Tree of the Week

Chrysophyllum imperial: Guapeba

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The Chrysophyllum imperial, also known by the Tupi name, Guapeba, is a native of the Atlantic Forest in the regions of Rio de Janeiro to the southeast of Minas Gerais . It is also known as Black Guapeba, Quince to kill and the Emporor Tree or Royal Tree. In the time of colonial Brazil the Guapeba flourished in abundance but due to the enormous need to build ships this tree is now under threat of extinction!

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Chrysophyllum imperial can reach a height of 30 meters. Its’ bark is a brownish gray in color has a cracked texture.

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The leaves are large (50-cm long x 20 cm), simple in shape and bright green with well defined ribs.

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The inflorescences contain an abundance of small white yellowish flowers, which are bisexual. Flowering occurs in summer.

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The fruit of the Guapeba are oval in shape with a yellow color. They can grow to be more than 3 cm in length and are quite tasty! The seeds are hard, flat and brown. The maturing process takes place in the winter.

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Vitex montevidensis: Tarumã

arvore-simbolo-de-mt Vitex montevidensis is native to the Atlantic rain forest in various biomes and range from the state of Bahia to the Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo in Brazil and also appears in Argentina. The Tupi Guarani call this tree Tarumã meaning, dark fruit to make wine. The Tarumã is also known as the weeds olive, brave olive, Taurus Shadow, Tapinhoan, the copiúba and grataúba. It is interesting to note that this tree when isolated will reach heights varying from 4-12 meters but when it is in the middle of the forest will grow to 20 meters in height.The canopy is cup shaped and slightly rounded at the edges. The trunk is straight measuring 30 to 60 cm in diameter with a dark grey bark. Being in the company of other trees striving for the sun enhances growth. Since Vitex montevidensis is quite indifferent to soil characteristics, they are very important for the reforestation of degraded and mixed reforestation areas for permanent preservation and feeding of several species of animals, especially monkeys, parakeets and other parrots which happen to be the main seed dispersers.

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The composite leaves have 5- to 7 leaflets that look like fingers under a petiole or stem that is 6 to 8 cm in length and are a reddish brown color at the start of germination and have a somewhat cardboard like texture. The ribs on the underside of the leaves are a yellowish cream color.



The flowers are hermaphroditic, and are bloom in a cresting inflorescence (cluster terminal ending in a flower) with about 8-20 small flowers of 1.5 cm in diameter with cup (sternum casing) campanulate (bell-shaped) and lobed (with 5 cutouts or recesses) of yellowish green color and velvet like surface. The corolla (internal envelope) has a whitish bent tube divided into two lateral halves.


The fruits appear from February to April being drupaceous (fleshy fruit with thin skin and central stone containing the seed) and 2 cm in diameter and are edible. They have a unique sweet, characteristic and appetising flavour enticing you to simply want to eat more. The fruits are used to make a wonderful wine, as the popular and scientific name indicates. They are also used in manufacturing liquor. The fruit can also be used in making jams and jellies, cake toppings, fillings for chocolates and other delicacies. They make for a refreshing delicious smoothie when mixed with oranges or tangerines. The nutritional properties have, as yet, not yet been researched and described.


In folk medicine, the leaves are used to make an infusion as a diuretic and blood cleanser.



Virola sebifera: Ucuuba


Virola Sebifera, known as Ucuuba, Ucuuba do Cerrado, Myristica Sebifera and Red Ucuuba can be found ranging from Central America to southern Brazil and from Costa Rica to northern Brazil. Ucuuba comes from the Tupi language meaning butter tree. Ucuuba is generally found in evergreen forests as well as savannas and at altitudes up to 1400 meters! The Ucuuba is a tall, thin tree that, when fully grown, can vary in height between 5 meters to 30 meters. Considering the fact that there are around 40-60 Virola species identifying and differentiating one individual tree from another can be difficult. The Ucuuba is also in danger of extinction due to heavy logging!


The leaves of Virola Sebifera are simple in shape and can grow up to 30 centimeters long. One can observe the single-sexed small flowers grow in multi branched clusters known as panicles.



The fruit is a reddish color, oval-shaped and between 10-15 mm long and approximately 11 mm in diameter.


Ucuubas’ bark is rich in tannins as well as the hallucinogen dimethyltriptamine, otherwise known as DMT as well as 5- methoxy -DMT which is used by the local people for the treatment of skin diseases. The gum of the bark appears to have the highest concentrations of alkaloids, namely up to 8%. Shamans of the indigenous people of Venezuela smoke the inner bark against fevers and cook it to drive out evil spirits. A red gum/sap is taken from the bark of the tree and used to fight abscesses, paronychia (a nail disease that is an often-tender bacterial or fungal infection of the hand or foot where the nail and skin meet at the side or the base of a finger or toenail), furuncles, anal fissures, bacterial infection of the tonsils, salivary glands and much more.


Ukuuba oil also has anti-inflammatory, healing, regenerating properties. It nourishes, moisturizes and softens the skin. It has a high penetrating power and is quickly absorbed into the skin.


Schizolobium parayba: Guapuruvú

guapuvuruSchizolobium parahyba known as Guapuruvú, is a tree species from tropical America, notable for its fast growth, namely, an amazing 3 meters per year. The guapuruvu tree has an extremely fast growth rate, reaching up to eight meters in height in its first three years. Parahybum is a widespread pioneer species from tropical and pre-montane (describing the zone immediately below the montane zone and montane means of or inhabiting mountainous country) forests zones of the South American Atlantic coast, flourishing on well-drained moist soils on plains and hillsides. The tree is locally known by many names, such as guapuruvubacurubuficheira (“token tree”), faveira (“fava tree”), pau-de-vintém (“penny-wood”), pau-de-tamanco (“clog-wood”), umbela, and parica, Brazilian fire tree (due to the array of small yellow flowers when in bloom) and the Brazilian fern tree. The species name likely refers to the Paraíba River in Southeast Brazil. The guapuruvu tree is used in reforestation projects in Brazil’s Atlantic forest, as it grows fast and is able to colonize disturbed habitats.  Guapuruvú, protects surrounding soil from soil erosion as well as being an important shade tree. The enormous amount of biomass shed by the tree also improves soil fertility.


The mature tree has a straight trunk, up to 40 meters tall and 80cm wide, that branches out only near the top. The bark is smooth and gray green in color except by the scars left by fallen leaves.


The leaves are feathery and fern-like, bi-pinnate, a meter or more in length, with a green stem and 30–50 opposite pinnae, each with 40–60 leaflets 2–3 cm long; they are clustered near the end of the branches, and fall off completely in the dry season. Young trees still without branches and leaves over 2 meters in length are often mistaken for ferns or palms. A water-soluble substances is extracted from the leaves that is used as an antidote to the bites of Bothrop snakes.


