Phragmotheca ecuadoriensis, Camatuhua

Phragmotheca ecuadoriensis

Family: Malvaceae    (Formerly:Bombacaceae)
Subfamily: Bombacoideae
Origin: Ecuador
Big tree taller than 20 ftSemi-shadeFull sunRegular waterEdible plant

This enormous rainforest tree with the fluted trunk was unknown to Western science until 1985. It was described at Jatun Sacha by a group of botanists conducting an inventory of the flora of the upper Rio Napo region.

It is a close relative of the South American Sapote - Quararibea cordata those fruit are sold on South Amercian markets.

The fruit of the Camatuhua is delicious. When it falls on the ground, it is eaten by peccaries (wild pigs), guanta (Agouti spp.) and guatusas (Desyprocta variegata) - large rodents of the rainforest. These animals carry the seeds far from the tree and bury them. Later, they return to dig them up and eat them, but generally they leave a few seeds in the ground. Some of the seeds buried by the rodents germinate and eventually become new trees.

Phragmotheca ecuadoriensis, Camatuhua
Phragmotheca ecuadoriensis, Camatuhua

Link to this plant: