Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Sterculia apetala
(Panama tree)



Sterculia apetala (Panama tree)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Sterculia apetala
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Panama tree
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae

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TitleFoliage and flowers
CopyrightTodd Fredericksen
Foliage and flowersTodd Fredericksen
TitleSeed pods
CopyrightTodd Fredericksen
Seed podsTodd Fredericksen


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Sterculia apetala (Jacq.) H. Karst.

Preferred Common Name

  • Panama tree

Other Scientific Names

  • Helicteres apetala Jacq.
  • Sterculia apetala var. elata (Ducke) E. L. Taylor
  • Sterculia carthaginensis Cav.
  • Sterculia chicha A. St.-Hil.
  • Sterculia elata Ducke

International Common Names

  • Spanish: anacaguita; chicha; comoruco; Panama tree; sterculia de Panama
  • French: zapote de la forêt

Local Common Names

  • : panama
  • Brazil: panamá-camajondura; xixá
  • Cuba: camaruca
  • El Salvador: castaño
  • Germany: Zapote, Wald-
  • Guatemala: bellota
  • Haiti: pistache des Indes
  • Honduras: castaño
  • Mexico: bellota

EPPO code

  • SRLAP (Sterculia apetala)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Malvales
  •                         Family: Sterculiaceae
  •                             Genus: Sterculia
  •                                 Species: Sterculia apetala

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

North America

BermudaPresent Natural
MexicoPresent Natural

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresent Planted
BelizePresent Natural
CubaPresent Planted
El SalvadorPresent Natural
GuatemalaPresent Natural
HondurasPresent Natural
JamaicaPresent Planted
MontserratPresent Planted
PanamaPresent Natural
Puerto RicoPresentPlanted, Natural
Saint Kitts and NevisPresent Planted
Trinidad and TobagoPresent Natural

South America

BoliviaPresent Natural
BrazilPresent Natural
ColombiaPresent Natural
EcuadorPresent Natural
PeruPresent Natural
VenezuelaPresent Natural

Habitat List

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Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
13 -15 0 780

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 0 0
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 0 0
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 0 0
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 0 0


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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration46number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall18003000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Wood Products

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  • Cases
  • Crates


  • Industrial and domestic woodware
  • Tool handles


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Britton N, 1965. Flora of Bermuda. New York, USA: Hafner Publishing Company.

Burley J; Styles BT, 1980. Tropical Trees-Variation, Breeding and Conservation. Linnean Society of London: Academic Press.

Cheesman EE-et-al, 1947. Flora of Trinidad and Tobago: Vol. I, pt. 8, pp. 465-532 - Umbelliferae, Araliaceae; Index, pp. 533-64. Vol. II, pt. 3, pp. 123-87 - Ebales, Gentianales, Polemoniales (pars). Department of Agriculture, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Price: Index, 60 c., other pts. $1.20 each.

Echenique Manrique R; Plumptre RA, 1990. A guide to the use of Mexican and Belizean timbers. Oxford Forestry Institute Tropical Forestry Paper, No. 20, vi + 175 pp.; 61 ref.

Fanshawe DB, 1954. Forest products of British Guiana. British Guiana Forest Department Bulletin, 1.

Herrera Isla L, 1993. Phyllosticta sp., causal agent of leaf spot and blight in Sterculia apetala (Jacq.) Karst. Centro Agricola, 20(1):82-83

Holridge LR; Poveda LJ, 1975. Arboles de Costa Rica Vol. I. San Jose, Costa Rica: Centro Cientifico Tropical.

Howard RA; Bornstein AJ, 1989. Flora of the Lesser Antilles, Leeward and Windward Islands. Harvard University, USA: Arnold Arboretum, 5.

Janzen DH, 1972. Escape in space by Sterculia apetala seeds from the bug Dysdercus fasciatus in a Costa Rican deciduous forest. Ecology, 53(2):350-361; 37 ref.

Little EL; Jr; Wadsworth FH, 1964. Common trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Agriculture Handbook U.S. Department of Agriculture No. 249. Washington DC, USA: USDA.

Morton JF, 1981. Sterculia apetala Karst. Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America, Bahamas to Yucatan. Illinois, USA: Charles Dumas.

Record SJ; Hess RW, 1943. Timbers of the New World. New Haven, Conneticut, USA: Yale University Press.

South American Hardwoods, 1999. Tree and wood characteristics. World Wide Web page at

Wadsworth FH, 1997. Forest production for Tropical America. Agriculture Handbook, No. AH-710. Washington DC, USA; USDA Forest Service. 563 pp.

Links to Websites

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GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gateway source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Distribution Maps

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