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Cavanillesia platanifolia - Quipo


Native to:



Colombia, Ecuador, Panamá, Peru.

Lowland moist and dry forest. Up to 300 meters above sea level. Tree, up to 50 meters.

Cavanillesia platanifolia - Quipo

Ecological value:

Fast growing. Moths, bees and hummingbirds pollinate the small white flowers.. Trunk swells when storing water. Very drought tolerant. Prefers well drained soil and full sun, in a humid environment. Genus of 5 species native to the Americas.

Material uses:

Wood, very light, substitute for balsa. Currently little commercial use. Traditionally used to make dug-out canoes. Rope can be made from saplings and the inner bark (resembles ‘Cuba bast’ - Hibiscus elatus). Strong white paper. Locally used to make canoes

Edible uses:

Large fruits and seeds flourish around May, said to taste like peanuts.

Medicinal use:

Oil is traditionally used to heal infected wounds.

Other details:

Over-exploited in Colombia and considered endangered. Red-listed. Stores water like a Baobab by swelling. Leaves only towards the top for a month out of the year.


Georgie Osgood/Christine Facella


“Cavanillesia Platanifolia (Bonpl.) Kunth | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 6, 2023.
“Cavanillesia Platanifolia - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 6, 2023.
Barwick. M., ‘Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide’, Thames & Hudson, London, 2004
“Cuipo (Cavanillesia Platanifolia).” n.d. Accessed November 28, 2023.
‘The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants. United States Department of the Army’. New York: Skyhorse Publishing. 2009.
Image source: Barry Stock

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