 The numerous bright yellow nectar-producing flowers, about 3.5 cm in diameter, bloom from October through December in the Southern Hemisphere, after the leaves have fallen off. In Southeast Brazil they are visited chiefly by a large variety bees.


 The “fruits” ripen between April and June. Each fruit is a tadpole-like pod about 10 cm long, containing a single oval seed, smooth and brown.


 The seeds are used traditionally as beads and buttons.


Licania kunthiana: Marinheiro

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Liciania kunthiana, called the sailor (marinheiro) is also known as Macucaiba, Pau macuco as well as the popular names Oiti, Goiti, Oitizeiro, Oiti-the-beach, Oiti-chickenshit, Guali, Oiti-Mirim, Oiticica, Manga-the-beach-cooked corn, fruit-haired, Guailí, guiti and uiti. The sailor is a medium sized tree that reaches 7 -12 meters in height. This tree can be found in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, northern Parana in semi-deciduous broadleaf forests and open areas. The sailor is used in reforestation projects for shade, the protection of secondary species as well as providing food for wildlife. Within the city limits this tree is used to reduce noise and improve air quality.


The leaves are smooth and simple in shape between 8 -13 cm long.

ChrisobalanaceaeLikaniaL_Menini_Neto The small, light flowers grow in trusses (compact clusters) begin appearing in September and are very attractive to bees and a variety of other insects.


The fruits which ripen in January are round with a small ledge at the base and are always green. As the fruit matures the outer pulp/skin softens which attracts birds, such as thrushes, tanagers, great kiskadees and many more. The fruits are indeed edible and are very nutritious. They are sweet with a faint astringent flavor and used for the high vitamin value. The fruits also have a mild laxative affect and can be used to help prevent attacks of herpes simplex.

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Various types of insects seek out the seeds.


Stryphnodendron pulcherrimum: Falso Barbatimão

BARBATIMAO-1Stryphnodendron pulcherrimum or falso Barbatimão are commonly called Mwanza, barbatimão, Caubi, faveira-camunze, favinha, muanze and paricazinho. Barbatimão is a medium sized tree reaching a height of 15 meters with a diameter of around 40cm. It is also an evergreen, heliophylous (attracted by or adapted to sunlight) and a xerophytic (adapted for life and growth with a limited water supply). Falso Barbatimão is a fast growing pioneer tree able to fix nitrogen and is used in the restoration of degraded areas as well as being a perfect shade tree. It grows at a high frequency and dispersion is more or less irregular though continuous and found in the Amazon and the Atlantic rain forests.



The leaves are small, numerous, dark green and have a long oval shape.


stryphnodendron_pulcherrimum_web_flikr_5271012095_182119ce69_bThe flowers are small with a cream to brown color and have the form of a curl similar to an ear of corn. Meliponina, stingless bees, sometimes called stingless honeybeesor simply meliponines, are a large group of bees consisting of about 500 species, comprising the tribe Meliponini are the pollinators of the abundant flowers.


Their fruits, produced annually in large quantities are, in fact, a dry type of brown pod.


The seeds  are hard, small, slightly elongated with a round base and pointed apex. There is some evidence this tree has medicinal properties. At this time I am still searching for this information. If you, dear reader, know anything drop me an email and I will add the information.


Diospyrus inconstans: Caqui do mato

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The Diospyrus inconstans is known locally as Caqui de mato (persimmon of the woods) and is found in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. Caqui de mato reaches heights varying between 6 – 10 meters with a globular crown and a straight cylindrical trunk. Typical habitat for this species are in forests with wet and rocky soils on the banks of water courses and rarely occurs on the edges of the forest. It is also found in sandy soil with granite boulders. This species blooms in September, October and November and fruits in summer and autumn (March, April and May).

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The leaves are alternate, simple, sub-coriaceous (almost leathery texture), distichous (arranged in two vertical rows on opposite sides of the stem), glabrous (hairless) and obovais (egg-shaped, with a large part dedicated to the apex), attached to the branch by a petiole (shaft support). They vary in size from 0.5 to 1.2 cm in length.


Male flower


Female flower

The flowers are dioecious (having the male and female reproductive organs in separate flowers on separate plants) or hermaphroditic (of both sexes). The flowers are small, solitary, usually pendulous, green. Although these flower images are, in fact, of the persimmon virginiana, are similar to the Caqui do mato, persimmon flowers do not vary much. If you, dear reader, happen to have images of the Caqui do mato flower please send them as I couldn’t find any on line.

CAQUI SILVESTRE Diospyros inconstans FotoDarioNiz (25) Diospyros insconstans[2]

Caqui de mato bears small, purple fruits with very sweet, though sometimes limited pulp. The species is little known outside its native range.


The outer bark is grey and very rutted. The wood has high resistance to pests and diseases.


Croton floribundus: Capixingui

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The Croton floribundus, known locally as Capixingui, Tapixingui or Canopy, is a very common species in the biomes of the Cerrado and the Atlantic Rain Forest in Paraná, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. As a pioneer tree of medium size, around 6 – 10 meters in height, Coton floribundus is the first tree to emerge in degraded areas and therefore is perfect for reforestation projects.

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The leaves are simple and oval to elliptical in shape. They vary in size from 8 -12cm long and 5 – 6 cm wide with the petiole (stalk of leaf) being 1 -3 cm long and have a silvery  underside.

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Capixingui flowers during the months of October through December. The flowers appear in short racemes; a flower cluster with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a central stem. The flowers at the base of the central stem develop first. The flowers not only attracts a variety of bees, it is also one of the six main sources of honey in the state of Sao Paulo.

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 The fruits reach maturity in January and February. The fruits have 1cm long protrusions similar to thorns, are tripartite (consisting of 3 parts) with thee small seeds. Various birds actively seek the seeds from these fruits. Amongst indigenous South American cultures the resin of this tree is used for treating wounds as well as having hemostatic (stops bleeding) anti-septic qualities. It is also used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and has been used successfully in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections including herpes.



Psidium guajava: Goiabeira


Psidium guajava known locally (Brazil) as goiabiera is a small tree in the Myrtle family (Myrtaceae) is well known throughout the tropics. This is, in part, due to the variety of products made from guavas. The term guava has its’ roots in the Arawak (indigenous peoples of the Greater Antilles and South America. The Taino, an Arawak subgroup, were the first indigenous people Christopher Columbus happened to meet on Hispaniola) language, guayabo meaning guava tree. It has been adapted in many European and Asian languages, all using a similar form. Psidium guajava reaches a height of, approximately, 7 – 8 meters.

