Taxonomic name: Cecropia schreberiana Miq.
Synonyms: Cecropia peltata auct. non L.
Common names: grayumo hembra (Spanish), llagrumo hembra (Spanish), pumpwood (English), trumpet tree (English), trumpet wood (English), yagrumo hembra (Spanish)
Organism type: tree, shrub
Cecropia schreberiana is a neotropical pioneer tree native to the Antilles and northern South America. It is strongly associated with post-hurricane, or other disturbance, colonization. It has been reported introduced in Hawaii, West Africa, Malaysia, Madagascar, and French Polynesia. It is known to establish dense stands in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico and has invasive potential to reduce biodiversity and displace native species.
Cecropia schreberiana is a tree which typically reaches 20 m in height and 60 dbh but may grow larger. Leaves of mature trees are simple, alternate, clustered, and peltate measuring 30-75 cm wide, with 7-11 large lobes on a long thick petiole (Brokaw, 1998; Kinsey, 2006). They are dark and scabarous above and densley white-tomentose underneath. Seedling leaves are unlobed, lanceolate, slightly toothed, downy on both surfaces, and whitish underneath. Its bark is gray and smooth. It has few stout branches supporting a thin spreading canopy, with younger branches bearing triangular leaf scars. Flowers of both sexes are very small, about 1.6 mm long, very abundant, and are born on clustered spikes, or aments. Female spikes develop into multiple fruits, swollen to 5-10 cm long and 1 cm thick and containing many minute fruits, each with one achene. These small oblong seeds are about 2 mm in length (Brokaw, 1998).
natural forests, planted forests, range/grasslands, riparian zones, ruderal/disturbed
Cecropia schreberiana is a pioneer species that often inhabits forest gaps and disturbed areas, such as along roadsides or riparian zones but almost never occurs in abandoned pastures or wide open locations (Wen et al, 2008; Zimmerman et al, 1995b). It is an important post-hurricane colonizer that regenerates quickly and abundantly (Brokaw, 1998; Zimmerman et al, 1995a). It requires a wet environment and may be found in subtropical to montane rainforest zones with annual preciptiation from 990-over 3810mm. C. schreberiana grows in alluvial, colluvial, and residual soils with an acidic pH(Silander & Lugo, 1990). It is shade intolerant and requires much light for germination and early growth (Brandeis et al, 2009). It is known to inhabit altitudes from 0-1,300 m (Silander & Lugo, 1990).
Cecropia schreberiana establishes very dense, almost monospecific stands in the Lanquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico where has become one of the 10 most abundant trees and its dominance is maintained by regular disturbance caused by hurricanes. It has the potential to displace or compete with native pioneer or riparian species in introduced locations (Brokaw, 1998; Csurhes, 2008).
Cecropia schreberiana performs a key function in the reorganization of Luquillo Forest, Puerto Rico, and likely other, ecosystems after disturbance, because its abundant regeneration and rapid growth capture and store nutrients. Also, its colonizing saplings may facilitate succession to mature forest by excluding grasses, herbs, and vines that hinder forest development (Brokaw, 1998).
The light wood of C. schreberiana is variously used for matchsticks, boxes and crates, interior boarding and paper pulp. The hollow branches and trunks are used to make floats, gutters and trumpets. In places the leaves, latex or bark are employed in medicinal remedies (Bingelli, 1999).
In Grenada, a tea made from its leaves, along with bamboo, is used for colds and hypertension. It is also known to be used for diabetes and kidney disorders in some locations. In St . Lucia, the stem is made into a musical instrument called the ha ha. In Jamaica, is is also used to make musical instruments.
Cecropia schreberiana Miq. was distinguished from C. peltata L. in 1988. Whereas Cecropia peltata occurs in Mexico and Central America, C. schreberiana occurs in the Antilles and northern South America (Howard, 1988; ISTF, 1997 in Brokaw, 1998; Csuhres, 2008). However, ITIS does not distinguish between the species and, in fact, states Cecropia schreberiana as the valid name for the species and indicates C. peltata as a synonym for C. schreberiana
Native range: Costa Rico, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia
Known introduced range: French Polynesia (Polynésie Française), Hawaii, Madagascar, Malaysia, West Africa
Local dispersal methods
Consumption/excretion: Fruits of Cecropia schreberiana are consumed and dispersed by birds and bats (Australian Weed Committee, 2010; Csurhes, 2008).
Cecropia schreberiana requires high sunlight, especially for germination and early growth (Brandeis et al, 2009). It is also believed to require nutrient rich soils and high nitrogen levels (Zimmerman, 1996b).
Cecropia schreberiana is dioecious and produces wind-pollinated flowers in spikes and abundant minute seeds broadly dispersed by birds and bats. Flowers of both sexes are grouped on clustered spikes, or aments and are very small, measuring about 1.6 mm long, and abundant, an average of 15,140 per pistillate cluster. The female spikes develop into multiple green, finger-like fruits, swollen to 5-10 cm long and 1 cm thick and containing many minute fruits, each with one achene (Brokaw, 1998; Kinsey, 2006). In Coast Rica, flowering and fruiting are seasonal, lasting about nine months, with a peak of four months during the early part of the wet season (Bingeli, 1999 in Csurhes, 2008).
Cecropia schreberiana becomes sexually mature in about 3-6 years. It has been found to mature as early as 3.3 years in more open, sunny locations and takes longer, about 5-6 years, in forest gaps where light is reduced (Csurhes, 2008). Individual trees are thought to live 30-50 years (Brokaw, 1998). It establishes an abundant seed bank from which populations quickly regenerate following disturbances such as hurricanes (Csurhes, 2008).
Principal sources: Brokaw, N. V. L. 1998. Cecropia schreberiana in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Botanical Review 64:91–120
Csurhes, Steve, 2008. Cecropia, Cecropia spp. Pest Plant Risk Assessment. Biosecurity Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Wednesday, 23 February 2011