Capparis ternata Tafalla
Cleome arborea Kunth
Crateva acuminata DC.
Crateva apetala Urb.
Crateva bahiana Ule
Crateva benthamii Eichler
Crateva coriacea Herzog
Crateva glauca Lundell
Crateva gynandra L.
Crateva radiatiflora Ruiz & Pav. ex DC.
Crateva tapioides DC.
Common Name: Tapia
Photograph by: Rapper Ouriço
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Tapia is an evergreen tree growing from 5 - 18 metres tall with a rounded, dense crown and dense foliage[
]. The bole is usually crooked and more or less cylindrical, it can be 20 - 40cm in diameter[
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for its edible fruit. All parts of the plant have a garlic-like aroma and, for this reason the fruit is not usually greatly appreciated[
]. The wood is sometimes used for posts etc, and as a source of pulp]331,
]. The tree is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
The roots are acrid, and it is stated that the juice, when in contact with the skin, produces blisters[
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean.
Low elevations in dry or wet forests, common in grassland and dry areas, and also found in swampy or flooded locations[
]. Moist or wet forest or thickets, usually near sea level, but extending to elevations of 1,400 metres in Guatemala[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
A tree of lowland tropical areas.
Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Often found on heavy clay soils in the wild, the plant can also tolerate some salinity[
Fruit - raw[
]. A succulent pulp with a sweet flavour[
]. The gritty pulp of ripe fruit is edible[
]. The globose fruit is 4 to 9 cm in diameter, green, turning yellow when ripe[
]. The fruits give off a disagreeable odour after they have fallen from the tree and begin to decompose - this has led to people believing that it is not edible[
The bark, fruits and leaves are used medicinally[
The bark is a bitter tonic and febrifuge[
]. It is used in poultices to treat whitlow[
The stembark contains beta-amyrin, lupeol and betulinic acid[
A natural pioneer species within its native range, it is suitable for use in reforestation projects of degraded areas[
Healthy looking plants are seen as an indication of fertile soils[
The flowers are a good source of honey for bees[
The wood ashes are a rich source of potash[
The heartwood is yellow; the thick band of sapwood is nearly white, sometimes becoming yellowish upon exposure to light. Texture is medium; grain is very fine; it has an odour suggestive of garlic. It is only moderately hard; moderately heavy; not very strong fairly; brittle; not durable. It is very easy to work. A low value wood, it is suitable for minor carpentry, is used in rural construction, for fence posts, boxes, traditional canoes etc[
]. The wood is a source of pulp for making paper[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed[
]. Germination rates are usually below 50%, with the seed sprouting within 2 - 3 weeks[
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