Psidium_guajava_bark_01The bark is reddish brown which when peeling reveals a smooth grey bark.

psidium_guajava leaves The goiabiera has opposing, short petiole (stalk that joins leaf to a stem) tough dark leaves that are oval or elliptical in shape with a somewhat irregular outline. They are 7–15 cm long and 3 -5 cm wide, aromatic when crushed, are evergreen. These leaves are also  leathery, with conspicuous parallel veins, and have a downy underside. Since the 1950s, guavas, in particular the leaves, have been studied for their elements, potential biological properties and history in folk medicine. In Trinidad and Brazil, a tea, called chá-de-goiabeira made from young leaves is thought to be useful in treating diarrhea, dysentery or fever. Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid. Having a generally broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients, a single guava contains around four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange.


 The flowers are white and faintly fragrant. They appear singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils with 4 -5 petals that are quickly shed showing off a prominent tuft of, approximately, 250 white stamens tipped with yellow anthers.


 Trees flower and bear fruit almost year round. In fact due to the trees’ rapid growth it begins to bear fruit at 2 -3 years of age. The fruit size and shape varies from 5 – 10 cm across and are round to oblong and at times pear shaped.

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Due to a high level of pectin, guavas are used extensively to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as Brazilian goiabadaand, Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo as well as fresh juices. Guava seed oil can be used for culinary uses, pharmaceuticals and in cosmetics in skin care products. The guava is a very good source of beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, zinc and selenium


The guava does not pay much attention to soil quality, growing equally well in heavy clay, marl (unconsolidated sedimentary rock or soil consisting of clay and lime), light sand, gravel near streams or on limestone! Psidium guajava is even somewhat salt-resistant. Guavas are seen growing spontaneously on land with a high water table that is too wet for most other fruit trees.


Ficus adhatodifolia: Gameleira


The Ficus adhatodifolia known as Gameleira in Brazil is one of the most important canopy tree species of the rain forest. Gameliera is a very common large tree that reaches a height of up to 48 meters. This tree is also called, locally, the “kill stick tree” and also known as the strangler fig!

 gamel2 It happens to have an alternative manner of propagating and growing. Monkeys, bats and birds, in particular, who have eaten the fruits, deposit the seeds, unaffected by the digestive system, through their feces. This means that this tree, more often then not, comes into the world as an epiphyte (a plant that grows on another plant/tree but is not parasitic) where it begins to grow in the “armpits” of trees. The leaf litter, rain and other nutrients in that “armpit” provide exactly what is needed for the seedlings to grow. Mountain climbers will have a certain affinity with this tree; they both like to rappel! However there is a difference. The Gameleira sends out numerous thin roots that wend, weave and rappel their way along the host trunk to the ground. Once the roots reach the ground they dig into the soil, which initiates a growth spurt. This is, as it happens, in competition with the host tree. Gameleira then sends more roots down that enclose the host and fuse together. As the roots of the Gameleira grow thicker and stronger they begin to strangle the host tree. Once the Gameleira reaches the canopy it begins producing an inordinate number of leaves robbing the host further of sunlight. The host eventually dies of hunger and strangulation leaving Gameleira to stand on its’ own.  The mountaineer, on the contrary simply rappels to the ground, gathers his/her stuff and moves on leaving everything else intact!


What does this do for wildlife though? When the host tree dies and eventually rots away the space left behind within the root system that had wrapped around the host provides food and shelter for many species of animals.

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Gameleiras have a light colored bark with a canopy that is shaped much like an umbrella.


The leaves closest to the sunlight are darker green in color then their sibling leaves, which are in the shade and therefore lighter in color. The leaves are quite simple in shape, oval and vary in size anywhere between 3.5cm – 7.5cm long. The leaves exposed high in the canopy have smooth edges, are waxy, dark green, glabrous (free from hair) on the upper side with tiny hairs on the underside.

 figo32 Just like the fresh figs we have seen when cut open reveal what look like seeds and tubular structures, that fig is, in fact, called a syconia inflorescence (a closed receptacle) a flower bearing structure carrying male and female flowers with the males bearing pollen and the females bearing the seeds. Tiny wasps enter the cyconium to aid in the pollination process. The wood of this tree is often used to make bowls and when one makes a small cut into the bark it “bleeds” a white milky substance. This is used as a medicine to deworm, but only by those who know the secrets of herbal therapies, as incorrect use can be dangerous.


Zeyheria tuberculosa: Ipê Tabaco

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Zeyheria tuberculosa, known locally as Ipê Tabaco, is endemic to Brazil specifically in Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo. Unfortunately this tree is also threatened by habitat loss and is registered as ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[338]. These trees reach a height of 15 – 23 meters, with a trunk diameter of 40–60 cm. Ipê Tabaco grows rapidly and has a high reproduction rate allowing this species to be used in the restoration and recovery of degraded areas. They improve soil quality of previously deforested  regions, adding nitrogen and potassium in the added organic  matter. This pioneer species is found in rainforest, dry forest and cerrado.

1-Zeyheria-tuberculosa-Vell 2 The leaves are compound, made of  five leaflets, and grow to 40–60 cm in length.

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The tree blooms between November and January, and its fruit ripens between July and September.

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The pod or “fruit” from a large tree may look like a hairy pacman but it packs a lot of seeds that are light-weight and easily wind-borne.

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Extracts from the tree, known as “ipê-preto”, are used locally as medicine for cancer and skin-diseases. Laboratory tests have shown antimicrobial properties in these extracts, but due to concerns about toxicity no clinical applications have been utilized at this date.


Aspidosperma parviflorum: Guatambu


The Aspidosperma parviflorum known locally as Guatambu is native to Brazil and typically found in its’ naturally occurring Biome: the Atlantic Rain Forest and is particularly present in Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul Minas and as it is a secondary species Guatambu is used in reforestation projects. The name Guatambu, comes from the Tupi with gua meaning water and tambu meaning larva.Gautambu trees are medium-sized reaching heights varying between 3.5 meters – 20 meters.


The leaves are membranous, measuring up to 15cm, lance shaped with wavy margins and distributed alternately. Its trunk has a grayish rough bark, measuring 40-80 cm in diameter and extends far into the air before being covered by the canopy.

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Guatambu - julho

The flat “fruit” looks similar to a spoon. The fruits ripen from July-August, then open releasing winged seeds, which overlap each other on brown tissue like walls, which is the reason it is called “Monkey’s wallet”.  One pound of “fruit” contains approximately 5,000 seeds, which can be stored for more than 4 months.

