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Couroupita guianensis

Couroupita guianensis

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Published by rebruno
Couroupita guianensis Aubl.

Taxonomy Details:
Family Scientific Primary Name Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)) Couroupita guianensis Aubl. Hist. Pl. Guiane 2: 708. 1775 This name is currently accepted. Heterotypic synonyms Pekea couroupita Juss. ex DC., 1828. Prodr. (DC.). 3: 294. Lecythis bracteata Willd., 1799. Sp. Pl. (ed. 4). 2: 1174. Couroupita surinamensis Mart. ex O. Berg, 1858. Fl. Bras. (Martius). 14(1): 476. Couroupita guianensis var. surinamensis (Mart. ex O. Berg) Ey
Couroupita guianensis Aubl.

Taxonomy Details:
Family Scientific Primary Name Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta (flowering plants)) Couroupita guianensis Aubl. Hist. Pl. Guiane 2: 708. 1775 This name is currently accepted. Heterotypic synonyms Pekea couroupita Juss. ex DC., 1828. Prodr. (DC.). 3: 294. Lecythis bracteata Willd., 1799. Sp. Pl. (ed. 4). 2: 1174. Couroupita surinamensis Mart. ex O. Berg, 1858. Fl. Bras. (Martius). 14(1): 476. Couroupita guianensis var. surinamensis (Mart. ex O. Berg) Ey

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Couroupita guianensis Aubl.
Taxonomy Details:
Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta (flowering plants))
This name is currently accepted.
S y n o n y m sHeterotypic synonyms
Pekea couroupita Juss. ex DC.,1828. Prodr. (DC.). 3: 294.Lecythis bracteata Willd.,1799. Sp. Pl. (ed. 4). 2: 1174.Couroupita surinamensis Mart. ex O. Berg,1858. Fl. Bras. (Martius). 14(1): 476. Couroupita guianensis var. surinamensis (Mart. ex O. Berg) Eyma,1932. Meded. Bot. Mus. Herb. Rijks Univ. Utrecht. 4: 58. Couroupita peruviana O. Berg,1862. Linnaea. 31: 261.Couroupita membranacea Miers,1874. Trans. Linn. Soc. London. 30: 194.Couroupita antillana Miers,1874. Trans. Linn. Soc. London. 30: 191.Couroupita venezuelensis R. Knuth,1934. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 35: 341.Couroupita froesii R. Knuth,1934. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 35: 341.Couroupita saintcroixiana R. Knuth,1934. Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 35: 341.Couroupita acreensis R. Knuth,1939. Pflanzenr. (Engler). IV, 219a: 46.Couroupita idolica Dwyer, 1965. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 52: 358.Couratari pedicellaris Rizzini,1976. Rodriguésia. 28(41): 178.
Reference: UnspecifiedCoco sachapura; Geographic Location: Colombiabala de cañon (Spanish); Geographic Location: Costa Rica; Comments: Source: Reinaldo Aguilar 2009bala de cañónbola de cañon (Spanish)boskalebas; Geographic Location: Surinamcannon-ball tree (English)castanha de macaco; Geographic Location: Brazilcoco de mono; Geographic Location: Venezuelagranadillo de las huacas; Geographic Location: Panamaiwadaballi; Geographic Location: Surinamkaupe; Geographic Location: Surinamkouroupitoumou; Geographic Location: French Guianamamey hediono; Geographic Location: Venezuelamaraco; Geographic Location: Colombiamuco; Geographic Location: Venezuelataparo de monte; Geographic Location: Venezuela
: Ghillean T. Prance & Scott A. Mori
: French Guiana. Without locality, no date (st),
 Aublet s.n.
(lectotype, BM; isolectotype, S, designated Mori & Prance, 1990).
