Taxon Details: Couratari guianensis Aubl.
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Family:

Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Couratari guianensis Aubl.
Primary Citation:

Hist. Pl. Guiane 2: 724. 1775
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Common Names:

cachimbo hediondo, copo hediondo
Description:

Author: Ghillean T. Prance & Scott A. Mori

Type: FRENCH GUIANA. Without locality, no date (fr), Aublet s.n. (lectotype, designated in Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21(II). 1990; BM, fruit not the leaves),

Description: Large trees, to 50 m tall, the trunk buttressed to 7 m. Stems tomentellous, soon becoming glabrous. Leaves deciduous before just before flowering; petioles 13-25 mm long, tomentellous-puberulous, slightly canaliculate, not winged; blades oblong, obovate-oblong, less frequently elliptic, 8-19 cm x 4-11 cm, coriaceous, glabrous or with sparse erect caducous pubescence adaxially, nearly glabrous to densely pubescent abaxially, the trichomes mostly simple, the base acute to rounded, the margins entire, the apex rounded, retuse, or shortly and broadly subcuneate; midrib plane or impressed adaxially, prominent abaxially, the secondary veins in 16-22 pairs, plane to slightly impressed adaxially, extremely prominent and pubescent abaxially, the tertiary veins mostly percurrent, but some tertiaries reticulate, extremely prominent abaxially. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, usually unbranched, sometimes once-branched, the rachis and rachillae pubescent, the bracts lanceolate, caducous, puberulous, to 13 mm long; pedicel/hypathium (10) 20-20 mm long, puberulous. Flowers when leafless; hypanthium campanulate, 2-3 mm long; calyx lobes triangular-ovate, 2-4 x 2.5-4 mm, puberulous on both surfaces, the bases scarcely imbricate the margins ciliate; petals 6, oblong-spathulate, often appearing clawed and enrolled on lower part, 2-3 cm long, slightly cucullate at apex, tomentellous on exterior, puberulous within, ciliate at apex, white to greenish-white, often tinged with pink, to purple; androecial hood pink to purple, sparsely pubescent, ca. 3.3 cm long, coiled, with external flap, the stamens 15-25, inserted around staminal ring in single row, a few nearly forming second row; ovary 3-locular. Fruits cylindrical, broadest at middle, (9)12-17 x 4.5-7 cm, smooth and lenticellate on exterior, the lenticels often whitish, the pericarp ca. 4 mm thick, woody, the calycine ring inserted ca. 15 mm below apex, with slight ridge at few places around perimete, the supracalycine zone erect. the infracalycine zone tapered at very base; operculum without central depression, the columella triangular, 3-grooved. Seeds oblong-lanceolate, symmetrical; cotyledons foliaceous. Seedlings with opposite, round cotyledons, these 2-4 cm long, the first leaves alternate, oblong-elliptic.

Common names: Panama: coco, coco de mono, coquito. Colombia: coco blanco, coco cabeyo, coco manteco, guasco. Venezuela: cachimbo, capa de tabaco, coco de mono, tapa tabaco. Guyana: wadara. Surinam: ingipipa, kalioe oelemaliti, ksipoeloe oelimari, watara. French Guiana: ingui-pipa, mahot-cigare. Brazil: tauari (also applied to species of Cariniana).

Distribution: A wide-ranging species from Costa Rica, Panama, into adjacent Colombia and Venezuela, the Guianas, and Amazonian Brazil.

Ecology: An emergent tree usually of non-flooded forests. This species has a wide distribution but is always found in low densities where it occurs (Procópio et al., 2010).

Phenology: This species drops its leaves and then flowers when leafless. Many flowers are found at anthesis on the tree on the same day. Aguilar (pers. comm., 6 Apr 2009) reported that a tree he collected in flower on 14 Sep 2008 (Aguilar 11365) had mature fruits on 15 Feb 2009 when he collected it again (Aguilar 11682), indicating that it takes about five months for the fruits to mature. A study of the phenology of this species on the Osa Peninsula (Lobo et al., 2008) concluded that it blooms in the rainy season from Aug to Nov; fruits in the dry to early wet season from from Jan to Jun; and flushes leaves in the dry season from Dec to Feb.

Pollination: There are no observations on the pollination of this species but other species of Couratari that flower when leafless and have similar pinkish flower color are pollinated by bees, e.g., Couratari tenuicarpa (Nelson et al., 1985).

Dispersal: The seeds, surrounded by a circumferential wing, are dispersed by the wind.

Predation: Scarlet macaws are known to prey upon the seeds with six to eight of them visiting the trees every morning and afternoon when they are in fruit (R. Aguilar, pers. comm. 6 Apr 2009). Parrots and macaws are known to eat the androecial hoods of this species.

Field characters: Couratari guianensis is characterized by flowering when leafless; leaves with very salient abaxial venation and abaxial pubescence; pink to purple flowers; and fruits with whitish lenticels.

Taxonomic notes: There is considerable variation in the fruits of Couratari guianensis, even among those from the same tree (see Fig. 48 in Mori & Prance, 1990). Some of the central American species have very large fruits and others much smaller fruits. In addition, there are flower differences that need to be considered; for example, the petal color usually varies from pink to purple but a tree in French Guiana has abaxially pink and adaxially green petals. In addition, the orientation of the coils of the androecial hood may be vertical as shown in the attached image of Mori et al. 20973 or horizontal as shown in the attached image of Cardenas et al. 42008 from Amazonian Colombia. These differences are difficult to access because of the few flowering collections that show characters which can only be satisfactorily studied based on fresh material or images based on fresh material. As currently circumscribed, C. guianensis is treated as a wide-spread variable species but the possibility exists that several species could be represented by the specimens we have studied.

Conservation: IUCN Red List: Vulnerable A2bcde ver 2.3. (Pires O'Brien, J. 1998. Couratari guianensis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 27 March 2012.)

Uses: The inner bark is fibrous and strong and has been used to make hamacs, as a device consisting of a band of bark tied at the ends and used between the feet to climb trees (called a peconha in Portuguese), and for cordage. The timber is light colored and there is little differentiation between the sapwood and the heartwood. It is susceptible to fungal and insect attack and therefore must be treated before use for interior woodwork and in making boxes (Office National des Forêts, 2001).

Etymology: The name alludes to the Guianas where Aublet made his observations and collections of the species.

Source: Based on Prance in Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21(11)

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to R. Aguilar, C. A. Gracie, and R. Foster for allowing us to use their images to illustrate the characters of this species.

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Couratari guianensis Aubl.: [Article] Mori, S. A. & Prance, Ghillean T. 1990. Lecythidaceae - Part II: The zygomorphic-flowered New World genera (Couroupita, Corythophora, Bertholletia, Couratari, Eschweilera, & Lecythis). With a study of secondary xylem of Neotropical Lecythidaceae by Carl de Zeeuw. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21: 1-376.
Couratari guianensis Aubl.: [Article] Mori, S. A. & Lepsch da Cunha, Nadia M. 1995. The Lecythidaceae of a central Amazonian moist forest. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 75: 1-55.
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