Guacimo Colorado

Guacimo Colorado
Leuhea seemannii

Guacimo Colorado with Mantus Metalmark (Nymphidium mantus) feeding at flower, by Jenn Sinasac

A tall canopy tree of the lowland and foothill rainforests of Panama, this tree can reach 30 m in height.  It has a large trunk with irregular buttresses and irregular branching.  Leaves are alternate and spaced regularly along the branches.  One of the most distinguishing features of this tree is the conspicuous brown underside of the leaf, due to the presence of fine brown hairs.  On saplings, the underside of the leaf is often whitish.  Small whitish flowers with tiny petals are abundant in December and January.  These flowers are filled with nectar and attract birds and butterflies.  Fruits are small, ribbed dry capsules, and turn black when they mature.  The wood from this tree is used to make boxes, boards, paper pulp and is primarily used for fuel, but has little commercial value overall.  It is useful to beekeepers as the bees collect nectar from its flowers.

The Guacimo Colorado tree is common in the Canal area of Panama and around the Canopy Tower, in fact there is one right beside the tower to the west, and is a popular tree to watch for bird and butterfly activity year round.  It can be found along roadsides and forest edges, in the lowlands up to 1000 m.

Fruits, with Black Hairstreak (Ocaria ocrisia), by Jenn Sinasac