: Trees, to 35 m tall, unbuttressed. Bark not fissured. Leaves in clusters at ends of branches; petioles 5-30 mm long; blades (6-)8-31(-57) x 3-10 cm, usually narrowly obovate to obovate, sometimes elliptic, glabrous adaxially, pubescent oveins abaxially, often but not always with a tuft of trichomes (possibly domatia) in axils of secondary veins, the trichomes simple the base cuneate, the margins entire, the apex generally acute or acuminate; secondary veins in 15-25 pairs, the tertiaveins weakly percurrent, prominulous, the higher order venation prominulous, forming well-defined areoles. Inflorescences cauline, usually unbranched racemes, sometimes branched and paniculate, sometimes covering entire trunk;pedicel/hypanthium 12-60 mm long. Flowers zygomorphic, 5-6 cm diam.; calyx-lobes 6, broadly ovate, 4-5 x 4-6, the bases slightly imbricate, the margins ciliate; petals 6, most commonly yellow toward apices and pink to red toward bases abaxially,pink to red except for white bases adaxially, some Peruvian collections with more yellow in petals; androecium prolonged on one side into flat hood, with stamen free area between staminal ring and hood proper, the hood white or pale yellow tingewith pink externally, the ring stamens with white filaments and white or pale yellow anthers, the hood staminodes often white at very base, pink for most of length, and yellow at apex, sometimes white for most of length and yellow at apex, thestamens with lateral dehiscence; ovary 6-locular. Fruits indehiscent, globose, 12-25 cm diam., the supracalyzine zone rounded, the infracalycine zone rounded to base, falling from tree at maturity. Seeds embedded in pulp, the pulp oxidizing bluish-green when exposed to air, the testa with trichomes; embryo with 2 foliaceous cotyledons.
Common names
: English: Cannon-ball tree. Spanish: bola de cañon. Panama: granadillo de las huacas, coco sachapura. Colombia: maraco. Venezuela: coco de mono, mamey hediondo, muco, taparo de monte. Surinam: boskalebas, iwadaballi, kaupeFrench Guiana: kouroupitoumou. Brazil: castanha de macaco (monkey nut). Peru: ayahuma, ayahúman (Smith et al., 2007).
: Amazonian Colombia, northern Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana, Amazonian Ecuador, Amazonian Peru, and eastern and southwestern Amazonian Brazil. This species has been collected in Mesoamerica but these collectionsmost likely come from cultivated trees. In Brazil, the collections from Pará (Pires 1644) and Goiás (Heringer & Valmira 18415) have been checked by S. A. Mori and definitely represent this species and appear to have been made from native trees. InSouth America,
Couroupita guianensis
is found mostly around the periphery of the Amazon Basin, displaying a distribution pattern called peri-Amazonian by Granville (1992). This species is frequently planted as a botanical curiosity in tropical andsubtropical botanical gardens in many parts of the world.
: We know of no ecological studies of
C. guianenensis
in which frequency, density, dominance, and habitat preferences have been reported. This species is most frequently found in wet areas of lowland forests but is not a species ofperiodically flooded forests. In fruit,
C. guianensis
can be easily mistaken for
C. subsessilis
which may actually be the species accounting for some of the reports of
C. guianensis
growing in flood plain forests.
: Poiteau (1825) observed that trees of this species growing in their native habitat in sandy soils on the Ile de Cayenne, French Guiana lost their leaves in March and again in September, remained 18 days almost leafless, and then floweredand flushed new leaves. Ormond et al. (1985) made observations on leaf fall, leaf flush, flowering, and fruiting during five-years on 13 trees of
Couroupita guianensis
growing outside their native range in the botanical garden of the Museu Nacaional iRio de Janeiro. These trees dropped and flushed new leaves two to three times a year. The leaves turn yellow, fall to the ground, and flush leaves within 15 days after the old leaves have fallen. Leaves were most frequently flushed just before theonset of flowering and there was little synchrony in leaf fall and flush among the trees they observed. The trees flowered from November through May with a peak in January and February with any given tree flowering one to three times during thisperiod. The trunks of some trees were covered by flowering inflorescences that reached as long as 80 cm. and a given tree held as many as 1000 open flowers per day. Fruits in this area fell from October through April.
