Brosimum alicastrum Sw.
Apomo, ash, juandiego, nazareno, ojite, ojoche blanco, ojochillo, ox, ramón, capomo, ramón blanco, ramón colorado, ojoche (México), mare, charo, sande, guaimero, manta, mondongo, pasita, guaimaro (Colombia), congoña, machinga, congona, urpay manchinga (Perú), tillo, sande (Ecuador), inharé, mururé, muiratinga (Brasil), ajusté (Nicaragua), berba (Panamá), breadnut (Jamaica, Belice, Honduras), capomo (Honduras, Belice), hichoso (Costa Rica, Honduras), freguo, lechero, lechoso, mastate, vaco (Costa Rica), masica, masicarón, masiquilla, ojuste (Honduras), masicarán (Guatemala), masico (Guatemala, Honduras), mesica (Nicaragua), ojoche (Costa Rica, Nicaragua), ojote (Managua-Nicaragua), ojushte (El Salvador), ox (maya-Guatemala), pisba wainka (Moskitia-Honduras), ramón (Costa Rica, Petén-Guatemala, Honduras), ramón blanco (Costa Rica, Petén-Guatemala), ujushte (El Salvador), ujuxte, (Guatemala), charo amarillo, barimiso, charo, guaimaro, sande (Venezuela), árbol de leche (Bolivia), guaimaro, ramón (cuba), moussara (Trinidad), capomo, ojoche, ramón (USA); blodwood (Gran Bretaña).
Alicastrum brownei Kuntze, Brosimum bernadetteae Woodson, Brosimum columbianum S.F. Blake, Brosimum gentlei Lundell, Brosimum latifolium Standl., Brosimum terrabanum Pittier, Brosimum uleanum Mildbr., Ficus faginea Kunth & C.D. Bouché, Helicostylis bolivarensis Pittier, Helicostylis latifolia Pittier, Helicostylis ojoche K. Schum. ex Pittier, Piratinera alicastrum (Sw.) Baill., Urostigma fagineum (Kunth & C.D. Bouché) Miq.
It is a large tree normally 20-25 m in height and trunk to 50-90 cm DBH, but it can grow to a height of up to 35-40 m and 150 cm DBH. The trunk is straight with typically well-developed buttresses. Upswept branches form a rounded or pyramid shaped crown. Rough, blackish-gray colored bark, frequently with large, square scales. Internal bark exudes a sticky, rosy colored sap or latex when in contact with air, one of the distinctive characteristics of this tree. Simple, alternate leaves 5-17 cm in length with sharp apex and smooth margin with thick petiole and pointed stipules. The upper surface is a dark, lustrous green; and the under surface a pale, opaque green; both surfaces glabrous. Flowers produced in greenish inflorescences 1 cm in diameter. Fruit yellowish green and reddish orange when ripe, and produced either single or as racemes and covered by numerous miniscule white scales containing a brown-colored seed measuring 1 cm in diameter. The species has male and female trees, which is why some trees do not bear fruit.
The species belongs to the moist or rainy tropical perennial forests and premontane semi-deciduous forests as well as riparian areas in semi-arid zones. Can withstand hurricane-level winds or cold and moist winds from the north. In forests with seasonal climates, creates dense, almost pure stands. In Honduras' humid zone it is found associated with Cordia megalantha (Laurel negro), Symphonia globulifera (Varillo), Calocarpum sp. (Zapotillo) and Vochysia guatemalensis (San Juan de Pozo). This species plays an important role for fauna.
The phenology of this species is quite varied due to its broad distribution. In humid zones it is an evergreen, but in dry areas it is semi-deciduous and partially looses its leaves during the first three months of the year. Flowering occurs at various times between November and May, or in some areas (eg., parts of Honduras) it may continue throughout the entire year. Fruiting varies from February through October in Central America. In certain areas there may be two production peaks (eg., in Honduras from February to April and from August to October).
Seeds germinate during the rainy season, several months after the fruit has fallen from the tree. It propagates typically by seeds.
Distributed from the south of Mexico (tropical and sub-tropical), all of Central America, the Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad), the north of South America (Colombia, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, the Northeast of Brazil (Roraima)).
It has been planted in Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.
Its wood is important in a variety of local uses, such as in interior carpentry and construction, and simple furniture, particleboard, plywood, forms, lasts, saddles, tools, and sports equipment. The wood is also used for firewood and charcoal.
