Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Parmentiera aculeata
(H.B.K.) Seem., Bignoniaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Crescentia aculeata Kunth; Parmentiera edulis DC.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: candle tree, cow okra, cuachilote, food candle tree

Spanish: caat, cat, cuajilote, pepino de árbol

Habit:  tree

Description: 

Genus:  "Small or medium-sized trees, the branches subterete, usually armed with a short spine at each node, the nodes ampliate to form the spines; leaves opposite or subopposite, often alternate on young branchlets, often fasciculate in the axils of the spines, trifoliolate or simple on young shoots, the petioles usually narrowly winged; at least near the apex; flowers large or small, greenish, solitary or fasciculate from nodes on old wood, or terminating the branchlets; calyx spathaceous, closed in bud, cleft on one side in anthesis and soon deciduous, glandular-lepidote; corolla campanulate and somewhat curved, the limb somewhat bilabiate; stamens slightly exserted, the anthers glabrous; disc large, pulvinate; ovary oblong, glandular lepidote, 2-celled; fruit elongate, subcylindric, indehiscent, with fleshy pericarp, smooth or costate; seeds small, numerous, not winged, imbedded in pulp."

Species:  "Small or sometimes rather large trees with usually broad, dense crowns, the trunk short and thick, the bark pale, the branches with short, stout, somewhat incurved spines at the nodes; leaves minutely lepidote, the petioles long, winged; leaflets 3, entire, elliptic to obovate, acute or obtuse, cuneate at the base, 4-8 cm. long, the nerve axils barbate beneath; flowers fasciculate on old wood or axillary at or near the ends of the branches; calyx 2.5-3.5 cm. long, green; corolla green with brown-purple lines, 5-6.5 cm. long; fruit pale yellow, 11-17 cm. long, 2-3 cm. or more in diameter, often curved, conspicuously costate, acute or acuminate"  (Standley et al., 1974; pp. 209-210).

Habitat/ecology:  In Guatemala (native), "Moist or dry thickets or lowland forest, often along rocky watercourses, chiefly at 1,200 m. or less; planted commonly about dwellings in the drier regions.  It is widely spread in cultivation in Guatemala, but the trees are not very numerous, since the fruit is not highly esteemed except in the very dry regions where there is often a shortage of fruits and other food"  (Standley et al., 1974; pp. 209-210).  In Queensland, Australia, "naturalized in the Cairns-Gordonvale area and cultivated occasionally on the Atherton Tableland. Probably introduced because of its edible fruits. Altitudinal range from sea level to 750 m. Found at old settlement sites and in disturbed areas of gallery forest"  (Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  Mexico and Central America; cultivated elsewhere (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (1986) (voucher ID: BISH 599088)
Taxon name on voucher: Parmentiera aculeata (H.B.K.) Seem.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island   Bishop Museum (U.S.A. Hawaii. Honolulu.) (1948) (voucher ID: BISH 10674)
Taxon name on voucher: Parmentiera aculeata (H.B.K.) Seem.
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia
Australia (continental)
Queensland introduced
invasive
cultivated
Hyland, B. P. M./Whiffin, T./Zich, F. A. (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
Standley, Paul C./Williams, Louis O./Gibson, Dorothy Nash (1974) (pp. 209-211)
Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala (Republic of) native
Standley, Paul C./Williams, Louis O./Gibson, Dorothy Nash (1974) (pp. 209-211)
Honduras
Honduras
Honduras (Republic of) native
Standley, Paul C./Williams, Louis O./Gibson, Dorothy Nash (1974) (pp. 209-211)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
Standley, Paul C./Williams, Louis O./Gibson, Dorothy Nash (1974) (pp. 209-211)
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009)


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This page was created on 20 OCT 2011 and was last updated on 28 OCT 2011.