Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: From the state of Sonora, Mexico through Central America (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama) the Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Vincent, The Grenadines, Carriacou, Trinidad), and extending in South America through Colombia and Venezuela to Guyana; through Ecuador and Peru and to Acre, Brazil (Berg 1972). Introduced, and possibly naturalized, to south Florida.

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introduced; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies (Cuba and Jamaica); Central America; n South America.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Trees , to 30 m. Branchlets gray-brown, glabrous. Leaves: stipules clasping, ca. 4 mm; petiole 0.5-0.7 cm. Leaf blade 5-15 × 2-6 cm, base broadly obtuse to rounded, apex obtuse to short-acuminate, nearly cuspidate; surfaces abaxially and adaxially glabrous; veins 12-18 pairs. Inflorescences nearly globose, 3-6 mm diam.; peduncle slender, equal to or shorter than head. Staminate flowers: anther ca. 1 mm diam. Pistillate flowers: style 1.5-8.5 mm; stigmas 0.2-8 mm, unequal. Syncarps yellow, 1.5-2 cm diam.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Alicastrum brownei Kuntze
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Type Information

Isotype for Brosimum terrabanum Pittier
Catalog Number: US 799485
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. Pittier
Year Collected: 1898
Locality: Diquis Valley, Penas Blancas del General, Costa Rica, Central America
Elevation (m): 600 to 600
  • Isotype: Pittier, H. F. 1914. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 18: 69, f. 76.
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Holotype for Brosimum terrabanum Pittier
Catalog Number: US 577522
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. Pittier
Year Collected: 1898
Locality: Diquis Valley, Penas Blancas del General, Costa Rica, Central America
Elevation (m): 600 to 600
  • Holotype: Pittier, H. F. 1914. Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 18: 69, f. 76.
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Isotype for Brosimum terrabanum Pittier
Catalog Number: US 799485
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. F. Pittier
Year Collected: 1898
Locality: Diquis Valley, Penas Blancas del General, Costa Rica, Central America
Elevation (m): 600 to 600
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Holotype for Brosimum terrabanum Pittier
Catalog Number: US 577522
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Verified from the card file of type specimens
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): H. F. Pittier
Year Collected: 1898
Locality: Diquis Valley, Penas Blancas del General, Costa Rica, Central America
Elevation (m): 600 to 600
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
A common species of forest habitats, occurring from sea level to 1,500 m.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Tall green or sub-deciduous forests; and in limestone regions (Miranda in Mills 1957). Dry habitats but also seasonally flooded places near rivers or in swampy places, near ruins of ancient sites; evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous tropical forests, cloud forests (Berg 1972).

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Disturbed areas; 0-50m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering all year.
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Life Cycle

Persistence: PERENNIAL, Long-lived

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Brosimum alicastrum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Brosimum alicastrum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 28
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LR/lc
Lower Risk/least concern

Red List Criteria

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
1998
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
Mitré, M.

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Reasons: Widely distributed in various habitats. Found in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and into South America as far as Guyana and Acre, Brazil (Berg 1972). Occurs in Chiapas, Mexico in the tall green or sub-deciduous forests where dense groupings are formed; and in limestone regions (Miranda in Mills 1957). Considered one of the dominant species of the forest of northern Petén, Guatemala (Lundell in Mills 1957). Introduced to and possibly naturalized in southern Florida, US (Berg 1972).

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Threats

Major Threats
It provides various useful products, including a commercial timber.
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Comments: The timber serves many purposes (Tree Talk 1994).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Latex: Latex is mixed with water, warmed and drunk for dry coughs and for itchy sore throat, by the Guyana Patamona. Latex is applied directly on sores in the mouth and other parts of the body for healing, by the Guyana Patamona.

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Economic Uses

Uses: FOOD, Seed/nut, FORAGE/BROWSE, FIBER, Building materials/timber

Production Methods: Cultivated, Wild-harvested

Comments: The seed kernels are very nutritious, in food value they compare favorably with maize. Their percentage of essential amino acids is higher than maize, especially triptophane. The leaves are good cattle forage (the Spanish name "ramon" means browse for forage). This species is abundant near Maya ruins. It appears certain that the Maya Indians deliberately planted this species as an important alternative food. It has been suggested that this species played a key role in sustaining human population densities in the Maya civilization of 300-900 A.D. (Brucher 1989). Known as a timber species in Costa Rica (Alvarez 1991). The sapwood is suitable for veneers and miscellaneous purposes not requiring resistance to decay. However, heartwood of very limited commercial possibilities because of its small size and scarcity (Record and Hess 1943 in Mills 1957). Commonly used for factory, light, heavy and building contruction, cabinetmaking, chairs, decorative and figured veneer, desks, domestic flooring, fine, rustic and utility furniture and furniture components, handles/shafts, sub-flooring and tables (Tree Talk 1994).

