century of Trees of Panama.
Publication
 
Author
Pittier H. Mell C.D.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A work that was very difficult to get published according to the correspondence contained at the start!. A treatment of 100 different species with descriptions and details of uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
Greenwood cuttings.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2020-03-29. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Brosimum+alicastrum>

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