Copaiba Tree: Taxonomy, Sowing and Description

Copaiba tree taxonomy

I. Copaiba tree taxonomy

Family: Fabaceae.

Scientific Name: Copaifera paupera (Herz.) Dwyer.

Common names: Bonshish matisiati y Namboman tsacati (shipibo-conibo); Bunxix (conibo); Capaúba; Copal; Copa-uva; Cupiúba; Jatobamirim; Marimari; Matisihuati y Oleo-branco.

II. Copaiba botanical description: Tree of at least 66 feet to at most 98 feet tall, straight trunk, with a globular and wide top. It can reach up to 98 feet of height, wrinkled bark, green and gray with little brown spots and glabrous branches. Coriaceous pinnate leaves, alternated and compound that present from 4 to 5 pairs of leaflets, pellucid and pointy, dense and finely reticulated, shiny on both sides, oblong-elliptical in a oblique way, round or sharp in the base, obtusely acuminated from 3 to 5 centimeters long and 1 to 2 cm wide.

Bunchy terminal inflorescence, in strait panicles. White flowers, sessile, strong smell, small, hermaphrodite, glabrous outside and hairy inside. Dehiscent bivalve legume fruit. Seeds of 1, 2 up to 4 covered by a bright orange ring.

III. Environmental information
Climate: It is able to grow in tropical, dry and humid climates, with precipitation of 1700 to 3300 mm and an yearly average temperature of 71.6 ºF to 78.8 ºF

Soil: Generally in sandy-clayey land, with low or scant organic matter.

IV. Biotype of natural populations:
The copaiba tree grows in high and low zones of the jungle. It tolerates shade, under those conditions it shows a slow development reaching full growth with high sunlight intensity. It tends to be found close to bodies of water, enclosed and young secondary forests and pastures. It is moderately resistant to flooding. The tree cohabitates in the same area with the following species: golden berry, caimito, banana, guava, manioc, pijuayo, kudzu, papaya, araza and lime.

Copaiba tree taxonomy.

SowingV. Sowing.

Sowing time: It is preferable to plant by the beginning of high rain precipitation periods. In Loreto, it is recommended to sow in November.

Space between each crop: Separation of 33 by 33 feet, as well in rows of 23 by 23 feet
Sowing task: It is recommended to eliminate invasive species during the two first years of growing.

Sowing association proposal: There can be an evergreen component in soils of firm ground. It is recommended to simultaneously plant it with grain-growing land systems (also of manioc and banana), being part of a middle stratum of the system.

Coffee and cocoa can also be planted, only if the soil is of great quality, or annatto and araza, if the soil has a higher percentage of sand soil.

Propagation: Through sexual seeds, with previous elimination of the arillus. In belt plantations, a survival of an order of 47% was accomplished and in demonstrative plantations a crop of 3.5 years reached a height of 2.28 meters with a survival of 98%.

VI. Harvest and preservation of the product
Parts of the tree that are most utilized: wood, fruit and resin.

Harvest: The resin extraction is done in a rudimentary way, making a hole on the bark, old trees are preferred. If after making a hole the resin does not start dripping by itself, it is recommended to immediately seal the hole with paraffin. The harvest can be attempted again after 14 days by removing the paraffin; generally, after that time has passed the expected dripping occurs. Another technique used to obtain the resin is through V-shaped cuts on the tree bark, preferably in the base of the trunk.

The harvest can be done throughout the year. In three hours, 12 pounds of resin can be obtained under favorable conditions. Trees with better production make 20 to 24 liters of resin. In adult trees the harvest is done 2 or 3 times during the year.

The flowering occurs from December to February and the fruit harvest from July to September in the region of Ucayali.

After harvest task: The resin, after being harvested, must be kept in glass containers previously sanitized with recently boiled water and then tightly closed to avoid contamination.

Harvest and preservation of the productComplementary Information
Chemical components: It has around 24 sesquiterpene and many diterpene hydrocarbons, resin acids, such as the elacid and the copaibic, essential oils, turpentine, copaifera, b-caryophyllene, e-cubeno, u-cubebeno, u-humueno, ehumuleno and d-candieno, resin acid.

Medical use: Wound healing, hypotensive properties, tonsillitis, chronic bronchitis, cancer, cystitis, ear pain, hemorrhoids, herpes, infections, leucorrhea, dermic mycosis, psoriasis, rheumatism, tetanus, cough, ulcers, scabies, venereal disease.

Other uses: Wood can be obtained from this species to make parquet and highly valued in making canoes and other tasks of construction. The wood is valued for its resistance to humidity. The oil-resin is used to make soap, beauty products and also fuel. Its fruit has nutritious value. The resin is used in the painting industry, varnish, plastic, ink, among others.

Geographical distribution: It is found in the Peruvian Amazon in the following areas: Ucayali (Tahuina-Atalaya), Madre de Dios and Loreta (Road Iquitos - Nauta 45th kilometer, and abundantly in the low Huallaga.
Bibliographical References
NEBEL, G.; DRAGSTED, J.; VANCLAY, J. 2000 b. Floral structure and composition of the prone-flood alluvial prairie forest of the Peruvian Amazon: II. The understory of the sandbar. Found in: Amazon Foliar 10: 151-182.
MEJIA, K.; Medicinal plants of popular use in the Peruvian Amazon.
KVIST, L.P.; ANDERSEN, M.; STAGEGAARD, J.; LLAPAPASCA, C. 2001a. Extraction from woody forest plants in flood plain communities in Amazonian Peru: use, choice, evaluation and conservation status of resources. En: Forest Ecology and Management 5465: 1-28.


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