Chichaea acerifolia C.Presl.
Chichaea hilariana C.Presl.
Clompanus apetalus (Jacq.) Kuntze
Clompanus chichus (A.St.-Hil. ex Turpin) Kuntze
Clompanus haenkeanus Kuntze
Clompanus punctatus (DC.) Kuntze
Helicteres apetala Jacq.
Sterculia acerifolia (C.Presl) Hemsl.
Sterculia carthaginensis Cav.
Sterculia chicha A.St.-Hil.
Common Name: Panama Tree
Panama tree is a large, deciduous tree with an attractive, dense, umbrella-shaped crown; it can grow from 10 - 24 metres or more tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 1 metre in diameter, buttressed and often with prop roots at the base[
The tree produces an edible seed which is often gathered from the wild for local use and local trade. They are not widely popular[
]. It is also a souce of medicines and oil for local use and of wood, which is used locally and also traded, The tree is widely planted in the tropics as a source of edible seeds, timber and to provide shade[
S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela; C. America - Panama to southern Mexico.
Secondary forest, old-growth forest, and in residential areas[
]. Found mainly in fertile, sandy and calcareous soils in areas not subject to periodic inundation[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
A plant of the moist tropics.
Grows best in a fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny, sheltered position[
]. Found mainly in fertile, sandy and calcareous soils in the wild[
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
A fast-growing species[
Flowering habit is variable. In some areas the tree only flowers once every two years, whilst in others it can flower twice each year[
]. The fruits take about 12 months to mature[
Seed - raw or cooked[
]. They can be roasted or fried[
]. A slightly sweet, pleasant flavour[
]. Somewhat almond-like[
]. The roasted and ground seeds are mixed with water to form a beverage or sweetmeat[
]. There are 4 - 8 seeds, each up to 25mm long, in each fruit[
An oil is obtained from the seeds[
An oil extracted from the seeds is used externally to treat skin eruptions[
The plant (part not specified) is pectoral. It is used in the treatment of catarrh[
The tree is often planted to provide shade[
An oil obtained from the seeds is used in making paints and for lubricating watches[
The heartwood is light brown, reddish brown, or yellowish brown; it is not sharply demarcated from the 4 - 6cm wide band of yellowish sapwood. The texture is medium to coarse; the grain straight to irregular; the lustre medium. The wood is light to moderately heavy; soft; not durable. It seasons at a normal rate, with a high risk of checking and distortion; once dry it is poorly stable in service. It is generally reported to be easy to work with both hand and machine tools, though tools need to be kept very sharp in order to avoid fuzzy surfaces and obtain a good finish; nailing and screwing are good; gluing is correct. The wood is used for making canoes, coffins, boxes and crates, furniture components, interior construction, flooring, general carpentry, plywood, particleboard, millwork etc[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in individual containers. A high germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 20 - 30 days[
A physical dormancy caused by the hard seed coat of the mature seeds of many species in this genus can be overcome by scarifying the seed. This is carried out by cutting away or abrading some of the seed coat to allow the ingress of water, though great care must be taken not to damage the embryo[
]. The aril surrounding the seed should also be removed - this is easiest when it has been softened through soaking in water[
]. The seeds germinate optimally at temperatures between 20 - 30°c. They can be sown in a nursery seedbed or in containers. A germination rate of about 95%, occurring within about 2 weeks can be expected if the seed has been properly treated[
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