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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Brosimum utile (H.B.K.) Pittier (Sandé, palo de vaca)

Nomenclature etc. MORACEAE. Trade and local names: cow-tree, palo de vaca, mastate, sandé (cAm, sAm)). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 6 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: Mexico and Central America to tropical South America.

General. Heartwood basically yellow white or grey. Sapwood colour similar to heartwood colour. Density 0.5–0.65 g/cm³.

Vessels. Vessels present. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 160–220–270 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 3–9. Average vessel element length 250–480–780 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 8–10 µm. Vessel-ray pits with distinct borders, similar to intervessel pits. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels absent.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres very thin-walled, or of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1140–1390–2130 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered. Fibres non-septate.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma aliform to confluent, or unilateral. Aliform parenchyma winged. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 2–4.

Rays. Rays 5–8 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 3–4 cells wide. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells or mostly 2–4 marginal rows of upright or square cells. Sheath cells absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes present (latex tubes in rays).

Mineral inclusions. Crystals not observed. The presence of prismatic crystals in rays of B. utile has been described in literature but could not be confirmed in the studied material. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood not fluorescent. Water extract not fluorescent; basically colourless to brown or shade of brown. Ethanol extract not fluorescent. Colour of ethanol extract colourless to brown or shade of brown.

Illustrations. • Macro images. Transverse. Tangential. Brosimum utile. • Transverse section. Brosimum utile. • Tangential section. Brosimum utile. Note: Latex tubes in rays (right). • Radial section. Brosimum utile.


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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