Cecropia purpurascens is an evergreen tree with an open, sparse crown; it can grow 5 - 7 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 15 - 25cm in diameter[
The tree is harvested from the wild as a local source of food, wood and fibre. It is very ornamental and can be used in landscaping[
The branches and leaf petioles of Cecropia species are often hollow and can harbour stinging ants. The trees attract the ants by means of producing a honey-like sap and the ants respond by working to keep the tree free of leaf-eating pests - which can include humans[
S. America - northwest Brazil.
Secondary forests in areas not subject to periodic inundation[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Plants in this genus generally prefer a sunny position in a well-drained soil[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
A fast-growing, but short-lived tree[
A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.
Fruit - raw[
]. A fleshy pulp with a sweetish flavour when ripe[
]. The finger-shaped, aggregate fruit can be 150mm long and 15mm wide[
With their sparse canopy and attractive foliage that is green above and silver-felted below, members of this genus generally provide a dramatic canopy but only cast a very light shade, allowing other plants to be grown right up to the base of their trunk[
]. Many members of the genus can be used as pioneer species when developing a new woodland[
The fibrous bark is used for making rustic ropes[
The wood is thick-textured, straight-grained, light in weight, soft and not durable[
]. Because of its low quality and small dimensions, the wood is only used for low value items such as boxes, toothpicks, shoe heels, pencils etc[
]. Because it is light in weight, it can be used like balsa wood to make aeroplane models etc[
]. It is also pulped as a source of cellulose[
Seed - requires light to germinate. It can be sown in light shade in a nursery seedbed, but should not be covered, just lightly pressed into the soil[
]. Germination rates are usually moderate, with the seed commencing to sprout after about 3 weeks[
Greenwood cuttings in a frame with bottom heat.
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