Vochysia guatemalensis

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Local names:
Creole (yemeni,emeri), English (white yemeri,white mahogany), Spanish (san Juan peludo,san Juan,palo de agua,mayo blanco,chancho), Trade name (white mahogany)

Vochysia guatemalensis is a medium to large tree, 30-55 m tall with diameter of 0.5-1.5 m. The bole is cylindrical and sometimes bifurcate, with smooth and pale bark. The crown is rounded or depressed, the branchlets glabrous; stipules sublate, 3 mm long.

Leaves simple, 3-4 verticilate or the uppermost opposite, on petioles 2-3 cm long, oblong - lanceolate 9-15 cm long, 2.5-5.5 cm wide, dark and bright green, rather abruptly acuminate or long acuminate, acuminate at the base, coriaceous, glabrous.

Flowers terminal clusters, in erect inflorescences, bright yellow and fragrant, the thyrses terminal and auxilary, forming large leafy penioles 10-18 cm long.

Fruit a thick, dehiscent capsule, narrowly oblong deeply 3 three locules each containing one seed; sulcate, somewhat verucose, acutely angulate, about 4.5 cm long and 1.5 cm wide, yellowish-brown.

Seed laterally compressed, brown, winged and wind-dispersed. The size varies but is typically about 4.5 cm long, wing included. The embryo is large (1.8-2.4 cm long) and there is no endosperm.

Ecology

It inhabits the humid tropical forest and the very humid forest of the coastal plains, where it often grows in monospecific stands or in patches with other Vochysia spp. It is also associated with Calophyllum brasiliense, Simphonia globulifera, Terminalia amazonia, Ferrule koschnyi, Dialium guianensis, Guarea grandifolia, among others.

Native range
Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama

Tree management

Planting should not be delayed as the roots grow fast. If the bag is not deep enough, the roots are damaged, affecting seedling growth.

For monospecific plantations a planting distance of 4 x 4 m is recommended. The distance should not be less than this as the tree tops close very quickly. The species has a type of autopruning but it is convenient to prune the saplings 9-12 months after planting to eliminate ramifications.

Seed collection normally begins two months after flowering and before the fruits begin to open. The fruits are collected from the trees when they change from light to dark green and lines of division between locules become marked. Seeds should never be collected from the ground as they are quickly infected by fungi.

On average, a mature tree can be expected to produce one kg of seed. The seeds do not mature at the same time and it may be necessary to collect several times from a seed source during the season. After collection the seeds are transported in jute sacks to the processing site, where they are dried in the shade for 2-3 days or until the capsules open. Fresh seeds have a moisture content of 45-55%. Sun drying of either fruits or seeds should be avoided as it may affect viability.

The seeds storage behavior is orthodox. There are 3500-4800 fresh seeds and 7000-8000 dry seeds/kg.

It inhabits the humid tropical forest and the very humid forest of the coastal plains, where it often grows in monospecific stands or in patches with other Vochysia spp. It is also associated with Calophyllum brasiliense, Simphonia globulifera, Terminalia amazonia, Ferrule koschnyi, Dialium guianensis, Guarea grandifolia, among others.

The seeds are sown in boxes with fine sand. Unlike most other seeds, the radicle does not emerge through the micropyle but laterally through the seed coat. The best result is obtained when the seeds are placed horizontally in the soil allowing correct root anchoring and faster growth (see illustration below). Alternatively the seeds can be sown vertically with the wing buried in the soil. Germination starts 10-12 days after sowing and is complete within one month. Fresh seeds normally exhibit a nearly 100% germination rate.

The seedlings must be transferred to bags some 10 days after germination and before the first pair of leaves appears. After transplanting the seedlings must be protected from direct sunlight for the first couple of weeks. Tranplanting is done after 4-6 months, when the plants are about 30 cm tall.

Timber: The wood is light but strong, with a density of 0.35-0.45 g/cubic cm. It is suitable for carpentry, posts, building poles, interior construction, boxes, tool handles, toys, furniture, canoes and veneer. The fibre quality is similar to that of Gmelina arborea and has potential use in production of paper pulp.

Lipids: The embryo has high concentrations of lipids (28.6%) and proteins (34%) but is low in carbohydrates (4.2%).