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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Casearia praecox Griseb. (Zapatero)

Nomenclature etc. FLACOURTIACEAE. Syn.: Gossypiospermum praecox (Griseb.) Wilson. Trade and local names: zapatero, naranjillo, limoncillo, lima, manzanito (VE); Maracaibo boxwood, West Indian boxwood, Venezuelan boxwood (GB, US); Maracaibo Buchs (DE); buis des Antilles, buis d'Amerique (FR); palo blanco (PR); agraceijo (CU). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America, or Caribbean, or tropical South America.

General. Heartwood basically yellow white or grey. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Odour indistinct or absent. Density 0.75–0.9 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows or radial rows of 4 or more. Average tangential vessel diameter 15–35–50 µm. Average vessel element length 260–580–860 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 2–4 µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness to very thick-walled. Average fibre length 300–850–1200 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered or distinctly bordered. Fibres non-septate. Attention: plate-like organic contents in fibre lumina may be mistaken for septa.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma absent or extremely rare. Axial parenchyma apotracheal. Apotracheal axial parenchyma diffuse.

Rays. Rays 15–20 per tangential mm (including uniseriate rays; number of multiseriates 8–13/mm), multiseriate (also if only few), (1–)2–3(–4) cells wide. Rays of one size. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells or with more than 4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Multiseriate rays often fused vertically.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square or procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells chambered or not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Casearia praecox. • Tangential section. Casearia praecox. • Radial section. Casearia praecox.


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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