PUMPWOOD TREE

Courtesy of Father Alejandro Sánchez
The umbrella-shaped pumpwood tree is part of the rain forest canopy.

Fruit of the pumpwood tree
Pumpwood tree

KINGDOM: Plantae
DIVISION: Magnoliophyta
GENUS: Cecropia
Did You Know...
The pumpwood tree is used in traditional medicines in Cuba, in Puerto Rico, and throughout Latin America. The latex sap is used to treat everything from warts, wounds, and asthma to Parkinson's disease.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONA tall palm-like tree with large leaves in a cluster at the top. It has dark green, radial leaves and yellow flowers.
SIZEUp to 15.25 m (50 ft.) tall; leaves 30.5 cm (1 ft.) across
RANGEPuerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Latin America
NATURAL HISTORYThe sap of this tree forms latex rubber. Young buds are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Member of the cecropia family.
FOODProduced through photosynthesis
PREDATORTermites, earthworms, butterflies, cockroaches, Jamaican fruit bats, and flies
SHELTERThe pumpwood grows in most soil types in full sun, but cannot tolerate of cold or frost.
REPRODUCTIONBlooming in late winter, the fruit appears in spring through summer. The pumpwood is propagated by seeds found in soft, sweet flesh of the cylindrical fruit. The seeds are very tiny, over 1 million per pound.
ABIOTIC IMPACTProductivity depends on light, water, and temperature levels.
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Updated August 28, 2006