Cecropia spp. • Imbaúba


Cecropia spp. are successional trees abundant in initial secondary forest growth, where they grow along the edges of gaps, or free standing. Sloths (Bradypus tridactyles) like to visit the trees to feed themselves with young leaves and fruits. Many species of Cecropia are associated with aggressive, biting ants of the genus Azteca, who inhabit the hollow internodes of stems and branches (1). At Amazonat one can recognize several species of Cecropia. Water collected in the petioles of fallen leaves is used in local medicine (2). In a recent study, leaf extracts of Cecropia peltata were found to have wound-healing potential in rats (3). Similar extracts of Cecropia pachystachya showed cardiotonic and sedative effects in animals (4). A compound in the leaves of Cecropia pachystachya was furthermore found to have hypoglycemic properties (5).

(1) Steyermark, JA, Berry, PE and Holst, BK (gen eds) (1998) Flora of the Venezuelan Guyana.  Missouri Botanical Garden Press 4: 799 p.

(2) Local guides at Amazonat, personal communication

(3) Nayak BS (2006) Cecropia peltata L (Cecropiaceae) has wound-healing potential: a preclinical study in a Sprague Dawley rat model. Int J Low Extrem Wounds 5(1): 20-6

(4) Consolini AE, Ragone MI, Migliori GN, Conforti P, Volonte MG (2006) Cardiotonic and sedative effects of Cecropia pachystachya Mart. (ambay) on isolated rat hearts and conscious mice. J Ethnopharmacol 106(1): 90-6

(5) Nicasio P, Aguilar-Santamaria L, Aranda E, Ortiz S, Gonzalez M (2005) Hypoglycemic effect and chlorogenic acid content in two Cecropia species. Phytother Res 19(8): 661-4



Pourouma spp. • Imbaúba
Pourouma species are successional trees closely related to Cecropia. The ones growing at Amazonat are characterised by a transparent liquid (resin) exuding from wounds that is highly fragrant. The smell resembles menthol and tiger balm (1). The leaves of Pourouma guianensis were shown to contain compounds with anti-parasitical activity (2).

(1) Local guides at Amazonat, personal communication

(2) Torres-Santos EC, Lopes D, Oliveira RR, Carauta JP, Falcao CA, Kaplan MA, Rossi-Bergmann B (2004) Antileishmanial activity of isolated triterpenoids from Pourouma guianensis. Phytomedicine. 11(2-3): 114-20