Taxon Details: Couratari Aubl.
Taxon Profile:
The Plant List
International Plant Name Index
Catalogue of Life
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Encyclopedia of Life
Google Scholar
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Barcode of Life


Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Couratari Aubl.
Primary Citation:

Hist. Pl. Guiane 2: 723. 1775
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.

Description: Canopy to emergent trees. Leaves scattered along branches, small to medium sized (3-20 cm long), glabrous or pubescent, the pubescence sometimes stellate; venation not markedly percurrent. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, racemose or once-branched paniculate arrangements of racemes, growth of rachises determinate. Flowers present with or without leaves depending on species, zygomorphic; sepals 6; petals 6, flat at apices; staminal lip present; androecial hood fully coiled, bearing vestigial stamens, with external flap, the flap smooth or echinate externally, the stamens not reflexed, the anthers laterally dehiscent; ovary 3-locular, ovules numerous, attached to base of locular, the style with stylar collar. Fruit dehiscent, remaining on tree at maturity, cylindric, pericarp relatively thin. Seeds circumferentially winged, numerous, flattened, not embedded in pulp, the testa glabrous; cotyledons leaf-like, opposite.

Distribution: In Central America (Costa Rica and Panama) into NW South America west of the Andes (Colombia), thoughout Amazonia, and in the Brazil coastal forests of Bahia, Espiritu Santo, and Rio de Janeiro.

Ecology: Lowland rain forests.

Number of species: Nineteen described and accepted species and at least several other undescribed species.

Taxonomic notes: The external flap of the androecial hood and the flattened, circumferentially winged seeds, features not found in any other species of Lecythidaceae, define this genus. A molecular study (Mori et al., 2007)suggests that the genus is monophylletic. Prance in Mori & Prance (1990) recognized three sections in this genus: Sect. Echinata with 6 species and characterized by an echinate, external flap of the androecial hood; Sect. Couratari also with 6 species and without an echinate external flap and with pubescent leaves and other parts of the plant; and Sect. Microcarpa with 7 species and without an echinate external flap but with glabrous leaves and other pars of the plant. Based on a limited number of species sampled, a cladogram in Mori et al. (2007) supports the separation of Sect. Echinata which is sister to a polytomy in which a single species of Sect. Echinata is embedded with three species of Sect. Microcarpa.

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Couratari Aubl.: [Article] Mori, S. A. 1987. The Lecythidaceae of a lowland Neotropical Forest: La Fumée mountain, French Guiana. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 44: 1-190.
Couratari 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.
Couratari 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.