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Luehea seemannii


Native to:



Central and southern Central America, Colombia and Venezuela.

Wet lowland forests, often near streams, hilly areas. Up to 600 meters above sea level. 30 meters tall.

Luehea seemannii

Ecological value:

Very fast growing tree, one of the largest in moist lowland forests. Leuhea candida, another species in same genus, is primarily pollinated by sphingid moths. There are around 25 known species in this genus, native to the Americas.

Material uses:

Heartwood is brownish-pink, at times streaked and not clearly demarcated from sapwood. Wood is soft and not durable, vulnerable to attack from fungi and insects. Used in furniture, flooring, veneer and plywood and particleboard. Used mainly for firewood.

Edible uses:

No record on this species.

Medicinal use:

Bark is used as an astringent and to treat bites and stings from insects, snakes and scorpions. Also used as an antidiarrheal. Most medicinal info is assigned to the species L. divaricata.

Other details:

The trees young shoots secrete a sticky reddish substance, which sugarcane mills use to agglomerate dirt and other debris from boiling juice. Can be used as an ornamental.


Christine Facella


Chudnoff Martin., ‘Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607’, USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin., 1984
“Luehea Seemannii - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 13, 2023.
Tavares, João, Selene Maia, Aracélio Viana Colares, and Douglas Melo. 2016. “The Genus Luehea (Malvaceae-Tiliaceae): Review about Chemical and Pharmacological Aspects,” October.
Image sources: Franz Xaver and Dick Culbert.

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