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Cecropia peltata - Trumpet tree


Native to:



Mexico to northern South America, including Trinidad, Tobago, and Jamaica.

Moist limestone, pastures, secondary growth. 0-1800 meters above sea level. Tree up to 20 meters.

Cecropia peltata - Trumpet tree

Ecological value:

Succeeds in poor and eroded soils. Ideal for initial stages of reforestation in its native environment (including primary), as they provide shade for seedlings and can withstand the intense sun. Fast growing (20 years to adult). Grows back when cut. Seeds dispersed by birds and bats

Material uses:

Trunk can be combined with cement for insulation boards. Paper pulp, matchsticks and toys. Tinder. Sap turned into crude latex rubber. Leaves as sandpaper, hollow stems into life preservers, bottle corks, straws, instruments. Fiber used in rope, cordage and sacs. Wood very soft soft, easily torn.

Edible uses:

Young buds as cooked vegetable. Fruit eaten raw. Young buds as pot herb.

Medicinal use:

Latex treats warts, herpes, ulcers, dysentery and venereal diseases. Tea from the leaves treats/relieves asthma, diseases of the liver, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular problems and snake bites.

Other details:

Ornamental. Mutually beneficial relationship a species of ant: The ant cleanses the tree and protects it from leaf-cutters / other herbivores, in return for food and shelter. Genus of 61 species. Recognizable by large palmately lobed leaves.


Amy Feng / Zac Pepere / Christine Facella


“Cecropia Peltata L. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 6, 2023.
“Cecropia Peltata - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 6, 2023.
Barwick. M., ‘Tropical and Subtropical Trees - A Worldwide Encyclopaedic Guide’, Thames & Hudson, London, 2004
Image sources: ‌Vojtěch Zavadil

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