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Crataeva tapia - Tapica


Native to:



Central America, parts of the Caribbean, northern and central South America.

Dry or wet forests, grasslands, flooded areas. Up to 1500 meters above sea level. 12 meter tall tree.

Crataeva tapia - Tapica

Ecological value:

A natural pioneer species within its native range, it is suitable for use in reforestation project of degraded areas. Healthy looking plants are seen as an indication of fertile soils. The flowers are a good source for honey bees. Somewhat tolerant to salinity.

Material uses:

The wood ashes are rich source of potash (potassium compound). Very easy to work. A low value wood, it is suitable for minor carpentry, is used in rural construction, for fence posts, boxes, traditional canoes. Also used for making paper.

Edible uses:

The gritty pulp of ripe fruit is edible. The bark, fruits and leaves are used medicinally.

Medicinal use:

The bark, fruits and leaves are used medicinally.

Other details:

Germination rates are usually below 50%, with the seed sprouting within 2-3 weeks. Flavor resembles garlic. Crateva tapia belongs to a genus of 21 species in the caper family (Capparaceae), that can be found in global tropical regions.


Peaches Harrison/Christine Facella


“Crateva Tapia L. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 27, 2023.
‌“Crateva Tapia - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 7, 2023.
‌Lorenzi. H., ‘Brazilian Trees. Volume 2. 4th Edition’, Instituto Plantarum De Estudos Da Flora; Brazil, 2002
Mors W.B.; Rizzini C.T.; Pereira N.A. , ‘Medicinal Plants of Brazil’, Reference Publications; Michigan., 2000
Image source: Dinesh Valke

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