Endemic Plant Facts - January 2011 - Alchorneopsis portoricensis

 Ink drawing of the Alchorneopsis portoricensis/Palo de Gallina

Ink Drawing: USDA Forest Service Collection

Information compiled by Alan Mowbray, USDA Forest Service, El Yunque National Forest – 2011.

Palo de Gallina (Sp.), (No English common name), Alchorneopsis portoricensis(Sci.), native plant, species, Luquillo mountains (El Yunque National Forest), Carite and Toro Negro State Forests, northeastern Puerto Rico.

 

General Information:

Class-Magnoliopsida, Order-Malphigiales, Family-,Euphorbiaceae, Genus-Alchorneopsis, Species-A. portoricensis: First described in 1898 by German botanist Ignatz Urban in his nine volume botanical collection SymbolaeAntillanae seu fundamenta Florae Indiae Occidentalis.         

Description:

A. portoricensis is an erect, small to medium sized evergreen tree, from 20 to 50 feet (6 to 15 meters) in height with a trunk diameter near 1 ½ feet (3.8 centimeters). The outer bark is smooth, slightly grooved and gray in color. Branches are light-brown with fine hairs when immature. Elliptically shaped leaves, pointed at each end, are thin, slightly shiny, and light-green to yellow-green in color, with prominent veins and wavy edges. It has small, greenish or yellow-green flowers bunched together on extremely short stalks – they are dioecious – male and female flowers occur on different trees. Brown seed capsules 3/16 Inch (0.5 centimeters) in diameter each contain three whitish seeds, 1/8 inch (0.3 centimeters) long. The Palo de Gallina flowers and bears fruit throughout the year.

 Habitat:

Palo de Gallina is known from both the upper and lower northeastern mountains of Puerto Rico. A “light demanding” tree, it is usually found in the openings of the forest canopy, often in or beside wet, swampy areas.

 Threats:

A. portoricensis is currently listed as “Non-threatened”by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 Additional Information:

Tropical Vegetation Specialist; USDA Forest Service, El Yunque NF; HC-01, Box 13490,, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 00745; Tel: 787 888 1810

Little, Elbert L. and Frank H. Wadsworth. (1974). Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (second printing–1989). Agriculture Handbook No. 349, US Department of Agriculture – Forest Service, Washington DC; p. 368 (Text), p. 369 (illustration).

Urban, I. (1898-1928). Symbolae Antillanae, Vol. 1-9. Berlin, Leipzig, Germany

Liogier, A.H. (1985-1997). Descriptive Flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands. Spermatophyta. Vols. 1-5. Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico

Liogier, A.H. and L.F. Martorell. (1982). Flora of Puerto Rico and adjacent islands: a systematic synopsis. Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Otero, J.I., R.A. Toro and Pagán de Otero. (1945). Catalogo de los nombres vulgares y científicos de algunas plantas puertorriqueñas. 2nd. ed. Universidad de Puerto Rico.

 

 Ink drawing of the Alchorneopsis portoricensis/Palo de Gallina
Alchorneopsis portoricensis
January