Monographs Details: Niopa peregrina (L.) Britton & Rose
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Cojobana is a small unarmed tree, rarely more than six meters high, its trunk covered by a nearly black and very rough, warty bark, quite different from that of any other Porto Rican tree, and making it readily identified. It inhabits woodlands and hillsides at lower and middle altitudes in moist or wet parts of Porto Rico, growing as isolated individuals or in small colonies; it is native also in Santo Domingo and Haiti, in the southern Lesser Antilles, and in northern South America. It makes a beautiful crown of delicately feathery foliage, and its round clusters of very small white flowers enhance its beauty when in bloom. It is also sometimes called Cojobillo in Spanish; the botanical specific name peregrina, meaning wandering, is with reference to its wide geographic distribution.
The genus Niopa, published by Britton and Rose in 1927, includes only a few kinds of trees, natives of tropical America, which, by some authors have been regarded as species of the genus Piptadenia, but they differ from the true Piptadenias by characters of the flowers, fruits and seeds; earlier authors, whose knowledge of tropical plants was meagre, classified them as Mimosa, or as Acacias.
The wood of Cojobana is reddish-brown, heavy, hard and durable. Its twigs and young leaves are finely hairy. The leaves are twice compound and stalked, with a large, flat gland borne at about the middle of the stalk; the first divisions of the leaf (pinnae) are 2 or 3 centimeters long, short-stalked, and bear many, narrow secondary divisions (leaflets), which are close together, about 3 millimeters long, and nearly or quite smooth. The flowers form nearly globular heads, borne on slender, finely hairy stalks from 1 to 3 centimeters in length, each head about 2 centimeters in diameter, or smaller, the small flowers numerous; the calyx is minute, and 5-toothed; there are 5 very small, white petals; the 10 stamens are several times as long as the petals, separate from each other, with thread-like filaments and minute anthers. The pods are narrow, from about 7 to 17 centimeters long, flat, pointed and a little more than 1 centimeter wide, leathery in texture, splitting into valves longitudinally when ripe, and exposing the round, flat, black and shining seeds.
Our illustration was first published in "Addisonia", plate 403, in 1927.
Mimosa peregrina Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 520. 1753.
Niopa peregrina Britton & Rose, Addisonia 12: 37. 1927.