return to: checklist; keys; family Moraceae
Tree; latex present; leaves alternate, simple, entire, slightly cordate at the base; leaf venation pinnate, the prominent secondary veins alternating with zig-zag (or "stitched") tertiary veins forming so-called intersecondary veins, higher vein orders very regular and orthogonal; staminate inflorescence globose, consisting of many individual stamens embedded in a common receptacle; pistillate flowers borne singly or in pairs, embedded in a common receptacle; fruit with orange flesh surrounding a single seed (drupaceous). (Image at left photographed at plaza Santa Ana, Merida.)
As noted in Standley (1930), this is one of the most useful trees of Yucatan forests. Leaves and young branches are commonly fed to livestock, representing a soucre of nutrition that is especially important during the dry season. Both the fleshy fruit pulp and the seeds are edible. Fresh seeds can be boiled and eaten or dried for storage and then ground into a meal from which a sort of bread can be made. The milky latex when diluted with water can be used as a milk substitute. Latex has also been used as a remedy for stomach problems (Morton 1981).