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Small white flowers begin appearing in January, which is very useful for apiarists. The seeds are collected in September.


 Genipa Americana: Jenipapo

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Genipa Americana known locally as Jenipapo also goes by variations including Jenipapeiro, genipap jenipapo-of-america, janipapo, janipapa, jenipapinho, janapabeiro, janipapeiro, jenipá. It is commonly called Genipapo or Huito; the alternate name Jagua  may refer to other species of Genipa as well. The Inca called it hawa or wituq and in the British islands of the West Indies, it was called the marmalade box. Jenipapo is a small to medium sized tree that can reach a height of 20 meters. This tree is also used in reforestation projects as a pioneering tree and also used in urban landscaping.

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The leaves are simple, glabrous (hairless), lanceolate to oblong, 20–35 cm long and 10–19 cm broad, and are a glossy dark green.


The bisexual flowers appear in late spring. They are creamy-yellow or red with a brown center with a 5 lobed corolla and a light fragrance. They bloom in short, branched, terminal inflorescences. The flowers are a wonderful source of nectar for honeybees.


The fruit is a thick-skinned edible berry 5–8 cm diameter, globular, edible sweet berry that ripens during the summer and is much appreciated by the local fauna. The fruit can be consumed raw or in the form of candy, ice cream and fermented juice for making wine and liqueurs.

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Indigenous tribes, even today, bathe their legs in the clear liquid obtained from the fruit. The liquid has an astringent effect and as the liquid oxidizes, it stains the skin black. These stains are semi- permanent staining only the top few layers of skin, and thus disappear after about a fortnight as the skin naturally sheds.


Jenipapo also has medicinal properties and is used to treat diseases. The fruit is eaten as a remedy for jaundice and when eaten in large quantities destroys parasitic worms. The juice is used as a diuretic and a fruit infusion is used as a cold remedy. The crushed green fruit as well as a bark decoction are applied on venereal sores and for pharyngitis (sore throat). A decoction made from the roots acts as a strong purgative. When the bark is cut, in much the same way a maple is cut for the syrup, Jenpapo exudes a whitish sweet gum which when diluted is used as an eyewash and also used to alleviate corneal opacity. A flower decoction and juice from the leaves are commonly given as a tonic to reduce fever. It is also said to be useful for treatment of candiru ( attacks. It seems there are also properties for lowering blood pressure as well as fighting certain types of cancer.


Gochnatia polimorpha: Candeia

Gochnatia polimorpha Candeia 1

 Gochnatia polimorpha also known as Candeia grows in the Atlantic rainforest, mainly south of Minas Gerais State. Candeia is a medium size tree that reaches a height of 2-4 meters, often with multiple trunks. Candeia is a rapid growing tree adapted to poor and dry soils and is therefore used as a pioneer tree in reforestation schemes.

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Flowering begins in October and the “fruit” begins appearing in December. The leaves are simple and rough, growing to 15 cm with a whitish middle. The flowers appear in in clusters with small winged seeds, which are carried away by the wind.


The bark is very rough giving it a gnarled look.


Gochnatia polymorpha is used in folk medicine to treat inflammation and infections. The leaves are used in the treatment of broncho-pulmonary diseases and is an excellent source of an ingredient valued for its anti-inflammatory effect and used in cosmetics for sensitive skin. It contains an active ingredient that is extracted from its wood that contains over 95% a-bisabolol, an ingredient long used in medicine as well as in cosmetics for its softening and soothing benefits. Essential oils are also extracted from the leaves and flowers.


Plinia edulis: Cambucá

 Cambuca 1 Plinia edulis known locally as Cambucá grows wild in the Atlantic Rainforest regions around the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The name is derived from an indigenous word for jar, cambuci, due to the tree’s fruit resembling a type of water container, which some would say is “flying saucer”-shaped. Cambuci comes from the Tupi-Guarani and means “fruit of nurse or suck” because the pulp must be sucked. Due to the demand for her wood Cambucá’s are almost extinct in the wild!

Cambuca2The tree reaches heights of 5 to 10 meters, with a dense and rounded crown, leaves are simple and lanceolate (shaped like the head of a lance). The upper side is glossy and 12-17 cm long by 3 -4 cm wide.

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 The white flowers are single or clustered in the stem. The flowering period is short, from approximately 7-12 days, starting in mid-December to late January, followed by fructification from mid-January until early March. The flowers grow directly on the stem.

Fruta-CambucáThe fruit’s coloration is yellowy-green, size is 6 cm in diameter and taste is sweet-sour. The flavor of the Cambuca fruit resembles a light combination of mango and papaya. A member of the myrtle and eucalyptus family, propagation is by seed. The yellow fruit can be eaten fresh or made into a compote.The ripe fruits are yellow and represent an important food source for wildlife.


 In folk medicine , the leaves and seeds in the form of infusion are used homeopathically for bronchitis , cough and whooping cough. The health benefits promoted by cambucazeiros are popularly known for caiçaras the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro . Some research investigating the medicinal potential of the species and the preliminary results showed low toxicity and efficiency in protecting the stomach against ulcers not chronic, when using the extract obtained from the leaves of cambucá. “Aqueous extract of Pliniaedulis leaves: Antioxidant activity and cytotoxicity to human breast cancer MCF-7 cell linethe aqueous extract of Plinia edulis leaves (AEP). ► AEP exhibited antioxidant activity and was cytotoxic to the human breast cancer MCF-7 cell line. ► The extract seems to be a chemopreventive agent and a good candidate for antineoplastic drug development.” (South African Journal of Botany) “Menezes-de-Lima Jr. et al. (1997) showed that several species of Myrtaceae exhibit significant anti-inflammatory activity associated with the essential oils produced in these plants. Siani & Branquinho (1997) described the essential oils of a plant as defensive chemical reagents against herbivorous predators and microorganisms. According to Souza et al. (1998), these oils have a broad spectrum of biological effects, including anticancer, anti-malarial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and microbicidal activity. Bragança (1996) and Maciel & Cardoso (2003) reported that the leaves of Plinia edulis (Vell.) Sobral, known as “cambucá,” exhibit anti-diabetic activity and are useful for the treatment of stomach problems and throat infections. Cruz(1995) referred to the delicious fruit of this species as boosters.”(



Annona squamosa: Sugar Apple


Annona squamosa also known as the Sugar Apple. In Brazil, it is called fruta-do-conde, fruta-de-conde, condessa, fruta-pinha, pinha  ata or anona. Annona squamosa is a small, semi-deciduous multi branched shrub or small tree 3-8 meters tall. The Sugar Apple is a native of the tropical Americas and West Indies, and is called the Custard Apple in the Philippines.


The leaves are simple, oblong, lanceolate (shaped like the head of a lance) or elliptic, glabrous (smooth) above and alternately arranged. Flowers are fragrant, creamy yellow to greenish in color, seen solitary or in groups of up to four in leaf opposed cymes (a flower cluster with a central stem bearing a single terminal flower that develops first, the other flowers in the cluster developing as terminal buds of lateral stems).

  1411658718 tumblr_mh0aj3T6Yn1qg5xklo5_500The fruit is round or ovoid, conical, 5–10 cm in diameter and 6–10 cm long, and weighing 100–240 grams, with a thick rind composed of knobby segments, yellowish green when ripe, with a soft creamy pulp. Seeds are hard, brownish black and smooth in texture. It is unique among Annona fruits in being segmented, and the segments tend to separate when ripe, exposing the interior. The flesh is fragrant and sweet, creamy white to light yellow, and resembles and tastes like custard.


The Sugar Apple is known as the “Aristocrat of Fruits” for its nutritional value. This is due to its’ being high in energy, an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, a good source of thiamine and vitamin B6, and provides vitamin B2, B3 B5, B9, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium in fair amounts. It is considered beneficial for cardiac disease, diabetes hyperthyroidism & cancer. The root is considered as a drastic purgative(4). An infusion of the leaves is considered efficacious in prolapsusani (anal prolapse) of children, crushed leaves are sniffed to over come hysteria & fainting spells as well as being applied on ulcers & wounds. The ripe fruits of this shrub/tree are applied to malignant tumors to hasten suppuration. The leaves are shown to have anti-diabetic properties. It is also known for its hepato (liver)-protective powers and scientists have experimentally proven the efficacy of the alcoholic extract of the leaves and stem in malignant tumors.



Myrciaria jabuticaba: Jabuticaba caipirinha

jaboticaba 1

This weeks Tree of the Week is the fruit bearing Myciaria jabuticaba tree, a small to medium sized tree reaching between 80cm-2.5 meters tall and has many low hung branches that are full of leaves..  Other common names include Brazilian Grape Tree, Jaboticaba, Jabotica, Jabuticabeira, Guaperu, Hivapuru, Sabará and Ybapuru.The name jabuticaba is derived from the Tupi word Jabuti meaning tortoise and Caba meaning place. In other words the place where you find tortoises. The Guarani name is “Yvapuru” with yva meaning fruit and purũ meaning the crunching sound the fruit makes when one bites into it. This tree is native to southeastern Brazil from Ipaneminha to Minas Gerais and São Paulo. It spreads quite prolifically in degraded areas and the seeding is done by wildlife.

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  The flowers bloom from the trunk.

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The fruit also grows from the trunk and is about 3-4 cm in diameter with a very thin skin, and a wonderfully sweet flavor. Each fruit contains 1-4 large seeds. Bees are attracted to the flowers that appear between August and November. Towards November the purplish black fruits begin to appear attracting birds and other fruit eating animals. The fruits are marketed locally and used to make jellies, jams, tarts, strong wines, and liqueurs.

jaboticabajelly p-jaboticaba-wine

Traditionally, an astringent decoction of the sun-dried skins has been used as a treatment for hemoptysis (the coughing up of blood), asthma, diarrhea, and for gargling for chronic inflammation of the tonsils. Several potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory anti-cancer compounds have been isolated from the fruit,  the most unique compound being jaboticabin.

All in all a wonderful tree with wonderful uses for its fruits!


Fedegoso gigante: Senna alata


Fedegogo gignate is found from the Amazon to Mato Grosso, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Goiás. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree which can grow to a height of 10 meters tall and with its candelabra like branches it can be as much as much as 3 meters across.

Senna alata flower

The huge pinnate leaves are up to 75 cm long and composed of 7-14 pairs of large, oblong leaflets, each around 8-20 cm long and 3-10 cm wide. The cup shaped flowers are bright yellow, and stand in erect terminal clusters arising from  the leaf axils. The clusters stand 15-60 cm tall and look similar to candles. This is the reason behind another name for this shrub/tree, namely the Candle tree and candelabra tree.


 The fruit is a straight or slightly curved, winged pod around 11-19 cm long.


 Another common names for this plant is popcorn senna, a reference to the shape of a single blossom.

323px-Senna_alata_Blanco1.124-original The leaves and sap contain a fungicide, chrysophanic acid, used to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and therefore Fedegogo gignate is also called the ringworm tree. Due to the anti-fungal properties, it is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos and lotions. The flowers are rich in flavonoids as well as vitamin C. The effectiveness of this plant against skin diseases is confirmed by modern scientific studies.Other chemicals contained in the plant includes saponin which acts as a laxative and expels intestinal parasites. In Africa, the boiled leaves are used to treat high-blood pressure. In South America, besides skin diseases, it is also used to treat a wide range of ailments from stomach problems, fever, asthma to snake bite and venereal diseases (syphilis, gonorrhoea), liver congestion, dyspepsia, typhoid, liver, hemorrhoids, herpes, infection, malaria, white cloth, treatment and prevention of erysipelas and scabies.


 Pourouma cecropiifolia: Embauba de vinho

Pourouma_cecropiifolia 1

The Pourouma cecropiifolia, known locally as Embauba de Vinho and in English is called the Grape Tree. This is a quick growing medium-sized evergreen tree that grows up to 20m tall and does well in upland soils and does not tolerate flooding. Pourouma cecropiifolia has been cultivated since pre-Hispanic times by the south western Columbian indigenous people.

Pourouma_cecropiifolia 2pourouma cecropiifolia 3.1

The leaves are palmated (leaf having several lobes (typically 5–7) with the midribs radiating from one point), with 9–11 leaflets 10–20 cm long and 2.5–4 cm broad, on a 20 cm petiole (stalk that joins a leaf to a stem; leafstalk). The white flowers appear in groupings of 20 or more in a 10 cm long inflorescence (process of flowering). The Grape Tree is dioecious (male and female reproductive organs in separate individuals), with male and female flowers on separate trees.

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 The fruit grows in large bunches which hang from the thin branches and are ovoid, 1–2 cm long and purple when ripe, grape-like but with a wintergreen fragrance and the skin is rough, inedible but easily peeled. The fruit is sweet and juicy, eaten fresh and made into jams as well as jellies and wine. The sweet flower perianth (the outer part of a flower, consisting of the sepals and petals) is generally eaten raw and used in making drinks and wine too. The seeds when toasted are used as a substitute for coffee.  It is said that eating the “grapes” helps the kidneys.