: The morphology and development of the flowers of
C. guianensis
have been well illustrated by Thompson (1921). In addition to being showy, its flowers are strongly and pleasantly aromatic. Ormond et al. (1981, 1982) determined that thosmphores of this species are most abundant on the hood filaments and less common on the adaxial surface of the petals. Oil droplets are found in the cells of the epidermal and stomatal guard cells of the osmophores. In addition, the cells of themesophyll of these structures are rich in starch. After anthesis, oil droplets and starch are not nearly as plentiful. The internal temperature of the flowers at anthesis is seven degrees above ambient temperature. Ormond et al. (1981, 1982) suggestthat the oil droplets volatilize to yield the pleasant aroma and that the starch in the adjacent cells provides the energy for this process. The aroma, at least in some individuals, is dominated by monoterpene hydrocarbons (Knudsen & Mori, 1996). Thapices of the hood filaments are yellow, a color that attracts bees. Moreover, UV light is only reflected from the hood and has perhaps evolved to attract pollinators to rewards found in that part of the flower. The sweet aroma of these flowers isstrongest in the early morning and bees have been recorded visiting the flowers as early as 5:00 a.m.; the petals and androecium drop from the flowers around 12:00 p.m. (Ormond et al., 1981). Yarsick et al. (1986) report that the flowers of acultivated Venezuelan tree open gradually between 7:00 and 8:30 p.m. with the hood and ring anthers opening simultaneously. These authors confirm observations that the hood anthers are larger than the ring anthers - the former have an average2,850 tetrads and the latter 450 monads per anther. The flowers of
C. guianensis
are without nectar and are mostly visited by bees in search of pollen.
 Xylocopa brasilianorum
has been reported to be the principal pollinator outside of the native rangof
C. guianensis
in the botanical garden of the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro. Dahlgren (1924) states "The large black bumble-bees that visit the flowers force their way under the tip of the hood, between the two sets of stamens, and becomethoroughly dusted with pollen." It is likely that the bees observed by Dahlgren also represent a species of
. Yarsick et al. (1986) report bees, wasps, and a flower fly visiting the flowers, but note that
 Xylocopa frontalis
and a species of
appear to be the most efficient pollinators. Carpenter bees of the genus
have also been observed pollinating cultivated trees of
C. guianensis
in India (Aluri & Reddi, 1990). Ormond et al. (1981) have demonstrated that bagged flowers do noset fruit nor do the flowers in the bags end up with pollen on their stigmas. They demonstrated that two percent of artificially self pollinated flowers produce fruit whereas artificially cross-pollinated and naturally pollinated flowers yield 6% and 4%fruit respectively. In their study, they observed a tree flowering out of phase with the other trees set fruit, and there are other unsubstantiated reports of cultivated trees growing in isolation producing fruit. Thus, it appears that
C. guianensis
is selfcompatible, but that there are more fruits set if out crossing takes place. Poiteau (1825) observed that the pollen of the hood was larger and yellow and that of the staminal ring smaller and white. Thompson (1927) was the first to suggest that pollefrom the hood does not germinate on the stigma, but it was Jacques (1965) who first observed that the ring and hood pollen are different. This observation has been confirmed by Mori et al. (1980), Ormond et al. (1981), and Yarsick et al. (1986).These authors have demonstrated that the pollen of the staminal ring is found in monads and has a smooth exine while that of the hood is in tetrads and has a rougher exine. Ormond et al. (1981) add that the ring pollen is covered with droplets of alipid substance whereas that of the hood is dry. Examination of the stigma shows that monad pollen dominates the surface while tetrad pollen is rarely found there. The ring pollen shows a high degree of both in vitro and in vivo germination whereanot a single pollen grain from the hood anthers germinates (Mori et al., 1980; Ormond et al., 1981). In conclusion, it has been clearly demonstrated that there are two types of pollen in the flower of
Couroupita guianensis
and that the most likelypollinators are species of large bees, such as
, which are rewarded for their efforts with non-germinating pollen that they collect from the hood.
