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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Moreae
Genus: Bagassa
Species: B. guianensis
Binomial name
Bagassa guianensis

Piper tiliifolium Desv.
Laurea tiliifolia Gaud.
Bagassa tiliifolia (Desv.) Benoist
Bagassa sagotiana Bureau ex Benth. & Hook.f.

Bagassa guianensis is a tree in the plant family Moraceae which is native to the Guianas and Brazil. It is valued as a timber tree and as a food tree for wildlife. The juvenile leaves are distinctly different in appearance from the mature leaves, and were once thought to belong to different species.


Bagassa guianensis is a large, latex-producing, dioecious, deciduous tree which reaches heights of up 45 metres (148 ft)[1] and a diameter at breast height of 190 centimetres (75 in).[2] Leaves are deeply three-lobed in juveniles, but become entire as the tree matures. They are usually 6–22 centimetres (2.4–8.7 in) long, sometimes up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long, and 4–17 centimetres (1.6–6.7 in) wide (sometimes up to 23 centimetres (9.1 in) wide).[1]

Male and female flowers are borne on separate inflorescences. Male inflorescences are arranged in a spike, which is 4–12 centimetres (1.6–4.7 in) long. Female inflorescences are arranged into a compact head which is 1 to 1.5 centimetres (0.39 to 0.59 in) in diameter. The edible infructescences are 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.38 in) in diameter.[1]


Bagassa is a monotypic genus—in includes only one species, B. guianensis. The genus was established in 1775 by French botanist Jean Baptiste Christophore Fusée Aublet in his description of the species. Aublet's description was based on juvenile leaves together with infructescences. Based on mature leaves and male inflorescences French botanist Nicaise Auguste Desvaux described Piper tiliifolium in 1825 and Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupré described Laurea tiliifolia in 1844. Raymond Benoist transferred these to Bagassa as B. tiliifolia in 1933. In 1880 Louis Édouard Bureau described B. sagotiana based on mature leaves and female inflorescences. Plants with juvenile and adult foliage were thought to belong to different species until at least 1975; in his 1975 treatment of the Moraceae for the Flora of Suriname, Dutch systematist Cornelis Berg maintained B. guianensis and B. tiliifolia as separate species—the former with lobed juvenile foliage, the latter with the entire leaves of mature trees (although he maintained this distinction with reservations). This confusion would later be clarified through observations of live trees in the field.[1]

Common names[edit]

The species is known locally as "cow wood", katowar, tuwue or yawahedan in Guyana. In Suriname is it known as gele bagasse, jawahedan, kauhoedoe or kaw-oedoe. In French Guiana it is called bacasse, bagasse, odon or odoun.[3] In Maranhão state in Brazil it is called tatajuba or tareka'y;[4] in Pará it is known as amaparana, taraiko'i[5] or tatajuba; in Roraima it is called tatajuba.[1]


Bagassa guianensis is found in Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and the northern Amazon basin (in the states of Amapá, Pará, Maranhão and Roraima) with an apparently disjunct population in the southwestern states of Mato Grosso and Rondônia.[1]


Bagassa guianensis is a "long-lived pioneer"[6] that frequently established in second growth forests and tree-fall gaps.[1]

Although the structure of B. guianensis flowers suggests bat-pollination,[6] Berg suggested that they might be wind-pollinated since the trees were "tall and deciduous".[1] Direct observation suggests that pollination is primarily by thrips, although the thrips themselves may be dispersed by wind.[2] One study in Pará, Brazil, suggests that on average, seeds were produced by pollen that had travelled between 308 and 961 metres (1,010 and 3,153 ft) from the male flowers that produced the pollen to the female flowers that were pollinated.[2]

The seeds of B. guianensis are dispersed by a variety of animals including monkeys, birds, deer, rodents and tortoises.[1]


Bagassa guianensis is a valuable timber species and is intensively exploited.[2] It is used for construction, furniture,and boat-building.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Berg, Cornelis C. (2001). "Moreae, Artocarpeae, and Dorstenia (Moraceae), with Introductions to the Family and Ficus and with Additions and Corrections to Flora Neotropica Monograph 7". Flora Neotropica. 83: 1–346. 
  2. ^ a b c d Silva, Marivana Borges; Milton Kanashiro; Ana Yamaguishi Ciampi; Ian Thompson; Alexandre Magno Sebbenn (2008). "Genetic effects of selective logging and pollen gene flow in a low-density population of the dioecious tropical tree Bagassa guianensis in the Brazilian Amazon". Forest Ecology and Management. 225 (5–6): 1548–58. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2007.11.012. 
  3. ^ Odon and odoun are Paramak names.
  4. ^ Tareka'y is a Ka'apor name.
  5. ^ Taraiko'i is a Tupi name.
  6. ^ a b Sebbenn, Alexandre M.; Bernd Degen; Vânia C. R. Azevedo; Marivana B. Silva; André E.B. de Lacerda; Ana Y. Ciampi; Milton Kanashiro; Francimary da S. Carneiro; Ian Thompson; Marilyn D. Loveless (2008). "Modelling the long-term impacts of selective logging on genetic diversity and demographic structure of four tropical tree species in the Amazon forest". Forest Ecology and Management. 254 (2): 335–49. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2007.08.009. 
  7. ^ Bagassa guianensis. Technology Transfer fact sheet. Center for Wood Anatomy Research. USDA Forest Service