Mora (plant)

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Scientific classification


See text.

Mora is a genus of large trees in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae of the legume family Fabaceae, (or in some classifications the family Caesalpinaceae of the order Fabales). There are seven to ten species, all native to lowland rainforests in northern South America, southern Central America and the southern Caribbean islands. These are large, heavily buttressed rainforest trees up to 130 feet (40 meters) in height (to 190 feet (58 meters) in the case of M. excelsa ).[2] The genus is particularly noteworthy for the exceptional size of its beans, which are commonly acknowledged to be the largest known dicot seeds, in the instance of M megistosperma being up to seven inches (18 cm) in length, six inches (15 cm ) in breadth and three inches (8 cm)in thickness,[3][4] and a weight of up to 2.2 pounds (1000 grams).[5] The beans of Mora spp. are edible if boiled, and are also the source of a red dyestuff.[6] The species M. excelsa is one of the few rainforest trees to grow in pure stands.[7]

Some of the species are important for timber production. Mora excelsa and Mora gonggrijpii are also known as nato, and are commonly used in guitar body and neck construction.


  1. ^ The Legume Phylogeny Working Group (LPWG). (2017). "A new subfamily classification of the Leguminosae based on a taxonomically comprehensive phylogeny". Taxon. 66 (1): 44–77. doi:10.12705/661.3.
  2. ^ Beard, J. S. (July 1946). "The Mora Forests of Trinidad...etc". Journal of Ecology. 33 (2): 173. doi:10.2307/2256464.
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Elbert L. Little and Robert G. Dixon, "Arboles Comunes de la Provincia de Esmerelda" (Rome: UNFAO, 1969)p. 222.
  5. ^ Daniel H. Janzen, "Costa Rican Natural History" (Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press,1983) p. 281
  6. ^ O.N. Allen and Ethel K. Allen, "The Leguminosae" (Madison: Univ. Wisconsin Press) pp. 445-446
  7. ^ Ivan T. Sanderson and David Loth, "Ivan Sanderson's Book of Great Jungles" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965) p. 116.

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