Erythrina speciosa: Corticeira ou Eritrina


Erythrina speciosa, known locally as Corticeira ou Eritrina is native to Brazil and has been cultivated and introduced in Africa and India. This tree is native toNortheast (Maranhão), mid-West (Mato Grosso do Sul), Southeast (Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro), South (Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul and found in the Amazon, Cerrado and Atlantic rain forest and in semi-deciduous forests. This wonderful tree grows well in swampy areas, along the banks of rivers and along the coast. Erythrina speciosa has a very high ecological  importance with great potential for use in degraded forest areas due to its hardiness as well as for harboring epiphytic plants, i.e. orchids and attracting birds and bees. Hummingbirds and bees love the flowers of Erythrina speciosa!

 Coral 2

When in bloom Erythrina speciosa produces clusters of red flowers growing upwards. Its’ flowers are visited by parakeets, parrots and hummingbirds for the nectar the flowers provide. Bees also love the flowers and are important for pollination. The petals of the flowers are edible. They can be cooked or sautéed and seasoned with pepper, salt, garlic, onions, etc., resulting in a delicious dish.

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In November cylindrical fruit pods approximately 20 cm long appear with each pod, similar to a string bean, holding about 10 dark brown seeds.  

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In traditional medicine, it is used for a multitude of ills: against coughs, mouthwash against oral infections, liver disease, hepatitis, muscle pain, insomnia, hypertension, sinusitis, rheumatism, healing in cancerous wounds, menopause, depurative, wounds, ulcers and skin rejuvenation. Indigenous tribes of Paraná and Santa Catarina use it for treating toothaches, first baby bath (as prevention of hypothermia), bladder pain and hemorrhoids.


Cassia ferruginea: Canafístula de besouro


Here is a tree most of you will recognize: Cassia ferruginea also know as Golden Shower! There are hundreds of Cassia species, but it is unclear just how many, however there are an estimated 692. They occur world-wide and therefore tolerate a wide range of climates and temperatures. In general, they love warm temperatures. Arid land species are very well suited for reforestation purposes due to the fact they are fully sun tolerant. They greatly improve soil quality and stop desertification. The Cassia ferruginea is native to South America.

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Blooming begins in the late spring to mid summer. It is due to the abundance of flowers blooming that gives this tree her name.These fast growing trees reach a height of 9-12 meters (30-40 ft.) while others well over 12 meters (over 40ft). The branches are evenly spaced and the leaves grow up to 8 x 2.5 inches.

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Cassia ferruginea produces a long seed pod filled with a sticky pulp containing 40-100 seeds. The fragrant blooms attract bees, butterflies and birds therefore is perfect as a natural habitat.

Cassia + hummingbird

 This beautiful tree also has medicinal qualities and therefore called the disease killer. It contains elevated quantities of anthraquinones and consequently natural anthraquinone derivatives tend to have laxative effects.Derivatives of 9,10-anthraquinone include many important drugs (collectively called anthracenediones). They include laxatives, anti-reflux, anti-malaria, anti-neoplastics in the treatment of cancer and treatments for skin disorders.


Copaifera langsdorfii: Copaíba

 copaba 1

Copaifera langsdorfii, known as Copaiba is a deciduous to semi deciduous tree. The Copaiba is heliophytic (thrives in bright sunlight) as well as xerophytic (needs very little water) and reaches a height of  5-15 meters. The canopy of Copaiba is dense, the bark reddish brown with the inner bark being pink. The bark gives off a strong smell due to the oil within affording yet another name for Copaiba: Pau d’oil. The leaves are paripinnated with leaves measuring 4 to 5 cm in length and 2 to 3 cm wide with new leaves being a bright pink color. The flowers are hermaphroditic and white-green, measuring 0.5 cm in diameter and exude a mild sweet fragrance. The “fruit” is basically a pod containing a seed.

copaiba 4The oil of the Copaifera langsdorfii was widely used among indigenous peoples of Brazil long before the Portuguese arrived there. There are indications that the use of this oil came from observing the behavior of certain animals which, when injured, rubbed against the bark of the copaiba. The indigenous people used it primarily to hasten healing once the umbilical cord had been cut on newborns to prevent infection in the first seven days. It must also be noted that when “warriors” were wounded they would anoint the body with the copaiba oil and then lay on suspended and heated mats to heal the wounds. Copaíba is also an incredibly powerful antibiotic of the forest, which has saved the lives of many seriously wounded Indians and mestizos. In some regions it is widely used as an anti-inflammatory. Copaiba oil is a fabulous bactericidal and anti-inflammatory suitable for external use. Internal use (ingestion) is still controversial and is being researched mainly by the Federal University of Acre. It has been recently discovered and published research indicates copaiba oil is an excellent natural remedy for acne.

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All in all a very impressive tree!


Jacaranda macrantha: Carobão

 Jacaranda 1

 The jacaranda or caroba ( Jacaranda micrantha ) is a species of  bignoniácea tree of the genus Jacaranda. It is endemic to the Atlantic Forest of east-central South America. The name is believed to be of Guarani origin, meaning fragrant. The Jacaranda is native to the Cerrado vegetation in Brazil. It lives in tropical and subtropical forests at altitudes between 90m and 900m.

Jacaranda 2 Jacarandas are among the world’s most spectacular flowering trees with lavender blue, tubular blooms in late spring and early summer. The ferny, compound leaves provide fine-textured shade during the warmer months. They are generally deciduous in the winter. The flattened pods are produced in late summer and fall. Because of its remarkable flowering lilac is employed as an urban tree.

jacaranda-3 The species are shrubs to large trees ranging in size from 20 to 30 m (66 to 98 ft) tall. The leaves are bipinnate in most species, pinnate or simple in a few species. The flowers are produced in conspicuous large panicles, each flower with a five-lobed blue to purple-blue corolla; a few species have white flowers. The fruit is an oblong to oval flattened capsule containing numerous slender seeds.


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Jacaranda Caroba (Brazilian Caroba-tree) is a medicinal plant having a reputation as a remedy in venereal diseases and rheumatism, morning sickness, urinary and sexually related symptoms.



Cassia Grandis: Cassia Rosa

 cassia_grandisCassia Rosa is a deciduous (sheds leaves annually) and floriferous tree and cultivated in Campinas, Sao Paulo State. Due to the hardiness and rapid growth of this tree it is used in the restoration of degraded forestland. The largest trees can grow up to 30 meters and the diameter of the trunk around 1 meter. However the average Cassia Rosa does not exceed an average height of 20 meters.

