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Prioria copaifera - Camibar


Native to:



Southern Central America, Colombia, parts of the Caribbean.

Lowland plant, found in swamps and sides of rivers. 35 meter tall tree, up to 400 meters above sea level.

Prioria copaifera - Camibar

Ecological value:

The tree secretes a black resin when cut. The resin is collected by Orchid bees (Euglossine bees) for constructing their nests. Belongs to Fabaceae family - fixes atmospheric nitrogen. Young plants tolerant of shade but need full sun as adults.

Material uses:

The bark can be used for making cord. Resin can be obtained from the wood, and has been used traditionally to make flytraps. The wood is light brown and attractively staked, but is non-durable. It can be used for interior trim, cabinet work, joinery, plywood, and veneer.

Edible uses:

The large seeds of the plant are edible and typically sold under the name 'cativa'.

Medicinal use:

The resin from the wood is used as an antiseptic for cuts and bites by Native Americans.

Other details:

One of the most heavily harvested trees in Panama. Canopy tree. Seeds are buoyant. Listed as a ‘threatened species’ in Costa Rica.


Paige Katona/Christine Facella


“Prioria Copaifera Griseb. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 16, 2023.
“Prioria Copaifera - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d. Accessed November 16, 2023.
Hedrick. U. P., ‘Sturtevant’s Edible Plants of the World’, Dover Publications, 1972
Image sources: Rolando Pérez.

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