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Useful Tropical Plants

Virola sebifera

Aubl.

Myristicaceae

+ Synonyms

Myristica cordifolia Mart. ex A.DC.

Myristica fulva King

Myristica mocoa A.DC.

Myristica panamensis Hemsl.

Myristica sebifera (Aubl.) Sw.

Myristica virola Raeusch.

Palala mocoa (A.DC.) Kuntze

Palala panamensis (Hemsl.) Kuntze

Virola boliviensis Warb.

Virola mocoa (A.DC.) Warb.

Virola mycetis Pulle

Virola panamensis (Hemsl.) Warb.

Virola peruviana tomentosa Warb.

Virola venezuelensis Warb.

Virola warburgii Pittier

Common Name: Red Ucuba

Virola sebifera
Trunk and canopy
Photograph by: Indiana Coronado
Creative Commons License
Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera Virola sebifera

General Information

Red ucuba is a semideciduous tree with a wide, pyramidal crown; it can grow up to 40 metres tall. The straight, erect bole, which is often buttressed, can be free of branches for up to 23 metres and 30 - 40cm in diameter[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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.
,
551
Title
A Century of Trees of Panama.
Publication
 
Author
Pittier H. Mell C.D.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A work that was very difficult to get published according to the correspondence contained at the start!. A treatment of 100 different species with descriptions and details of uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
556
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol.49
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Contains part of a treatment of the Flora of Panama. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The tree is harvested from the wild for its timber, oil and medicinal uses. It is cultivated by the native people in the Amazon for its oil and medicinal uses[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. A very ornamental tree with an elegant shape, it has been used in reforestation projects and is recommended for landscaping, especially street planting[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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


Range

S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Guyanas; Central America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras.

Habitat

Found mainly in savannah and semideciduous forests at higher elevations, almost always on well-drained soils[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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 frequent in dense, primary forests[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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.
]. Grows principally in secondary forests[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
]. Found from sea level to 1,500 metres[
556
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol.49
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Contains part of a treatment of the Flora of Panama. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitSemi-deciduous Tree
Height25.00 m
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Grows best in a sunny position[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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.
].
Newly planted young trees are fairly slow to grow away, rarely surpassing 2 metres in height in the second year[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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 dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required[
556
Title
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden Vol.49
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Contains part of a treatment of the Flora of Panama. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The sap is used for treating ulcers and skin eruptions[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]

The bark is astringent, emetic and stimulant[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].An infusion is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, intestinal colic, erysipelas and inflammations[
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.
]. The bark is boiled with water and used to induce vomiting[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The macerated bark is soaked in water and drunk as an anti-diarrhoeal[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
Juice from the bark is applied externally as an analgesic for cracked heels[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. An infusion of the bark is used as a wash for cleaning contusions and ulcers[
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.
].

A decoction of the bitter red sap from the bark is gargled or drunk to treat thrush and sores of the mouth. The sap becomes resinous on exposure to air and is then used to relieve the pain of toothache and to cauterize aphthae[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].
An exudate from the bark is worked into preparations with psychotropic properties by the native peoples of S. America[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

A pioneer species, it is used in mixed plantings in reforestation projects within its native range[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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.
].

Other Uses

The seed yields an oil formerly used as illuminating oil[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. The oil is used for making candles and soap[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].
The seeds burn readily with a clear light. Native people stick them on a thin piece of hard wood and use them as torches when they have to go out in the dark[
551
Title
A Century of Trees of Panama.
Publication
 
Author
Pittier H. Mell C.D.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A work that was very difficult to get published according to the correspondence contained at the start!. A treatment of 100 different species with descriptions and details of uses. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Cut or damaged trees exude a blood-red, watery latex that is similar to the kino of commerce[
378
Title
Present and Potential Commercial Timbers of the Caribbean
Publication
USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 207
Author
Longwood.F.R.
Publisher
USDA Forest Service; Washington, DC.
Year
1962
ISBN
 
Description
Quite detailed information on more than 60 species of Caribbean timber trees, giving species descriptions, habitat, detailed info on the wood and some info on other uses. Available for download on the internet.
].

The heartwood is a uniform light reddish, greyish or brown; merging gradually into the pale golden to pale rose-brown sapwood[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
]. The wood is straight-grained; medium-textured; with a medium to high lustre; odour and taste indistinct. It is moderately heavy; of low durability; very susceptible to termite and pinhole borer attack[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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 works easily with ordinary tools and finishes well; nails and screws easily without splitting; it can be stained, varnished and polished with good results; turns satisfactorily; glues readily[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
]. It is used for construction, internal finishing in buildings, toys, light boxes etc, and is suitable for making toothpicks[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
,
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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 - it has a limited viability and should be sown as soon as it is ripe. Sow in individual containers in a lightly shaded position. Germination rates are generally less than 30%, the seed sprouting within 30 - 50 days[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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 seedlings grow away quite slowly[
419
Title
Brazilian Trees. Volume 1. 4th Edition.
Publication
 
Author
Lorenzi. H.
Publisher
Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil.
Year
2002
ISBN
85-86714-17-8
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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