Brasilettia velutina Britton & Rose
Caesalpinia velutina is an unarmed, deciduous tree with a broad crown; it can grow 5 - 12 metres tall. The bole can be 30cm in diameter[
The tree is valued particularly by local people as a good quality fuel, and is also harvested from the wild for its wood. It is planted as an ornamental, valued especially for its bright yellow flowers[
C. America - Guatemala to southern Mexico.
Dry, rocky, brushy or thinly forested hillsides at elevations from 250 - 1,000 metres in Guatemala[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A plant of drier to moist areas in the tropics, where it can be found at elevtions up to 950 metres. It grows best in areas where the mean annual temperatures are around 21°c, and the mean annual rainfall in the range 450 - 2,500mm. It can tolerate up to 8 months dry season a year[
Prefers a pH around 5.5[
]. Requires an open, well-drained soil[
This species is believed to be dioecious, in which case both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
The tree is used in reforestation projects. It is also suitable for enrichment planting, particularly in the matorral forests of Mexico, and is planted for the protection of watersheds[
It is often intercropped with agricultural crops where soil protection is desired, providing a good deal of mulch through its complete leaf loss during the dry season[
The wood is dense, hard and durable. It is used in house construction, tools, agricultural implements, rough furniture and fence posts[
The tree produces a high quality firewood and charcoal. It splits easily and burns slowly with little smoke, dries
quickly and stores well[
]. It can also be burnt green in mixture with dry wood[
Seed - sown fresh and still moist, it needs no pre-treatment, but stored seed benefits from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination[
]. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
The seed can be direct-sown with agricultural crops in agroforestry systems to benefit from crop weeding as this is
necessary in the early stages[
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