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Clusia grandiflora (Clusia grandiflora)


Clusia grandiflora is an evergreen climbing plant that can grow high into the forest canopy or remain a small tree up to 10 metres tall with stilt roots. Similar to many species of figs (Ficus), this plant often begins life as an epiphyte, with the seed germinating in the fork of a tree. Eventually, the plant sends down several aerial roots which, once they reach the soil root into the ground and supply the plant with nutrients. This allows it to grow faster than the host tree, whilst the aerial roots thicken and start to constrict the host tree. Eventually smaller hosts will die and this species remains. The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. A handsome plant with large, white rose-tinted flowers, each from 17 - 20cm in diameter and leathery leaves up to 45cm long and 17cm wide. It is rare in cultivation. Clusia is the type genus of the flowering plant family Clusiaceae. Comprising 300-400 species, it is native to tropical America. The genus is named by Carl Linnaeus in honor of the botanist Charles de l’Écluse. The closest relatives of Clusia are the neotropical genera Chrysochlamys, Tovomita, Dystovomita and Tovomitopsis. Together with Clusia, these genera form the tribe Clusieae, where the fruit is a fleshy capsule with arillate seeds. The distribution ranges from the Florida Keys and southern Mexico to southernmost Brazil, and from near sea level to at least 3500 m altitude in the northern Andes. Species of Clusia are a characteristic component of a number of Neotropical vegetation types, and may even be dominant, as is often seen in montane forests of the Greater Antilles. Most species are found in lowland or montane rainforests, but some occur in drier habitats such as the restingas of Brazil, caribbean coastal scrub and dry interandean valleys. A number of species are confined to rocky habitats, such as tepuis or granitic inselbergs. A few grow as scattered shrubs in paramo. The apomictic Clusia rosea is naturalized in e.g. Hawaii.

Taxonomic tree

  • Domain: Eukarya

    • Kingdom: Plantae

      • Phylum:

        • Class: Magnoliopsida

          • Order: Malpighiales

            • Family: Clusiaceae

              • Genus: Clusia