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Economic Significance

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Hymenaea courbaril is a tropical hardwood and a globally important commodity for its use in furniture-making, ship building, plywood, interior trim, veneer and manufacture of wooden components. It also yeilds a gum which is mainly used as varnish.

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Amy Chang
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Amy Chang
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Comprehensive Description

provided by North American Flora
Hymenaea courbaril L. Sp. PI. 1192. 1753
Hymenaea Candolleana H. B. K. Nov. Gen. & Sp. 6: 323. 1824. Inga megacarpa M. E. Jones, Contr. West. Bot. 15: 140. 1929.
A tree, up to 20 m. high or higher, the trunk up to 2 m. in diameter, the bark smooth, the stout branches spreading, the twigs and leaves glabrous. Leaflets oblong, to oblong-lanceolate, or oblong-ovate, 4-9 cm. long, very inequilateral, sessile, acute or acuminate; panicles severalmany-flowered; pedicels short and stout; calyx-tube (receptacle) about 8 mm. long; the segments oblong, densely puberulent, about 15 mm. long; petals thin, dotted, about as long as the calyx-segments; stamens white, about 3 cm. long; legume oblong, dark-brown, compressed, roughened, 5-10 cm. long, few-several-seeded, the seeds oblong, 2-3 cm. long.
Type locality: Brazil.
Distribution: West Indies (except Bahamas); Tepie to Panama; Colombia to Bolivia and I'Vench Guiana.
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bibliographic citation
Nathaniel Lord Britton and Joseph Nelson Rose. 1928. (ROSALES); MIMOSACEAE. North American flora. vol 23(1). New York Botanical Garden, New York, NY
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Description

provided by Phytokeys (archived)
Large trees, to 30 m tall. Petiole 1.1–1.7 (–2) cm long; petiolule 4–5 mm long; leaflets 6–9 (–10.2) × 2.8–4 (–5.1) cm, elliptic, rarely ovate, straight or slightly falcate due to central vein with an angle c. 10°, apex acute or obtuse, rarely acuminate, base acute along the inner margin and rounded along the outer margin, distance from the inner margin to central vein 7–10 mm in the basal region. Flower buds 2.1–2.5 cm long; flower 2.2–3.1 cm long; hypanthium 7–15 mm long; petals 1.1–2.0 cm long. Fruit cylindrical, of uniform width, apex mostly rounded and apiculate. Hymenaea courbaril is defined here more narrowly than the circumscription adopted by Lee and Langenheim (1975), as we are proposing the exclusion of the varieties altissima and longifolia and their recognition as distinct species. In this narrower sense, Hymenaea courbaril is characterized by leaflets with slightly convex inner margins and midrib slightly arched, resulting in an elliptic or ovate outline, not or only slightly falcate, apex mostly acute or obtuse (Figure 3). It presents flowers larger than the other species of the Hymenaea courbaril complex, and cylindrical fruits mostly with more than five seeds (Table 4). It has a wide geographical range, mostly in different nuclei of Seasonally Dry Forests in Mexico, Central America, Caribbean, northern South America, Bolivia, and Brazil (from the Amazon region to Paraná State in the south). Nomenclatural problems with several names associated with Hymenaea courbaril were not amended by Lee and Langenheim (1975) when they undertook their taxonomic revision of the genus. No formal type for Hymenaea stilbocarpa was cited by Lee and Langenheim (1975), who stated that no specimen was cited in the original description of Hayne (1830). However, Hayne (1830) based Hymenaea stilbocarpa on material collected by Martius, citing “Wäscht in Brasilien in Wäldern der Provinzen S. Paulo, Minas Geraes und Bahia (Martius)”. We found a specimen in the M herbarium collected by Martius in the Brazilian state of São Paulo (Santana farm) with an attached label indicating that this plant was distributed over the “Prov. Rio de Jº., S. Paulo, Minas Geraes, Bahia”, which probably served as the original material for Hayne’s description of Hymenaea stilbocarpa. Thus, we are lectotypifying this species with Martius’ specimen held in M under the barcode number M-0215314. Hymenaea confertifolia Hayne was based on material collected by Sellow and Olfers in Brazil (“Wächst in Brasilien (Olfers u. Sellow)”; Hayne 1830: table 9). Lee and Langenheim (1975: 88) stated that this name was based on Sellow 1025 and that the “holotype” in the B herbarium was destroyed. However, as Hayne (1830) did not refer to one particular specimen, all materials collected by Sellow or Olfers that can be linked with Hymenaea confertifolia should be considered syntypes. No such specimens can be found in the B herbarium, and were probably destroyed. A duplicate from B collected by Sellow was found in W annotated as Hymenaea confertifolia, and is designated here as the lectotype of this name. Hymenaea retusa Willd. ex Hayne was published as a homotypic synonym of Hymenaea candolleana (Hayne 1830). It is thus illegitimate under the Article 52 of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (McNeill et al. 2011). Hymenaea courbaril var. obtusifolia Ducke was published based on a tree cultivated in the Pará Botanical Garden (now Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém, state of Pará, Brazil). Lee and Langenheim (1975) misinterpreted this as evidence that the holotype was the specimen in the herbarium of this museum (MG). However, Ducke (1925: 47) explicitly stated that “specimina florifera and fructus in herb. Jard. Bot. Rio n. 16.906”, and thus the RB material should be considered as the holotype of this name. Ducke (1925: 265) did not cite any specimen when describing Hymenaea courbaril var. subsessilis Ducke. Lee and Langenheim (1975) did not explicitly designate a type for this variety, but chose a “representative specimen” collected “in the same general area believed to be the type locality”. We are accepting it as an inferential typification, and the status of this material should be a neotype since no other specimen was refereed in the protologue.
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Isys Mascarenhas Souza, Ligia Silveira Funch, Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz
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Souza I, Funch L, Queiroz L (2014) Morphological analyses suggest a new taxonomic circumscription for Hymenaea courbaril L. (Leguminosae, Caesalpinioideae) PhytoKeys 38: 101–118
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Isys Mascarenhas Souza
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Ligia Silveira Funch
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Luciano Paganucci de Queiroz
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Physical Description

