- Art Gallery -


Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Laurales
Familia: Lauraceae
Genus: Ocotea
Species: O. acutifolia - O. bullata - O. cernua - O. cymbarum - O. foetens - O. glaziovii - O. leucoxylon - O. odorifera - O. porosa - O. regeliana


Ocotea Aubl.

Ocotea is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Lauraceae. The genus includes over 200 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, distributed mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America, the West Indies, also with a few species in Africa and Madagascar, and one, O. foetens (Til or Tilo), native to the islands of Macaronesia.

There is no standard common name for the genus as a whole; some more or less ambiguous terms are used instead which all refer to Ocotea wood's aromatic, sometimes even nauseatingly pungent smell. Sweetwood is perhaps the best term, as it is hardly ever used for other plants[1]. "Camphorwood" is usually Cinnamomum camphora (a close relative of Ocotea), whereas "rosewoods" are normally Dalbergia or related Fabaceae (which are not closely related to Ocotea). "Stinkwood" can refer to any number of quite unrelated trees with bad-smelling wood. Common names of some species refer to their similarity to other Lauraceae such as laurel or sassafras.

Ecology and uses

Ocotea species are characteristic plants of many montane habitats in the Tropics. Climatically they are generally subtropic rather than fully tropic, occurring in the warmest parts of the Earth preferentially at higher altitudes. They are characteristic members of ecological communities like many Afromontane biomes, Araucaria moist forests, Knysna-Amatole montane forests, Laurisilva and Talamancan montane forests, but also Madagascar lowland forests.

Caterpillars of the enigmatic hawkmoth Adhemarius dariensis are suspected to feed on O. atirrensis, O. dendrodaphne and O. veraguensis. The chalcid wasp Aprostocetus bahiensis is found on and about O. opoifera; it may be that its larvae feed on the tree, but it is more likely that they are parasitoids of some undetermined pest of the tree.

Use by humans

Plants of the genus produce essential oils, and Peruvian Rosewood (O. cernua), Brazilian Sassafras (O. odorifera) and East African Camphorwood (O. usambarensis) are traded internationally. Dried fruit cupules of Ishpingo (O. quixos) are used in Ecuador to flavor beverages, such as Colada Morada.

These oils are rich in camphor and safrole; a common trade name for South American produce is "Ocotea cymbarum oil", which has led to confusion whether that name is a junior synonym of Brazilian Sassafras or a distinct species with different properties. This oil is used as a source of safrole in the production of the party drug Methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("Ecstasy").

A few species are harvested for commercial timber, including O. puberula of Central and South America and Black Stinkwood or True Stinkwood (O. bullata) of South Africa.

Sweetwoods make useful honey plants. Most frequently Brazilian Sassafras and O. kuhlmanni are employed for this purpose.

Selected species[2]
Delimitation to Nectandra and other close relatives is problematic. Povedadaphne may belong into the present genus.

* Ocotea aciphylla
* Ocotea acutifolia (Nees) Mez
* Ocotea albida
* Ocotea albopunctulata
* Ocotea amazonica
* Ocotea arechavaletae
* Ocotea argylei
* Ocotea arnottiana
* Ocotea atirrensis
* Ocotea bangii
* Ocotea basicordatifolia
* Ocotea benthamiana
* Ocotea bofo
* Ocotea bullata – Black Stinkwood, True Stinkwood
* Ocotea calophylla
* Ocotea camphoromoea
* Ocotea catharinensis
* Ocotea cernua – Peruvian Rosewood
* Ocotea clarkei
* Ocotea corymbosa Mez
* Ocotea cuneifolia
* Ocotea cuprea
* Ocotea cymbarum (often included in O. odorifera)
* Ocotea dendrodaphne
* Ocotea diospyrifolia (Meisn.) Mez
* Ocotea dispersa (Nees) Mez
* Ocotea divaricata (Nees) Mez
* Ocotea domatiata Mez
* Ocotea floribunda – Laurel Espada
* Ocotea foeniculacea – Black Sweetwood
* Ocotea foetens – "Til", "Tilo"
* Ocotea gabonensis
* Ocotea glaucosericea
* Ocotea glaziovii Mez
* Ocotea gracilis
* Ocotea guianensis
* Ocotea harrisii
* Ocotea heterochroma
* Ocotea indecora (Schott) Mez
* Ocotea insularis
* Ocotea illustris
* Ocotea infrafoveolata
* Ocotea javitensis
* Ocotea jelskii
* Ocotea jorge-escobarii
* Ocotea kenyensis
* Ocotea kuhlmanni Vattimo
* Ocotea lancifolia
* Ocotea lancilimba
* Ocotea langsdorffii
* Ocotea laxiflora
* Ocotea leucoxylon – Loblolly Sweetwood
* Ocotea longifolia
* Ocotea mandonii
* Ocotea marmellensis
* Ocotea matogrossensis
* Ocotea megaphylla
* Ocotea minarum Mart. ex Nees
* Ocotea monzonensis
* Ocotea moschata – Nemoca
* Ocotea nemodaphne – Laurel Sassafras
* Ocotea notata (Nees) Mez
* Ocotea oblonga
* Ocotea obtusata
* Ocotea odorifera – Brazilian Sassafras
* Ocotea oocarpa
* Ocotea opoifera
* Ocotea otuzcensis
* Ocotea pachypoda
* Ocotea pauciflora
* Ocotea porosa – Embuya (sometimes placed in Phoebe)
* Ocotea porphyria
* Ocotea portoricensis – Laurel de Paloma
* Ocotea prunifolia
* Ocotea puberula
* Ocotea pulchella Mart.
* Ocotea pulchra Vattimo-Gil
* Ocotea quixos – Ishpingo
* Ocotea raimondii
* Ocotea regeliana
* Ocotea rivularis
* Ocotea robertsoniae
* Ocotea rotundata
* Ocotea rubrinervis
* Ocotea rugosa
* Ocotea rusbyana
* Ocotea sericea
* Ocotea silvestris Vattimo-Gil
* Ocotea smithiana
* Ocotea spathulata – Nemoca Cimarrona
* Ocotea spectabilis
* Ocotea spixiana (Nees) Mez
* Ocotea staminoides
* Ocotea tabacifolia Meisn.) Rohwer
* Ocotea teleiandra (Meisn.) Mez
* Ocotea urbaniana Mez
* Ocotea usambarensis – East African Camphorwood
* Ocotea uxpanapana
* Ocotea vaccinioides Meisn.
* Ocotea variabilis Meisn.
* Ocotea velloziana
* Ocotea velutina Mart.
* Ocotea veraguensis
* Ocotea viridiflora
* Ocotea wrightii – Wright's Laurel Canelon

Formerly placed here

* Chlorocardium rodiei (Bibiru, "greenheart"), as Ocotea rodiei
* Nectandra coriacea, as O. catesbyana, O. coriacea


1. ^ USDA (2008b)
2. ^ USDA (2008a)


* United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2008a): Germplasm Resources Information Network - Ocotea. Retrieved 2008-APR-01.
* United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2008b): USDA Plants Profile: Ocotea. Retrieved 2008-APR-01.

Plants Images

Biology Encyclopedia

Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License