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Useful Tropical Plants

Couma macrocarpa

Barb.Rodr.

Apocynaceae

+ Synonyms

Couma capiron Pittier

Couma caurensis Pittier

Couma guatemalensis Standl.

Couma sapida Pittier

Common Name: Barca

Couma macrocarpa
Canopy of 18 metre tall tree
Photograph by: Candre. A.
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Couma macrocarpa Couma macrocarpa Couma macrocarpa

General Information

Barca is a large or medium-sized, evergreen tree with thick, dark-coloured bark[
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/
]. It usually grows 12 - 28 metres tall with a bole 50 - 80cm in diameter[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. Some specimens have been known to attain a height of 40 metres, with a bole as much as 1 metre in diameter[
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/
].
This is one of the most interesting of Central American trees, with an edible latex that can be drunk like milk[
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/
]. It also provides an edible fruit and useful wood. The fruit is sometimes sold in local markets[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

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/

Range

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

Habitat

Low wet mixed forest, or often seen in cleared pastures, at or a little above sea level[
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/
]. A climax tree of the rainforest, found mainly on well-drained sites in upland areas of the Amazon[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitTree
Height25.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

A tree of the lowland humid tropics.
Prefers a shady position

Edible Uses

When the bark is cut or broken, there issues from it a rich creamy latex that is sweet and palatable[
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/
,
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. It is not very sticky and may be drunk like cow's milk[
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/
].
A latex obtained from the trunk can be used to make chewing gum[
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.
].

Fruit - raw[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. The succulent pulp is sweet and extremely glutinous[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. It contains latex[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. The globose, yellow-green fruit is about 6cm in diameter, containing a few seeds[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

An infusion of the leaves is used as a beverage[
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/
].

Medicinal

A latex in the stems can be used in the treatment of amoebiasis, including amoebic dysentery[
739
Title
Medicinal Plants of Brazil
Publication
 
Author
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A.
Publisher
Reference Publications; Michigan.
Year
2000
ISBN
0-917256-42-5
Description
An extremely concise book, listing approximately 1,500 species and varieties of plants with their botanical name, common name in Brazil, regions in Brazil where the plant is found, a brief list of uses and any medically active compounds in the plant.
].

Other Uses

A latex exudes from the cut or broken bark. When boiled in water it gives a product similar to gutta-percha that can be used for caulking canoes[
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/
].
Gutta-percha is a natural latex obtained from the sap of the tree. Allowing this fluid to evaporate and coagulate in the sun produces a hard and durable latex which can be made flexible again with hot water, but which does not become brittle. Prior to the advent of synthetic materials, gutta-percha had a wide range of uses - most particularly as an insulating material for electricity wiring and for underwater telegraph wires, a purpose for which it is very well suited since it is bio-inert and so is not attacked by marine plants or animals. Gutta-percha can be moulded into any shape and has been used to make items such as ornate furniture, pistol grips, acid-resistant receptacles and ‘mourning’ jewellery, where its dark colour was an advantage. It has been widely used as the core of golf balls and is still used in modern dentistry where its bio-inertness makes it ideal as a temporary filling for teeth and as a filling material inside tooth fillings[
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.
,
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.
].

The heartwood is cream-coloured or pale brown, often with a pinkish tinge; there is no sharp demarcation from the sapwood. The texture is medium; the grain fairly straight to inter- locked; luster rather low to medium; odour and taste not distinctive. The wood is light in weight; moderately hard; natural durability is low and the wood is prone to attacks by blue-stain fungi. It is easy to both air dry and kiln dry, with little or no degrade due to warping or checking. The wood is easy to work with all tools, however there is some difficulty to generate smooth surfaces on quarter-sawn stock due to the interlocked grain; it is easy to nail and screw; and generally finishes well. The wood is used for interior millwork, general construction, furniture components, veneer for plywood, particleboard and fiberboard, boxes and crates[
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.
,
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/
,
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

Propagation

Seed - of short viability, it should be sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a nursery seedbed or in individual containers[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
]. A germination rate in excess of 70% can be expected, with the seeds sprouting within 25 - 35 days[
625
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 3.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2009
ISBN
85-86714-34-4
Description
Information on 350 species of Brazilian trees. Stunning photographs of each species, brief details on the plant, its uses and how to grow it from seed. A superb work, with the minor irritation that the translation from Portuguese is not of the best.
].

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