Caesalpinia velutina

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.

Species Index    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Multiple Criteria Search

Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links
Tree: Small fenceline tree in full leaf with clusters of unripe pods, to 8 m in height. El Rancho, Motagua Valley, Guatemala.
© Colin Hughes
Tree: Cultivated in living fences, near Zacapa, Motagua Valley, Guatemala.
© Colin Hughes
Flowers: Close-up of the bright yellow flowers arranged in terminal inflorescences. Zacapa, Motagua Valley, Guatemala.
© Colin Hughes
Seed pods: Ripening pods near El Rancho, Motagua Valley, Guatemala.
© Colin Hughes

Local names:
Spanish (totoposte,palo colorada,chaperon blanco,aripin)

Caesalpinia velutina is a small, thornless tree up to 10-12 m high and 30 cm diameter at breast height, with a straight upright form, generally light-branched and single-stemmed.

Leaves large, bipinnate, with 2-4 pairs of pinnae and one terminal pinna; leaflets large, 5-7 pairs, 3-6 cm long, oblong.

Flowers bright yellow arranged on loosely flowered terminal panicles.

Pods oblong, 10-15 cm long, indehiscent, mid brown when ripe and occur in distinctive heavy clusters that persist on the tree for many months.

The generic name is after A. Caesalpini, 1519-1603, Italian physician and botanist.


C. velutina is locally abundant in the dry Motagua Valley of eastern Guatemala although it is generally infrequent in the dry zones of Central America. The tree tolerates up to 8 months dry weather.

Native range
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua

Tree management

C. velutina can be direct-sown with agricultural crops in agroforestry systems to benefit from crop weeding as this is necessary in the early stages. It is usually planted at a spacing of 1.5-2 m x 1.5-2 m in plantations.

There are between 6 000-9 000 seeds/kg. The indehiscent pods need to be manually threshed to extract the seeds. Fresh seed need no pre-sowing treatment, but stored seed should be soaked either in cold water for 24-48 hours or hot water (80 deg C) for 3 minutes. Manual scarification is also effective.

C. velutina is locally abundant in the dry Motagua Valley of eastern Guatemala although it is generally infrequent in the dry zones of Central America. The tree tolerates up to 8 months dry weather.

The tree is propagated by seed. Seed can be sown directly into pots, seedlings reach 40-50 cm within 15 weeks of germination.

Aripin is used for reforestation.

Erosion control:  The tree is planted for the protection of watersheds.

The tree produces high quality firewood and charcoal. It splits easily and burns slowly with little smoke, dries quickly and stores well. It can also be burnt green in mixture with dry wood.

Timber:  C. velutina wood is dense, hard and durable. It is used in house construction, tools, agricultural implements, rough furniture and fence posts.

Shade or shelter:  It is suitable for enrichment planting particularly in matorral forests of Mexico, for silvopastoral purposes.

Ornamental:  C. velutina is planted as an ornamental for its bright yellow flowers.

Soil improver:  The tree provides mulch through its complete leaf loss during the dry season.

Intercropping:  It is often intercropped with agricultural crops where soil protection is desired.