: Fruits from different trees of
C. guianensis
display considerable variation in size, ranging from 12 to 25 cm in diameter with smaller ones having as few as 65 and larger ones as many as 550 seeds (Ormond et al., 1985; Schoenberg, 1983a).The number of fruits produced per tree ranges from 50 to 150. Fruits reach maturity in about 12 months (Ormond et al., 1985), but Dahlgren (1824) noted that it takes as long as 18 months for fruits of this species to mature in Guyana. The number oflowers and fruits produced by individuals of
C. guianensis
vary from one flowering period to the next, sometimes there is a major flowering and other times the flowering is minor. Fruit set is 0.8% following a major flowering and 3.4% after minorflowering, but major and minor flowering events usually yield about the same number of fruits produced because of the greater number of flowers available during a major flowering period (Ormond et al., 1985). The anatomy and morphology of th
fruits of
Couroupita guianensis
have been described in detail by Schoenberg (1983a, 1983b). The cannon-ball like fruits of
Couroupita guianensis
fall and often crack open upon hitting the ground. The seeds are embedded in a six-segmented fleshypulp that oxidizes bluish-green when exposed to the air. Peccaries and domestic animals, such as chickens and pigs, are reported to eat the pulp and in so doing swallow the seeds. Prance and Mori (1979) report an observation made by H. W. Koepckwho studied a tree of this species over a three-week period. A paca (
 Agouti paca
) has been filmed at the Los Amigos Biological Station in Peru carrying a fruit it its mouth. The ground under the tree was covered by many fruits which remaineduntouched until a herd of peccaries passed by and broke open the fruits and consumed the pulp. The seeds of species of
have exotestal trichomes which may protect the seeds and facilitate their passage through the digestive tracts ofanimals (Tsou & Mori, 2002).
: No observations recorded.
Field characters
: The combination of tufts of trichomes in the axils of the secondary veins; conspicuous inflorescences arising from the trunk; showy aromatic flowers with the petals tinged with various degrees of pink or red; a flat androecial hood;cannon-ball like fruits; and seeds embedded in a pulp that oxidize bluish-green when exposed to the air separate this species from all other Lecythidaceae. It can only be mistaken for the other two species of the genus,
C. subsessilis
found alongAmazonian rivers and the Central American
C. nicaraguarensis
. See "Taxonomic notes" below.
Taxonomic notes
: Leaf and fruit collections of the three species of
are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, in flower they are easily separated. Both
C. subsessilis
C. nicaraguarensis
have white or pale yellow flowersand bright, yellow-orange anthers in the staminal ring. In addition,
C. subsessilis
has a notched androecial hood and
C. nicaraguarensis
has stamens that run from the staminal ring all of the way onto the hood (see comparison of androecial hoods inattached image).There is considerable variation in flower color and size as well as in fruit size and shape. Some trees have much more yellow in their flowers than found in the flowers of other trees (e.g., collections from Madre de Dios, Peru). Mostfruits are globose and resemble a cannon ball, but some fruits are longer than wide.
Couroupita guianensis
is widely planted in tropical and subtropical botanical gardens and as an ornamental throughout the tropics and subtropics; it does well under cultivation as far north as the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Florida.The pulp of the fruit of
C. guianensis
is used to feed animals such as chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, and pigs but it is not consumed by humans (Smith et al., 2007). Some of the reports of this species may actually have been misidentifications of
which is found along large rivers in the Brazilian Amazon. However, the fruits of the three species of
are identifical and are all expected to have the potential to be used in the same way.
: This species is named after the geographic location of the type collection.
: IUCN Red List: lower Risk/least concern, ver 2.3 (assessed in 1998) (IUCN, 2009). Plantas Raras do Brasil: not on list (Giulietti et al., 2009).
: Based on Prance in Mori and Prance (1990).
Map all specimens of this taxon(if georeferenced specimens are available)
A d d i t i o n a l R e s o u r c e s
Rauh'a architectural modedl displayed by Couroupita guianensis. From F. Hallé, 2004. VIEW | DOWNLOAD  Link to GenBank sequence data for Couroupita guianensis

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