Cassia Rosa 2The bark is brown, fissured and rough in texture, with minimal flaking.

Cassia rosa 3

The crown is wide, with about 8 feet in diameter and an irregular distribution of branches. The leaves are compound, paripinnate, with 8-20 pairs of oblong leaflets. Flowering occurs between August and November, with the tree still almost stripped of leaves and the ‘fruits’ appear in august. The inflorescences are axillary and of the raceme type in which the flowers are borne along the main stem, with the oldest flowers at the base. The flowers are hermaphroditic and rather showy. Eventually a hair appears that results in a large, woody, brown, indehiscent (not splitting open to release the seeds when ripe) pod that is cylindrical in shape, approximately 11-60 cm long and containing numerous seeds.

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It is said that the Cassia Grandis has medicinal properties to fight anemia and adds iron to the blood yet this has not been confirmed. It is said that does indeed enhance endurance.  A liquid antiseptic can be obtained from the roots and leaves and the flowers are used in many household remedies.

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Myrocarpus Frondosus : Balsamo

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The Myrocarpus frondosus grows up to 30 meters and is endemic to northeastern, southeastern, southern Brazil; eastern Paraguay and NEA of Argentina. Balsamo’s originated in Bahia, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and the Sao Paulo wetlands.This tree is common to the Cerrado and Atlantic Forest region and the name is due to the peculiar smell of the leaves and fruits. Myrocarpus frondosus or Balsamo, as it is called locally, is  extremely resistant to moisture and mold growth.

06balsamThe flowers cover the entire tree, from around June to July and

myrocarpus frondosus 3 The bark is a brownish color and the wood is red with dark yellow spots and the leaves are imparipinnated (a leaf shape; pinnate with a single leaflet at the apex), the flowers are white, and the fruit oblong. Myrocarpus frondosus is used in perfumes and oil balms, obtained by an incision in the trunk.

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The bark, leaves and fruit are used for medicinal purposes. The oil, Cabreuva, presents itself as a light yellow oil with a characteristic odor and flavor and has regenerative properties for the skin such as dermatitis, scars, dry skin, psoriasis. It also moisturizes and restores the glow of the skin. The oil also stimulates the gonads, acts improving frigidity and impotence and has a moderate anti-inflammatory, useful in bronchitis and insect bites.

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Schinus Terebinthifolia: Aroeira Vermelha


 The Schinus Terebinthifolia known as Aroeira Vermelha occurs from Pernambuco to the Rio Grande do Sul and in Mato Grosso do Sul. This evergreen is a heliophyte (a plant or tree that thrives in saline soil) as well as being a pioneer tree. They are commonly found  along the banks of rivers, streams and wetlands  and in floodplains and they also grow in dry, poor soils. The dispersal of their seeds is mainly through birds, which enables a wide dispersion and very good natural regeneration.


 Aroreira vermelha is widely used in folk medicine. It is suitable in the treatment of arthritis, fever, injury and rheumatism. The following ethnopharmacological uses: anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, tonic, vulneraria (to do with kidney disorders), diuretic, antileucorréica, emenagoga (an agent that promotes the menstrual discharge), astringent, healing, and antibacterial ointment.

Another important factor of this plant are its active ingredients widely used in traditional medicine, and its bark and dried leaves are used against fevers, urinary tract problems, compared cystitis, urethritis, diarrhea, gonorrhea, cough, bronchitis, menstrual problems with excess bleeding, colds and inflammation in general. Moreover, its resin is used for the treatment of rheumatism and buboes (an inflammatory swelling of a lymph gland especially in the groin), also as a purgative and fights respiratory disease.  It is also used as an external antiseptic in fractures and open wounds.

The essential oil resin can be used externally for healing and toothache as well as having an antimicrobial effect against various bacteria and fungi. It is also applied in the use against plant viruses and repellent against houseflies. It is effective in ringworm, candidiasis (local use) and some types of cancer (carcinoma, sarcoma, etc..), causes a regenerative action of the tissues and is useful in sores, burns and skin problems.

The  essential oil is also used externally in the form of lotions, gels or soaps, is indicated for cleansing skin, itching, pimples (acne), blemishes, disinfecting of wounds, ringworms.  The decoction of the bark used in a bath can combat malignant ulcers and are found to have cytotoxic properties to cancer(s). The mastic and mastic-salsa-pepper are used in cooking, given the French name poivre rose (pink pepper) , a type of sweet pepper.




Centrolobium tomentosum: Araribá

Araribá 1 The araribá is a Brazilian tree, native to the Atlantic Rain. Today the araribá can be found in semi-deciduous forests of the Parana basin and tributaries and in the states of Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo and northern Paraná. Due to rapid growth the araribá tree is used in the restoration of degraded areas.

Araribá 2

This fast growing tree, also known as Canary wood, grows up to 22 m tall, has a broad canopy and usually rounded leaves. The bark is quite thick (up to 15mm thick), is a light gray or greyish color and slightly rough and cracked in the mixed base. The bark also has lenticels (one of many raised pores in the stem of a woody plant that allows gas exchange between the atmosphere and the internal tissues.) which form longitudinal rows. The internal side of the bark has a yellowish color.

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The centrolobium tomentosum araribá produces winged fruits that are  quite large (approximately 25 cm, depending on the species), hard and thorny. The fruits ripen from August to September. This is the largest species among Araribás. There are others with the smaller sized fruit. Araribá’s yellow flowers appear in clusters at the ends of the branches and blooms during the months of January to March.

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All in all quite the centrolobium tomentosum: Araribá is quite an impressive tree indeed.



Psidium cattleianum: Araçá

Psidium cattleianum Araçá 1

The psidium cattlejanum known as araça, is a small tree reaching a height of 1-9 meters has a sparse canopy and can also be more shrub like. The fruit produced is called the strawberry guava and is red or yellow.  It occurs naturally from Bahia to Rio Grande do Sul, in Mata Altlântica.

 Psidium cattleianum Araçá 2

The twisted trunk has smooth bark that peels off in thin sheets and is gray to reddish brown in color.

Psidium cattleianum Araçá 3

On the other hand the leaves are leathery, glabrous (smooth) and elliptical to oblong in shape growing 5 to 10 cm in length. Young leaves are reddish then turn green as they mature.

Psidium cattleianum Araçá 4

The flowers are solitary, axillary and white, with long stamens and period in which this tree flowers is long, extending from June to December. The fruits ripen from September to March. Araça is found especially in the dense rain forest and sandbanks and may also occur on the savannahs. Araça fruits are rich in vitamin C. With an abundance of phenolic compounds the fruits possess functional properties of interest. There were correlations found with antioxidant activity as well as antimicrobial, anti-proliferative and anti-carcinogenic properties!