It is a multipurpose tree. Highly palatable leaves are used for forage. The leaves are highly digestible (>60%) and contain up to 13% protein. In some areas (eg., Guatemala) the branches are cut as forage during the dry season (ramoneo), and in those places where the trees grow in pastures, in addition to providing shade, the animals eat the fruit that falls on the ground. The fruit is highly prized by pigs. In animal feed, the seeds (high in protein - 12-20% - carbohydrates, and vitamins A, B2, and niacin) they may be a partial substitute (up to 30%) for commercial grain, such as sorghum. It provides high-quality protein with good amounts of amino acids (lysine, arginine, tryptophan, valine.) The fruit, which has also been human food since Pre-Columbian times, has a pleasant sweet taste and jellies can be made with its pulp. It has been speculated that the seeds were a fundamental component of the Pre-Columbian Maya diet. The seeds are cooked or toasted, and are eaten whole, as if they were chestnuts. (See www.mayanutinstitute.org.) Flour from the seeds can be mixed with corn to make tortillas; flour from the toasted seeds is used as a coffee substitute. Boiled seeds can be used as a substitute for the potato. Diluted sap from the tree can be used as a substitute for milk due to its pleasant taste and water solubility. This sap has also been used in the adulteration of gum. Medicinal uses include infusions with the leaves for chest infections and asthma, and infusions with the bark as a tonic. The sap is used in Nicaragua to stimulate milk production in women with nursing children, and fruit extract is used in Mexico for the same purpose.
No marked difference between the sapwood and heartwood. Very pale brown sapwood (HUE 10 YR 7/3) and heartwood also a very pale brown (HUE 10 YR 8/3); odor and taste not distinctive; high degree of luster; straight and cross grained; fine texture; surface slightly smooth to the touch; strong veining defined by vascular lines, satiny, mottling visible under 5x magnification, superimposed arching. Indistinct or absent growth rings. Diffuse porosity. Simple perforation plates. Small (4 - 7 µm) alternating polygonal intervascular pits. Areolate radiovascular pits similar to the intervascular pits both in shape and size throughout the radius of the cell. Average vessel diameter 50-200 µm with 5-20 vessels per mm2; vessels 350 - 800 µm in length. Presence of tylosis common. Fibers with miniscule simple pits or areolate pits. Presence of septate fibers. Fiber walls thin to thick. Average fiber length between 900-1600 µm. Linear confluent aliform axial paratracheal parenchyma. Unilateral axial paratracheal parenchyma. Radii 1 to 3 cells in width. Radii with procumbent cells (body of the radius), principally one marginal row of erect and/or square cells and procumbent cells (body of the radius) largely with 2-4 marginal rows of erect and/or square cells. Presence of sheath cells. Radii of 4-12 mm. Presence of latex or tanin ducts. Presence of prismatic crystals in erect and/or square cells. Heartwood is yellow.
Without characteristic odor or taste.
Very pale, brown-colored wood with no appreciable difference between heartwood and sapwood.
Somewhat lustrous surface.
Heartwood classified as resistant to xylophagous fungi (Class 2 according to ASTM D 2017-71 and DIN EN 350-1). However, clear wood is susceptible to stain fungi, which requires rapid processing. Not resistant to termite or marine borer attack.
Residual stresses present in lumber may cause defects during processing.
Chudnoff (12) reports a 0.68% silica level. Silica content exceeding 0.5% of dry weight believed to affect wood working properties.
Moderately resistant to treatment with preservatives.
Wood difficult to season; tends to undergo slight to considerable warping.
Kiln drying is performed in a relatively short period of time. Requires a moderate program, such as F (UK) or M (JUNAC), or T5-C3 (United States of America).
1 640 (556)
140 170 (556)
High silica content makes it somewhat difficult to saw.
Easy in veneering processes.
Easy in veneering processes.
Good workability in machining. Due to its hardness, requires tools with hardened edges and proper cutting techniques in order to obtain high quality surfaces and edges.
Performs well in planing.
Performs well in shaping.
Performs well in drilling.
Performs well in mortising.
Requires predrilling when nailing or screwing.
Easy to glue with common, white glue.
Provides excellent, highly polished finish.
Easy to lacquer.
Somewhat difficult to work with hand-tools.
Substitute for hard maple.
EXTERIOR, bridges, transmission poles, fence posts, crossarms, GENERAL HOUSING, beams, floors, parquet, frames, steps, panels, FURNITURE AND CABINETS, fine furniture, common furniture, cabinets, PLYWOOD AND VENEER, decorative veneer, TURNING, turned furniture, shoe lasts, SPORTS EQUIPMENT, TOOLS, tool handles, PACKING, pallets, heavy containers, pallets, OTHER AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, Handicrafts, Molding, other mold forms.