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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Laurales
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Misanteca
Schltdl. & Cham.

See text.

Misanteca [1] is an American flowering plant genus in the family Lauraceae. Mostly deciduous or evergreen tall trees. These trees have a resilient wood, useful as timber, for construction and as firewood.


They are trees or rarely bushes; deciduous or evergreen. Misanteca trees grow as woody landscape plants endemic of Central America and South America. It is a Neotropical genus with 40 species. All parts of the plants are very fragrant. They are plants hermaphrodites. The leaves are alternate, rarely opposite, entire, subcoriaceous, glabrous on the upper, glabrous or pubescent on the underside, pinnatinervium. The inflorescences are axillary, paniculata so capitated, the tepals generally the same, with three stamens, the anthers exserted or included at anthesis, filaments free or fused. The flowers are small. The fruit is a bay cherry-shaped, plum-shaped, with an underlying dome double border, dispersed by birds.


The patterns of speciation in the Lauraceae family, where Misanteca genus belong, indicate that since the onset of aridification on the continents 15 million years ago, rainforest diversified in species numbers with the majority of species the product of vicariance. One of the products of aridification is the current island like archipelagos of rainforests along the planet. The fragmentation of once more continuous rainforest facilitated isolation of populations and this likely caused the increase in the rate of speciation as found in the Lauraceae.

Many botanical species are having similar foliage to the Lauraceae due to convergent evolution. Those plants are adapted to high rainfall and humidity. But Misanteca genus and one or two other genera in lauraceae are having deciduous species. It is a phenomenon of divergent evolution from the large evergreen trees, for occupy another ecological niche.

The deciduous Misanteca species lose all of their leaves for part of the year depending on variations in rainfall. In deciduous tropical lauraceae, leaf loss coincides with the dry season in tropical, subtropical and arid regions. In temperate or polar climates the dry season is due to the inability of the plant to absorb water available by to be in the form of ice.

In convergent evolution ecological or physical coincidences, drive toward a similar solution, including analogous structures.

The dispersal of seeds is due to birds that swallow them, so the berries shape attract to birds. The fruits are an important food source for birds.


Species include: