Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Myroxylon balsamum
(L.) Harms, Fabaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 7 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Myrospermum pereirae Royle; Myroxylon pereirae (Royle) Klotzsch; Toluifera balsamum L.; Toluifera pereirae (Royle) Baill.

Common name(s): [more details]

English: balsam of Peru, balsam-of-Tolu, opobalsam, Peru balsam, Tolu balsam

French: baumier de Tolu, baumier du Pérou

Spanish: árbol de Tolú, árbol tolú, bálsamo blanco, bálsamo de Tolú, bálsamo del Perú, estoraque

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Large tree to 40 m in native habitat; bark resinous and aromatic when broken.  Leafstalk 5-10 (-15) cm; leaflets (5-) 7-13, alternate or irregular, petiolulate 2-4 mm, ovate or elliptic-oblong, acuminate, 3-8 (-12) cm, 11.7-3 r, coriaceous, glossy, glabrous, reticulate, with pellucid lines and dots.  Inflorescences axillary or terminal, congested, with glandular-puberulent axes.  Flowers numerous, 7-9 mm (-slightly larger), soon divergent or nodding.  Pedicels 4-8 mm.  Calyx broadly bowl-shaped, 4-6 mm, irregularly undulate or abortively-toothed, finely canescent-puberulent.  Corolla inconspicuous, white; standard ca. 10 mm, ascending or curved, broadly ovate, long-clawed.  Stamens exserted, with conspicuous anthers.  Pistil glabrous; ovary narrowly obovate, with 2 subterminal ovules.  Legume exserted-stipitate 5-10 mm, oblong-oblanceolate, distally rounded, flat except at seed-bearing apex, 5-11 cm x ca. 2-2.5 cm, punctate or not; valves (central portion) linear-oblanceolate, coriaceous, longitudinally striate and becoming wrinkled, expressed over the apical seed; wings apery, smooth, constituting most of the width of the fruit.  Seed 1, 1-2 cm."

"The Peru-balsam, an economic species of the tropics, is recognized by its irregularly alternate leaflets, small, nodding flowers (little bowls with a central cluster of shortly exserted anthers), and fruits resembling a giant maple samara" (Isely, 1981; pp. 25-27).

Habitat/ecology:  In Fiji, infrequently cultivated near sea level (Smith, 1985; p. 150).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  "Southern Mexico to Panama (and possibly Colombia), cultivated elsewhere" (Smith, 1985; p. 150). "Mexico to northern South America; cultivated in tropics of both hemispheres" (Isely, 1981; pp. 25-27).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (pp. 114-115)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1985) (p. 150)
var pereirae (Royle) Harms. Voucher cited: DA 1552
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
var. pereirae (J.F. Royle) H.E. Baillon
Cultivée
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1979) (pp. 114-115)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 100)
Not seen on this survey.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 87)
Vouchers cited: MacKee 12167, MacKee 12171
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Ecuador (Mainland)
Ecuador
Ecuador (Republic of) (continental) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia (Republic of) introduced
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan, Morelos, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Yucatan
Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Panama
Panama
Panama (Republic of) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Perú
Perú
Perú (Republic of) native
ILDIS Co-ordinating Centre (2013)

Comments:  Reported to be invasive in wet and intermediate zones, sub-montane forest in Sri Lanka (Pallawatta et al., 2003; p. 93).


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This page was created on 5 JUN 2005 and was last updated on 2 NOV 2011.