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Siparuna Family

Siparuna thecaphora (Poepp. & Endl.) A. DC., an understory treelet in the Siparunaceae. Note the subopposite leaves (i.e., leaves borne at a single node may appear to be either opposite or alternate, often varying within one branch) and tiny, cup-shaped flowers. Un árbolito del subdosel. Note las hojas subopuestas (hojas que aparecen opuestas en un nudo y alternas en otro), y pequeñas flores cónicas.

Description: A family of understory trees with simple, opposite to subopposite leaves, often with toothed margins and often conspicuously hairy. The hairs are usually stellate. The stems are thick and somewhat succulent, lacking stipules. Siparunaceae are cauliflorous (with flowers and fruit borne directly from the trunk). The most distinctive aspect of the Siparunaceae is their odor, a truly foul and unmistakable citrusy blast.

Siparunaceae consists of the single genus Siparuna. It is often included in Monimiaceae (e.g., Gomez et al. 2004), but most treatments (Stevens 2005) segregate it at the family level due to various characters that the rest of the Monimiaceae lack (e.g., strong odor, stellate trichomes, and a number of floral characters).

Economic uses: In Central America, some Siparuna species are used medicinally. Among the Achuar people of Ecuador, a yellow-fruited Siparuna species is called shiramkat. The same word means “fat monkey,” since the fruit is a favorite of the animals. Monkeys killed during the fruiting season of shiramkat are supposed to be particularly good eating (Yawá, pers. comm.).

Descripción: Una familia de arbustos y árboles pequeños con hojas simples, opuestas a subopuestas, usualmente con los márgenes dentados y a veces con mucho pelo. Los pelos usualmente son estrellados. Los tallos son gruesos y suculentos, sin estípulas. Las Siparunaceas son caulífloras (con flores y frutos que vienen directamente del tronco). La característica más llamativa de las Siparunaceas es su olor, un fétido e inconfundible olor a limón podrido.

Usos económicos: En Centroamérica, se usan algunas especies de Siparuna con fines medicinales. En la tierra de los Achuar, en el sureste del Ecuador, crece una especie de Siparuna con frutos amarillos que se llama shiramkat. La misma palabra significa “mono gordo” en la lengua Achuar, porque a los monos les gusta comer este fruto. Los monos que se cazan durante la estación de los frutos del shiramkat tienen una carne apetitosa (Yawá, comm. pers.).

Genera/species at La Selva: 1/4 (all understory shrubs or small trees/ todos arbustos o árboles pequeños): Siparuna.

Siparuna pauciflora grows as a small tree with opposite slightly toothed leaves. Crushing the leaves releases a strong citrus-like odor.
Siparuna cuspidata with opposite leaves. Photo by O. Vargas courtesy of La Flora Digital de la Selva.
Siparuna thecaphora with fruits borne on the stem. Photo by O. Vargas courtesy of La Flora Digital de la Selva.
Siparuna grows as a small tree, has opposite leaves, square stems, and an odor that has to be experienced!
Siparouna grandiflora with simple opposite leaves and cauliflorous fruits.
Cauliflorous (borne on the stem) fruits of Siparouna grandiflora

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