Castilla (plant)

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Castilla elastica - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-174.jpg
Castilla elastica
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Tribe: Castilleae
Genus: Castilla

See text


Castilloa (lapsus)

Castilla (sometimes incorrectly spelled Castilloa) is a genus of 3 species of large trees in the flowering plant family Moraceae. The genus is native to Central and South America.[1]


This genus is named after Juan Diego del Castillo (d. 1793), a Spanish botanist who was a friend of Vicente Cervantes, who chose the name in his friend's honor.[2][3]


Castilla species are monoecious or dioecious trees up to 40 meters tall, with buttressed trunks and abundant white latex of commercial value.[1] The branchlets have scars left by the fallen stipules. The leaves are oblong to elliptic, with entire margins.[1][4] The inflorescences are surrounded by bracts and have small flowers. The male flowers are borne in lengthwise-folded kidney-shaped inflorescences and female flowers in globose inflorescences.[1][4] The infrutescence varies in shape and has orange or red fruits.[1]


The Panama rubber tree Castilla elastica, showing the scar where a branch has dropped. A recently fallen branch is posed at right

Castilla species exhibit a phenomenon known as cladoptosis, the regular shedding of branches. This may be an adaptation to prevent the growth of climbing plants.[5]

Castilla elastica is a weedy tree which has become invasive in areas where it has been introduced, such as in Tanzania and the South Pacific.[4][6]


The main species is Castilla elastica, one of several plants from which rubber has been extracted. The vernacular name is Panama rubber tree or castilloa rubber. The pre-Columbian MesoAmericans used the latex of this plant to make a ball used in a ceremonial game.


Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Castilla elastica 05.JPG Panama rubber tree, Castilloa rubber, palo de hule, olicuáhuitl Castilla elastica Sessé Mexico, Central America, and northern South America
Castilla tunu Hemsl. Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Belize
Caucho rubber, Caucho Negro Castilla ulei Warb. Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Cardona–Peña, Victor; Fuentes, Alfredo; Cayola, Leslie (2005). "Las moráceas de la región de Madidi, Bolivia" (PDF). Ecología en Bolivia (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  2. ^ González, J. "Explicación Etimológica de las Plantas de La Selva" (PDF). Flórula Digital de la Estación Biológica La Selva (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  3. ^ Loadman, John (2005). Tears of the Tree: The Story of Rubber –a Modern Marvel. Oxford University Press. pp. 25. ISBN 9780198568407.
  4. ^ a b c "Castilla elastica (PIER species info)". Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  5. ^ Berg, C.C. (1977). "Castilleae, a tribe of the Moraceae, renamed and redefined due to the exclusion of the type genus Olmedia from the Olmedieae". Acta Botanica Neerlandica: 75. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Castilla elastica (Panama Rubber Tree)". BioNET-EAFRINET Keys and Fact Sheets. BioNET-EAFRINET. Retrieved 23 May 2016.