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Wikipedia

Brosimum alicastrum

Brosimum alicastrum, the breadnut or Maya nut, is a tree species in the Moraceae family of flowering plants, whose other genera include figs and mulberries The plant is known by a range of names in indigenous Mesoamerican and other languages, including: ramon, ojoche, ojite, ojushte, ujushte, ujuxte, capomo, mojo, ox, iximche, masica in Honduras, uje in Michoacan, and mojote in Jalisco.

Two subspecies are commonly recognized:

  • B. a. alicastrum
  • B. a. bolivarense (Pittier) C.C.Berg

Biology[edit]

The tree can grow up to 45 m (130 ft) in height.

Distribution[edit]

This tree is found on the west coast of central Mexico and in southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, the Caribbean, and the Amazon. Large stands occur in moist lowland tropical forests at 300–2000 m elevation (especially 125–800 m), in humid areas with rainfall of 600–2000 mm, and average temperatures of 24°C (75°F).[1]

History and culture[edit]

The breadnut fruit disperses on the ground at different times throughout its range. It has a large seed covered by a thin, citrus-flavored, orange-colored skin favored by a number of forest creatures. More importantly, the large seed which is enveloped by the tasty skin is an edible ‘nut’ that can be boiled or dried and ground into a meal for porridge or flatbread. Breadnut is nutritious and has value as a food source, and may have formed a part of the diet of the pre-Columbian Maya of the lowlands region in Mesoamerica,[2][3] although to what extent has been a matter of some debate among historians and archaeologists and no verified remains or illustrations of the fruit have been found at any Mayan archaeological sites.

Brosimum-alicastrum 4.jpg

It was planted by the Maya civilization two thousand years ago and it has been claimed in several articles by Dennis E. Puleston to have been a staple food in the Maya diet,[3] although other research has downplayed its significance. In the modern era, it has been marginalized as a source of nutrition and has often been characterized as a famine food.

The tree lends its name to the Maya archaeological sites of Iximché and Topoxte, both in Guatemala and Tamuin (reflecting the Maya origin of the Huastec peoples). It is one of the 20 dominant species of the Maya forest.[4] Of the dominant species, it is the only one that is wind-pollinated. It is also found in traditional Maya forest gardens.[5]

Nutritional and culinary value[edit]

The breadnut is high in fiber, calcium, potassium, folic acid, iron, zinc, protein and B vitamins.[6] It has a low glycemic index (<50) and is very high in antioxidants. The fresh seeds can be cooked and eaten or can be set out to dry in the sun and eaten later. Stewed, the nut tastes like mashed potato; roasted, it tastes like chocolate or coffee. It can be prepared in numerous other dishes. In Petén, Guatemala, the breadnut is being cultivated for exportation and local consumption as powder, for hot beverages, and bread.

Ramon nuts 05.jpg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Melgar in "Utilizacion Integral del Arbol Genero Brosimum" INCAP 1987
  2. ^ Flannery, Kent; Puleston, Dennis E. (1982), "The Role of Ramon in Maya Subsistence", Maya Subsistence: Studies in Memory of Dennis E. Puleston, Academic Press, pp. 353-366
  3. ^ a b Harrison, Peter D.; Turner, B. L.; Puleston, Dennis E. (1978), "Terracing, Raised Fields, and Tree Cropping in the Maya Lowlands: A New Perspective on the Geography of Power", Pre-Hispanic Maya Agriculture, University of New Mexico Press, pp. 225-245
  4. ^ Campbell, D. G., A. Ford, et al. "The Feral Forests of the Eastern Petén" (2006), Time and Complexity in the Neotropical Lowlands New York, Columbia University Press: 21-55.
  5. ^ Ford, A. "Dominant Plants of the Maya Forest and Gardens of El Pilar: Implications for Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions" (2008), Journal of Ethnobiology 28(2): 179-199.
  6. ^ Flannery, Kent; Puleston, Dennis E. (1982), "The Role of Ramon in Maya Subsistence", Maya Subsistence: Studies in Memory of Dennis E. Puleston, Academic Press, pp. 353-366
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Notes

Common Names

Guyana Patamona: pui-yik.

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Comments

Brosimum alicastrum , native to tropical America, is cultivated in tropical Florida as an ornamental; it rarely escapes.
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