Brosimum alicastrum

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Related Links
Mature trees: Small back-yard (home-garden) stand near Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico. Trees of Brosimum, known locally as 'Ramon', are protected and cultivated throughout the Yucutan Peninsula for its edible fruit and livestock fodder.
© Colin Hughes
Mature trees: Small back-yard (home-garden) stand near Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico. The trees pictures are pollarded for fodder production.
© Colin Hughes
Fruit and foliage
© Trade winds fruit

Local names:
English (ramon tree,bread nut), Italian (capomo), Spanish (ramon,masico,capomo)

Brosimum alicastrum trees grow to heights of 20-40 m; trunk may attain a diameter of 1-1.5 m; bark is thin and contains a white, sticky latex.

Leaves are simple, alternate, with pointed stipules, 4-15 cm long and 2-8 cm wide, ovate-lanceolate to ovate-elliptic, with a pointed apex, lustrous green above and glaucous beneath; petioles 2-10 mm long.

Flowers in heads with many male flowers; male flowers have a rudimentary perianth and 1 stamen; female flowers surrounded by male flowers.

Fruit a berry, 2-2.5 cm in diameter, with a thick, greenish-orange pericarp and an agreeable sweet flavour; seeds 1.5-2 cm in diameter, surrounded by a shiny seed coat.


Found in tropical rainforest, deciduous tropical forest, thorn scrub and hillside forests. Although indigenous to moist forest, it is extremely tolerant of drought.

Native range
Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico

Tree management

When the tree is grown for forage, the strata of branches should be formed when the saplings reach 3 m in height. Pruning is important to obtain forage, because large numbers of branchlets sprout and increase the quantity of fresh forage. If the tree is grown for wood there is little need for pruning to shape the stem, as it grows straight.

Seed storage behaviour is recalcitrant. The seeds can be stored in open air for 3 months. Seed weight is 300-350 seeds/kg.

Found in tropical rainforest, deciduous tropical forest, thorn scrub and hillside forests. Although indigenous to moist forest, it is extremely tolerant of drought.

B. alicastrum can be grown from seed, cuttings or air-layers. A germination rate of 68% is expected after 28-30 days.

  Humans eat the fruit’s sweet pericarp and its chestnutlike seeds. The seeds taste somewhat like potato and are eaten raw, boiled or roasted. They are also reduced to a meal that is mixed with maize meal to make tortillas, or are baked with green plantain. The seeds are gathered by the Mayans of Central America for making bread when stocks of maize run low. The trees can be tapped and the free-flowing, milky latex mixed with chicle or drunk like cow’s milk.

B. alicastrum provides tender, agreeable forage for cattle; they consume it readily, appearing to enjoy the leaves and branch tips. It is eaten especially when grass is scarce during the dry season. Groves of large B. alicastrum trees are considered a source of livestock feed equal to that of the best pastures. The abundant fruit serves as pig feed.

Timber:  B. alicastrum wood is white, dense, hard and fine grained. It is used in general construction, for staves, parquet flooring, crafts, tool handles and railway sleepers.

Shade or shelter:  B. alicastrum provides good shade and reduces the impact of strong winds.