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Useful Tropical Plants

Muntingia calabura

L.

Muntingiaceae

+ Synonyms

Muntingia rosea H.Karst.

Common Name: Calabura

Muntingia calabura
Tree growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Judgefloro
Creative Commons License
Muntingia calabura Muntingia calabura Muntingia calabura Muntingia calabura Muntingia calabura

General Information

Calabura is a rapidly growing, small, evergreen shrub or a tree with a short, broad, spreading crown; it can grow from 3 - 12 metres tall[
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 short bole can be up to 20cm in diameter[
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 lower branches often touch the ground[
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 tree is occasionally cultivated for its edible fruits[
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 flowers over a long period, even on young plants[
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.
]. There are both red and yellow fruited forms[
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.
]. It is also sometimes grown as an ornamental and amenity shade tree[
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.
,
942
Title
Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) No. 16
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
The Forest Herbarium; Bangkok.
Year
1986
ISBN
0495-3843
Description
A botanical journal, publishing papers on taxonomy (especially vascular plants), nomenclature, phylogeny, systematics, plant geography, and floristics; also morphology, palynology, cytotaxonomy, chemotaxonomy, anatomy and other relevant disciplines.
].

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.
,
426
Title
Flowering Plants of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Adams. C.D.
Publisher
University of the West Indies; Jamaica.
Year
1972
ISBN
 
Description
A terse treatment of the flowering plants of Jamaica, with a botanical description of each plant, notes on habitat etc.

Range

Western S. America, north to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Habitat

Well-drained limestone banks and in thickets at elevations from sea level to 600 metres in Jamaica[
426
Title
Flowering Plants of Jamaica
Publication
 
Author
Adams. C.D.
Publisher
University of the West Indies; Jamaica.
Year
1972
ISBN
 
Description
A terse treatment of the flowering plants of Jamaica, with a botanical description of each plant, notes on habitat etc.
]. A typical pioneer species, colonizing disturbed sites in tropical lowlands[
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.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height9.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees
Self-fertileYes
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland tropics, where it is found at elevations up to 1,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 22 - 32°c, but can tolerate 10 - 36°c[
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.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,400 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 1,000 - 2,400mm[
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.
].
Probably tolerant of most soil types[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The tree has the reputation of thriving with no care in poor soils and it does well in both acid and alkaline soils and even on old tin tailings[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 - 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7[
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.
,
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.
]. Established plants are drought resistant[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. The plant requires a sheltered position, the wide-spread branches tend to break in high winds[
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 tree is often cultivated as an ornamental and shade tree. With its ability to colonise disturbed ground, even on well-trodden land that other trees cannot become established, this tree has spread to many areas of the tropics[
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.
,
942
Title
Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) No. 16
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
The Forest Herbarium; Bangkok.
Year
1986
ISBN
0495-3843
Description
A botanical journal, publishing papers on taxonomy (especially vascular plants), nomenclature, phylogeny, systematics, plant geography, and floristics; also morphology, palynology, cytotaxonomy, chemotaxonomy, anatomy and other relevant disciplines.
]. It has proved to be invasive in many regions[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].
Seedlings flower within two years due to their fast growth[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
,
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.
]. Air-layered plants fruit straight away[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].
The plant can establish itself in trodden yards and along shop fronts where no other tree takes root, and it can also withstand the air pollution in city streets[
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.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked[
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.
]. A sweet juicy flesh, they are very good to eat out of hand and can also be used in jams, tarts, pies etc[
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.
,
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 fruit is intensely, almost nauseatingly, sweet[
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/
]. The fruit is much loved by children[
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 fruit is about 12mm in diameter and has a high vitamin C content[
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.
].

A tea is made from the leaves[
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.
,
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

Medicinal

The flowers are said to possess antiseptic properties[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. An infusion of the flowers is valued as an antispasmodic[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
,
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.
]. It is taken to relieve headache and the first symptoms of a cold[
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.
,
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The tree has an incredible property for very quick establishment. It is a typical pioneer species and is found colonizing disturbed sites in tropical lowlands[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].

Other Uses

The pliable bark can be used as rough cordage[
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.
]. A tough, silk-like fibre can be obtained from the bark and is used for lashing supports and making rope[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
]. It is also used for basket making[
307
Title
Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Barwick. M.
Publisher
Thames & Hudson, London
Year
2004
ISBN
0-500-51181-0
Description
A superb book, very concise and well written, giving a wealth of information on 400 or more species including descriptions, habitat, cultivation details and plant uses. A wealth of colour photographs bring each plant vividly to life.
].

The wood is valued in Brazil as a source of paper pulp[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].

The sapwood is yellowish and the heartwood is reddish brown, firm, compact, fine grained, moderately strong, light in weight, durable indoors and easily worked. It is useful for interior sheathing, making small boxes, casks and general carpentry[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].
The wood is soft and is valued mostly as fuel as it ignites quickly, burns with intense heat and gives off very little smoke. It is also used as wood for cooking[
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.
,
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
,
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.
].

Propagation

Seed - The seed requires light to germinate[
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.
]. Fresh seed germination is enhanced by passage through the digestive tract of bats and birds. The seed is well represented in the seed banks of forest soils and requires high temperature and light conditions for germination[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
]. The seedlings do not tolerate shade[
306
Title
Under-Utilized Tropical Fruits of Thailand. RAP Publication 2001/26
Publication
 
Author
Suranant Subhadrabandhu
Publisher
F. A. O., The United Nations, Bangkok.
Year
2001
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed report on 35 fruit species that could have potential for increased production in Thailand.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood
Air layering.


Planters use fresh seeds mixed with the sweet juice of the fruit to sow directly into
the field. To prepare seeds for planting, water is added repeatedly to the squeezed-out
seeds and juice, and as the seeds sink to the bottom of the container, the water is poured
off several times until the seeds are clean enough. They are then dried in the shade.

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