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Useful Tropical Plants

Bursera simaruba

(L.) Sarg.

Burseraceae

+ Synonyms

Bursera gummifera L.

Bursera ovalifolia (Schldl.) Engl.

Elaphrium ovalifolium Schltdl.

Elaphrium simaruba (L.) Rose.

Pistacia simaruba L.

Common Name: Gum Tree

Bursera simaruba
Tree growing in the open
Photograph by: josuerne
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0
Bursera simaruba Bursera simaruba Bursera simaruba Bursera simaruba

General Information

Gum tree is a broad-headed, aromatic tree with an attractive coppery bark[
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.
]. It generally grows to about 18 metres tall, but can reach 27 metres in Belize[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. The bole is unbuttressed and can be 60cm in diameter, though it tends to split low down into secondary boles[
510
Title
Trees of Costa Rica's Pacific Slope
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cds.ed.cr/teachers/harmon/page1.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on over 80 species of tree from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
]. Forest grown trees are usually tall and slender with a fairly straight bole; when growing in open positions the trees are generally short and often crooked[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].
The tree is often exploited in the wild, especially for its resin, but is seldom cultivated for this purpose since it regenerates rapidly under natural conditions[
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.
]. It makes a good specimen tree and is often planted for shade on streets and beaches within its natural range[
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.
,
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.
].

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, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana; north through the Caribbean to Florida; C. America - Panama to Guatemala.

Habitat

Generally found in dry forests, but sometimes in wetter forests; common in advanced secondary growth[
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.
]. In the wetter areas of its range it is more likely to be found growing on slopes where the soil is shallow and dries quickly[
510
Title
Trees of Costa Rica's Pacific Slope
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cds.ed.cr/teachers/harmon/page1.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on over 80 species of tree from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitTree
Height25.00 m
PollinatorsInsects, especially bees
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the tropical regions of Central America, where it is found growing at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
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.
]. It prefers areas where the mean annual temperature is in the range 18 - 25°c, and the mean annual rainfall is 800 - 3,000mm[
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.
].
Prefers a sunny position and a well-drained soil[
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.
]. Grows on a range of soils, including Lithosols, Vertisols and Oxisols[
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.
]. Succeeds in dry soils[
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.
]. Established plants are drought resistant[
510
Title
Trees of Costa Rica's Pacific Slope
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cds.ed.cr/teachers/harmon/page1.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on over 80 species of tree from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
].
Plants can be pruned back very hard and will resprout successfully[
510
Title
Trees of Costa Rica's Pacific Slope
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cds.ed.cr/teachers/harmon/page1.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on over 80 species of tree from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
].
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required[
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.
].

Edible Uses

The leaves are used as a tea substitute[
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

The resin obtained from the bark is diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and vulnerary[
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.
,
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
]. It is used in the treatment of dropsy, dysentery and yellow fever[
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.
]. It is an effective vulnerary[
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:

Trees are used as living fence to delimit pastures, using stakes 1 - 3 metres long, 10 - 15cm thick, and spaced 3 metres or more apart[
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

The bark yields a balsam resin known as American elemi, cachibok or gomart[
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.
]. It is used in varnishes and as a substitute for gum arabic (from Acacia spp.)[
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.
]. It is painted on canoes to preserve the wood from insects 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.
]. It is also used as a glue for mending broken china and glass[
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.
,
510
Title
Trees of Costa Rica's Pacific Slope
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cds.ed.cr/teachers/harmon/page1.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on over 80 species of tree from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
]. Used by the Maya as an incense since ancient times[
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.
], it is still concentrated, dried and used in modern South America as incense in churches[
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.
,
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 aromatic resin is a natural insect repellent, and no pests or diseases are reported for this species[
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 heartwood is white, yellowish, or light brown; it is not differentiated from the sapwood. Both the heartwood and sapwood are often discoloured to a gray by sap-staining fungi[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. The texture is fine to medium; the grain fairly straight; lustre is moderate and there is no distinctive taste or odour. The wood is soft, light in weight, firm, tough, not very durable in contact with the soil[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. It works easily with all types of tools and machines; saws cleanly; planes to a smooth finish; drills cleanly with some tearing at the exit side; and turns readily on the lathe. The wood takes all stains and polishes well and holds nails firmly without splitting[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
]. It is used for veneer, as plywood for interior use, in rustic furniture, for rough boxes and crates, as handles for tools, as soles for sandals, for match sticks and toothpicks, to build cabinets, to make decorative articles[
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.
].
When thoroughly dry, the wood is used as firewood or charcoal[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed. Forty per cent germination occurs within 20 days[
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.
].
Seed storage behaviour is orthodox. Seeds remain viable for 10 months[
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.
].
Cuttings root easily. Even large branches 1 - 3 metres long will produce roots[
510
Title
Trees of Costa Rica's Pacific Slope
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.cds.ed.cr/teachers/harmon/page1.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on over 80 species of tree from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-04-19. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Bursera+simaruba>

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