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Anadenanthera colubrine: Angico branco


Anadenanthera colubrina known as Angico branco  grows from 5 m to 20 m tall and the bark of this tree is, for lack of a better term, very thorny or horny. The leaves are mimosa-like, up to 30 cm in length and they fold up at night. The A. colubrina has been given “high priority” conservation status in Brazil.


The fruit is dehiscent (of a pod or seed vessel) follicles, rough, flat, with brown seeds, also flattened and pleurogrammed (enclosed by a thin line on each lateral surface of the seed). This feature is not common but is found in legumes and some other families.  it is also believed that the seeds/beans were consumed orally by the Incas.

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The bark, when cut, releases a gum resin used in the treatment of respiratory problems such as cough, bronchitis and whooping cough as well as its  popular use as an astringent, a depurative (free of impurities), hemostatic (stops bleeding) and is also used against leukorrhea and gonorrhea.


The tree begins blooming anywhere from September to November, extending until January. The fruit maturation takes place in July-August and seed collection takes place in august. Seedling development is quite fast, getting ready for planting in situ in less than 4 months!



Andira anthelmia: Angelim de morcego

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Andira Anthelmia are normally found in open fields though not frequently. Aside from being called Angelim amargoso this tree is also known as Angelim pedra and Angelim do campo. The tree is medium sized and attains a height of 14-18 meters. When in bloom the color of the flowers range from purple to pink lasting only a few days. The leaves are imparipinnated ( a leaf shape; pinnate with a single leaflet at the apex) and grow to 10 cm. The fruit is round, 4-6 cm  in diameter and are green and hard even when mature. The flowers begin appearing in July and the fruit season in August and remain on the tree for many months. 

andira anthelmia 2 Andira Anthelmia is suitable for urban planting and are especially effective when planted in degraded areas. The flowers attract honeybees and are, therefore,  important for the production of honey.  The fruit attracts a wide array of wildlife including bats.

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The roots can be used for  distillation for medcinal uses such as:

1.Anthelmintic medicine which is used to destroy parasitic worms.

2. Febrifugal medicine which is used to reduce fever.

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Pterogyne nitens: Amendoim do mato

pterogyne nitens01The Pterogyne Nitens, locally known as Amendoim do Mato, is a mid sized tree that grows up to 10 – 15 feet. Amendoim do Mato grows rapidly and adapts well to various types of soil and climate. The seeds are enclosed in a winged “package (see image below).

Pterogyne nitens Tul_

This is a pioneer tree used for reforestation due to its adaptability. The tree blooms in January and therefore attracts honeybees. The collection of seeds is done in August.

We have all heard through the years that the cure for cancer is in the rainforests and indeed this is the case with Amendoim do Mato. Research done at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo State -UNESP found that alkaloids extracted from Pterogyne nitens induce apoptosis (the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism’s growth or development) in malignant breast cells. Check out the following link for more information:

This amazing tree also has other properties for scavenging free radicals and chromatographic fractionation of stem barks yielding myricetin, quercitrin and mirycetrin, three flavonols, show remarkable antioxidant activity! You can read more about this here:




Luehea divaricate: Açoita cavalo

Açoita cavalo 3

The ‘açoita-cavalo’ is a pioneer tree occurring in various forest formations and commonly found in riparian (of, relating to, or situated on the banks of a river) forests areas of the Atlantic forest. A heliophytic (plant or tree adapted to living in a saline environment) and selective hygrophilic (having an affinity for moisture) species, it is characteristic of alluvial (where a deposit of clay, silt, sand, and gravel left by flowing streams in a river valley or delta, typically producing fertile soil) forests where the açoita cavalo is frequently or even abundantly found. In the dense and high forests, especially in terrains with gentle slopes and deep soils, the species is rarely seen or completely absent. In rocky soils and steep slopes at the top açoita cavalo reappears in a much higher frequency, demonstrating that the species has two distinct ecological environments for its development in the primary forest. The ‘açoita-cavalo’ is considered one of the 55 most important trees for reforestation of degraded areas!

 This species is used for essential oils and has a great medicinal value as well, with anti-inflammatory, anti-anemic, diuretic, and mouth aseptic effects by the infusion of the leaves and decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of arthritis.

 The luehea divaricata is native to the Brazilian states of Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná, Santa Catarina (SC), and Rio Grande do Sul (RS)

  Açoita cavalo 1


Pouteria durlandii: Acá ferro

pouteria torta03The acá ferro originates in the Atlantic Rain Forest Board along the shores and sandbanks and hillsides near the sea in a radius of up to 60 miles. The species is in danger of extinction and is sparsely distributed in the States of Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Northern Paraná, Brazil.

Low-to medium-sized tree, ranging from 10 to 20 meters height with a slender, straight trunk, hard wood and much sought after. The tree has simple leaves, grouped at the end of the branch, 20-25 cm. and flowers directly from the trunk, tiny, white. Fruit round, yellow, 5 to 7 cm diameter, edible, much sought after by birds and monkeys. Can be enjoyed by man, but the bark is rough. The seeds are brown with yellow, 1.5 cm-3 cm long with one seed per fruit. Germinates well, but does not do well in other ecosystems.

Use(s): Fruits in the months of January to March. The fruit is small and quite tasty. The flowers have great potential for attracting bees for the production of honey.



 Pradosia lactescens: Abiu do mato, Marmixa

          Marmixa 1           

The Latin name(s): Pradosia lactescens  (Vell.) Radlk. (Sapotaceae), known as: Bunhanhém, Pau de remo, Pau doce, Guaranhém, Monesia

The Pradosia lactescens is a medium-sized tree, grows to 8-12 meters in height and is nearly extinct! The tree has simple leaves approximately 6 to 8 cm with the tip being wider than the base. Flowers bloom right from the trunk. The fruit is oblong, yellow and 4-5 cm in diameter. The shell/skin is hard and quite thick and contains one to two seeds wrapped in a thin edible aril (extra skin, quite delicate). Due to the presence of latex, it is recommended to eat the fruit some time after being harvested.

Pradosia lactescens also has some medicinal properties. The bark can be used for discharges, bronchitis, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), diarrhea, ocular inflammation, tuberculosis, cutaneous ulcers and metrorrhagia (uterine bleeding at irregular intervals, particularly between normal expected menstrual periods). The bark also provides a milky liquid that is both an astringent and tonic and also indicated for use against malaria. This species comes from the Atlantic Rain Forest.

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March 21, 2014

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