provided by USDA PLANTS text
Perennial, Trees, Woody throughout, Nodules present, Stems erect or ascending, Stems greater than 2 m tall, Plants gland-dotted or with gland-tipped hairs, Stems solid, Stems or young twigs glaucous, Leaves alternate, Leaves petiolate, Stipules conspicuous, Stipules green, triangulate to lanceolate or foliaceous, Stipules deciduous, Stipules free, Leaves compound, Leaves even pinnate, Leaf or leaflet margins entire, Leaflets opposite, Leaflets 2, Leaves glandular punctate or gland-dotted, Leaves glabrous or nearly so, Leaves coriaceous, Inflorescence panicles, Inflorescence terminal, Bracts very small, absent or caducous, Flowers actinomorphic or somewhat irregular, Calyx 4-lobed, Calyx glabrous, Petals separate, Petals white, Stamens 9-10, Stamens completely free, separate, Stamens long exserted, Filaments glabrous, Style terete, Fruit a legume, Fruit unilocular, Fruit indehiscent, Fruit oblong or ellipsoidal, Fruit orbicular to subglobose, Fruit fleshy, Fruit coriaceous or becoming woody, Fruit exserted from calyx, Fruit glabrous or glabrate, Fruit 2-seeded, Fruit 3-10 seeded, Seeds embedded in gummy or spongy pulp, Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, Seed surface smooth, Seeds olive, brown, or black.
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Dr. David Bogler
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Hymenaea courbaril

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Hymenaea courbaril

Hymenaea courbaril, the courbaril or West Indian locust,[2] is a tree common in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. It is a hardwood that is used for furniture, flooring, and decoration. Its hard fruit pods have edible dry pulp surrounding the seeds. Its sap, called animé, is used for incense, perfume, and varnish.

Names

Hymenaea courbaril is commonly known as the "courbaril",[3] "West Indian locust",[4][3] "Brazilian copal", and "amami-gum",[4] and "Jatobá".[1]

Although it is sometimes denominated "Brazilian cherry" and "South American cherry", it is not a cherry tree but a legume of the family Fabaceae. It is also known as "stinking toe", "old man's toe", and "stinktoe"[5] because of the unpleasant odor of the edible pulp of its seed pods.[6][7]

Fruit

Its fruit, also known as locust, was a major food for indigenous peoples. Those who eat it do not consider the odor unpleasant. The pulp, in spite of its somewhat disagreeable odor, has a sweet taste; is consumed raw; may be dried and transformed into powder to be incorporated into cookies, crackers, and soups; and may be mixed with water to prepare a drink called "atole". The pulp inside the hard shells appears like miniature soluble fibers that dissolve easily in water or milk, which it thickens. Some add sugar to it for more sweetness. If consumed raw it tends to stick inside the mouth like dry dust. It is one of the richest vegetable foods known because of its high concentrations of starches and proteins.[8] It is further an excellent concentrated feed for animals.

Animé

The tree produces an orange, soft, sticky resin or gum, denominated "animé" (French for "animated", in reference to its insect-infested natural state). The resin has a specific gravity varying from 1.054 to 1.057. It melts readily over fire, and softens even with the heat of the mouth. It diffuses white fumes and a very pleasant odor. Insects are generally entrapped in it in large numbers. It is insoluble in water, and nearly so in cold alcohol. It is similar to copal in its nature and appearance,[3] and a copal from Zanzibar is sometimes given this name.

The production of animé may be encouraged by wounding the bark. The resin collects between the principal roots.[3][9] It can be obtained from other species of Hymenaea growing in tropical South America.[3][9]

Brazilians use it internally to treat diseases of the lungs. It was formerly an ingredient of ointments and plasters, but at present its only use is for incense and varnish.[9]

Wood

The wood is very hard, measuring 5.6 on the Brinell scale and 2,350 lbf (10,500 N) on the Janka scale, approximate measurements of hardness. For comparison, Douglas fir measures 660 lbf (2,900 N), white oak 1,360 lbf (6,000 N), and Brazilian walnut 3,800 lbf (17,000 N) on the Janka scale. It features a tan to salmon color with black accent stripes that over time turn to a deep and vibrant red.

Notes

  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  2. ^ EB (1878).
  3. ^ a b c d e EB (1911).
  4. ^ a b "Hymenaea courbaril". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  5. ^ Mesoamerican Copal Resins Archived 2012-01-18 at the Wayback Machine from Brian Stross at the University of Texas at Austin
  6. ^ Worldwide weird: Bite into a stinking toe from BBC Travel
  7. ^ Stinking Toe Archived 2009-10-08 at the Wayback Machine from StJohnBeachGuide.com
  8. ^ Frans Geilfus (1994). El Arbol Al Servico del Agricultor (PDF). Vol. 2: Guía de Especies. Turrialba. p. 147. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Animé" . The American Cyclopædia.

References

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Hymenaea courbaril: Brief Summary

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 src= Hymenaea courbaril

Hymenaea courbaril, the courbaril or West Indian locust, is a tree common in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. It is a hardwood that is used for furniture, flooring, and decoration. Its hard fruit pods have edible dry pulp surrounding the seeds. Its sap, called animé, is used for incense, perfume, and varnish.

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