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Useful Tropical Plants

Protium copal

(Schltdl. & Cham.) Engl.

Burseraceae

+ Synonyms

Icica copal Schltdl. & Cham.

Icica palmeri Rose

Protium palmeri (Rose) Engl.

Common Name: Copal

Protium copal

General Information

Copal is a medium to large tree with a thick bole; it can grow up to 30 metres tall, but more commonly to 20 metres[
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/
,
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].
The tree is commonly harvested from the wild, especially in Guatemala, for its resin which is much used as an incense. In past times the tree was cultivated for this resin, though nowadays it is only harvested from the wild. The resin is commonly sold in local markets[
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/
,
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].

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

Central America - Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico.

Habitat

Moist or wet forest, chiefly at elevations of 350 metres or less[
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/
]. Mainly found in tropical rainforest and tropical evergreen forest; less frequently in tropical dry forest and cloud forest. Its preferred habitat is primary forest[
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].

Properties

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

Cultivation Details

A plant mainly of lowland areas in the tropics, being found usually at elevations below 600 metres, but exceptionally to 2,000 metres.

Most, if not all, species in this genus are dioecious, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required[
745
Title
Novon Vol. 9
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden; Missouri.
Year
1999
ISBN
 
Description
A botanical publication with a main focus on publishing the names of new and renamed species. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - seldom eaten and not highly appreciated[
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].

Medicinal

The resin obtained from the tree is used to make medicinal ointments[
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/
,
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].

Other Uses

A resin is obtained from the stems[
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.
]. It is used as an incense, varnish and medicine[
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.
,
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 gives off a fragrant aroma as it burns[
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 tree is believed to be the principal source of the copal or pom that is used in such large amounts in Guatemala in religious rites, especially by the Indians of the highlands[
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 probably has figured in the religious ceremonies of the Mayan people for many centuries[
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 wood is used for multiple purposes, including the construction of rural houses, and for making poles, furniture and small boats[
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].
The wood is used for fuel[
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].
We have no more information on the wood of this species, but a general description of the wood for tropical American members of this genus is as follows:-
The heartwood is brown or reddish-brown, sometimes with irregularly spaced darker brown lines; it is not always sharply demarcated from the pale buff to pinkish sapwood. The texture varies from rather fine to fairly coarse; grain straight to very irregular and interlocked; lustre is rather high; dry specimens are without any distinctive odour or taste. Silica is reported for some species. The wood is generally reported to have a low resistance to attack by decay fungi and is vulnerable to dry-wood termites; it has no appreciable resistance to marine borers. Reports on seasoning vary from fairly easy to air dry to moderately difficult. Logs should be debarked prior to sawing to avoid resin accumulation
on cutters and equipment. The dry wood works easily and rates fair to good in all operations; it cuts easily into veneers but tends to buckle on drying; some species are abrasive because of the silica content. The wood is used for purposes such as furniture, millwork, veneer and plywood, general construction, particleboard; it is a possible substitute for birch[
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.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-04-20. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Protium+copal>

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