Cecropia peltata

Primary tabs

Cecropia peltata


Tree up to 15 m tall. Branchlets 1.5-3.5(-6) cm thick, hispidulous to puberulous, partly with uncinate hairs; prostomata present. Stipules 5-10(-15) cm long, caducous, hirtellous to hirsute outside; petiole up to 50(-80) cm long, sometimes with dense, arachnoid hairs, trichilia present, these without long, white hairs; blade subcoriaceous, ca. 15-60 x 15-60 cm, incisions (7-)8-10, down to 1/2-3/4 the distance between outline and petiole, upper surface scabrous, lower surface on the veins hirtellous to puberulous, partly with uncinate hairs or pilose, and with arachnoid hairs in the areoles and on the smaller veins, or sometimes also on the main veins; secondary veins of the free part of the midsegment 9-15 pairs, mostly branched, submarginally loop-connected. Staminate inflorescences: peduncle patent to pendulous, 2-10(-15) cm long; spathe 3-8 cm long, usually with (rather) dense, arachnoid hairs; spikes (4-)12-25(-30), stipitate, 1.5-8 x 0.2-0.3 cm; perianth glabrous at the apex, glabrous or with sparse, minute hairs below the apex; anthers after abscission attached to the perianth by the appendages of the thecaePistillate inflorescences: peduncle patent, 2-14 cm long; spathe 3-8 cm long, usually with (rather) dense, arachnoid hairs; spikes (3-)4-6, usually (sub)sessile, 2.5-7 x 0.4-0.5 cm, in fruit up to 12.5 x 1.5 cm; perianth with arachnoid hairs to near the aperture of the perianth; stigma (sub)peltate. Fruit 1.5-2 mm long, tuberculate.


Jamaica present, Southern America: Brazil North (ParĂ¡ present); Venezuela (Venezuela present), Surinam present, Trinidad present, northern Colombia present, northern Roraima present
Jamaica, Central America through northern Colombia to Venezuela, Trinidad, Surinam, and northern Roraima and Para (Brazil).


The species is very variable. The collections Stoffers et al. 457 and 516, collected in Guyana, near Aishalton, in swampy places in savanna region, have very dense white arachnoid hairs and rather long, pale yellow, straight to curved hairs on the stipules, petiole and main veins of the blade beneath. They largely match the material described as C. peltata var. candida from Venezuela. This white form appears to be ecologically distinct by usually occurring in swampy places. These differences suggest that the white form is a distinct taxon. Ecological differences similar to those in C. peltata are found in C. concolor Willd., closely related to C. peltata. Field studies are necessary before deciding about the status of the white form of C. peltata.