[Nectandra whitei (R. E. Woodson) C. K. Allen, moreOcotea eusericea C.L.Lundell, Ocotea skutchii C.K. Allen]
Description: A tall forest tree with a cylindrical trunk; often the trunk leans slightly. Large trees have fairly large buttresses at the base. Some medium-sized trees have stilt-roots. Often, there are stems sprouting from the base of the trunk. The bark is dark brown. The leaves are simple, alternate, with a long pointed tip, and widely spaced secondary veins. When crushed leaves smell vaguely like avocado. The petiole is slightly swollen, cylindrical.
Reproduction: The flowers are small, white or greenish, produced in clusters along the branches in March and April. Fruits are oblong berries, like small avocados with a very thin pulp and a large seed. The base of the fruit has a dark cup. Fruits mature in May and June, and are an important food for monkeys and large birds (toucans, guans). Seeds germinate immediately upon falling, and large adults trees have carpets of seedlings beneath them that last throughout the year (although slowly dying off).
Distribution: Fairly common in the old forest at Barro Colorado Island, otherwise known from Soberania, Sherman, and Santa Rita, but rare.
Similar Species: This is a difficult species, and the Lauraceae is generally a difficult family. For one, it is the hardest of the major families to recognize, as it lacks clearcut branching or leaf patterns; the leaf odor is a good character, but it's often not pronounced and does not work for some people. Moreover, once recognizing a Lauraceae, it still remains difficult to separate the species of Nectandra and Ocotea. Leaves of O. whitei closely resemble those of LK nectpu Nectandra purpurea, LK2 which has a more curved petiole, LK ocotce O. cernua, LK2 which has wavy leaf margins, and LK ocotpu O. oblonga; LK2 all are fairly common at Barro Colorado, Soberania, and Sherman. At BCI, O. whitei as a large tree, with the large, dark, buttressed trunk often surrounded by a carpet of seedlings.
Dioecious tree, 15-30 m tall; branchlets slender, +/- terete, grayish-sericeous when young, glabrate in age; sap with sweet aroma. Petioles short and obscure or to 1.5 cm long; blades oblong-obovate to oblong-elliptic, moderately acuminate to long-acuminate (the acumen blunt), narrowly acute to attenuate at base, 7-15 cm long, 3-6 cm wide, weakly coriaceous, the upper surface glabrous, the lower surface inconspicuously and +/- densely appressed-pubescent, in age glabrous but with well-developed villous axillary tufts; midrib flat or slightly raised above, the lateral veins mostly in 7-9 pairs, mostly branching from midrib at ca 30° angle, the reticulate venation prominulous below. Panicles upper-axillary or subterminal, 6-15 cm long, branched several times, the branches grayish-puberulent, the trichomes becoming appressed on the upper parts of the branchlets; pedicels and hypanthium lobes gray-sericeous; pedicels ca 2 mm long; flowers unisexual, ca 3 mm long, whitish; perianth 6-lobed nearly to base, deciduous from the hypanthium usually as a unit, the lobes +/- equal, imbricate, ovate-elliptic, moderately thick, narrowly rounded at apex, papillate-puberulent within; outer stamens 6, suborbicular, somewhat flattened, ca 1 mm long, the filaments very short, merging almost imperceptibly with anthers, papillate-puberulent on outside and along medial part of connective on inside, the glands globose, about half as high as stamens, glabrous except near base, the inner stamens 3, to ca 1.5 mm long, the filaments papillate-pubescent, the anthers as long as filaments, narrowly ovoid, papillate-pubescent on outside at base; pistil ca 1.5 mm long; ovary ovoid, glabrous, about twice as long as style; stigma +/- triangular. Fruits +/- ellipsoid to narrowly ovoid, 4-6 cm long, 2-2.5 cm wide, minutely apiculate at apex, at first dark green with minute speckles of lighter green, becoming black at maturity; exocarp thin, black; mesocarp less than 2 mm thick, the 2 large cotyledons red; cupule 1.5-2.5 cm long, the upper part saucer-shaped, 1.1-1.4 cm wide at apex, 2-4 mm deep, green to brown or reddish-brown at maturity of fruit. Croat 8150, 9780,14846. Occasional or rare, in the older forest. Flowers in the late dry season (April). The fruits mature in the early rainy season (late May to July). One collection tentatively determined as this species (Shattuck 535) has juvenile fruits in early December. Allen (1956) reported the species (as O. williamsii P. H. Allen) to flower in May in Costa Rica. As the leaves of this species age, they become increasingly darkened on drying and the appressed pubescence of the lower leaf surface almost disappears. In addition, axillary domatia become better developed on mature leaves. Fruits of the species fall at about the same time as those of Beilschmiedia pendula, which are the same size and shape, but B. pendula differs in having yellowish-green cotyledons rather than the red ones of O. skutchii. Costa Rica and Panama. In Panama, known only from tropical moist forest on BCI.
Descripción: Árbol que alcanza de 10 a 30 m de alto. Tronco recto y cilíndrico, a veces con rebrotes y raíces tablares bien desarrolladas en la base, ocasionalmente con raíces fúlcreas. Corteza exterior de color marrón castaño y lenticelada. Hojas simples y alternas, de 5-15 x 3-5 cm, elípticas, con ápice acuminado y arqueado, bordes enteros y base decurrente. Las hojas son aromáticas al estrujarlas. Pecíolo de 1-1.5 cm de largo. La especie es dioica. Flores aromáticas, blancas o verde amarillentas. Frutos en drupas oblongas o elipsoidales, de 4-6 cm de largo, verdes y con una copa basal de color rojizo, tornándose negros al madurar.
Datos Ecológicos: La especie crece a bajas y medianas elevaciones, en bosques húmedos o muy húmedos. En Panamá se encuentra en las provincias de Chiriquí, Coclé, Colón, Los Santos, Panamá y la comarca de Guna Yala. Crece en pendientes y hondonadas dentro del bosque maduro de la isla de Barro Colorado. Florece y fructifica de marzo a julio. Las flores son visitadas por insectos. Los frutos constituyen parte de la dieta de monos, tucanes y pavas de monte. Las semillas son dispersadas por animales. Muchas plántulas germinan debajo de los árboles progenitores, pero mueren en grandes cantidades debido al ataque de hongos patógenos.
Especies Parecidas: A menudo se confunde con LK nectpu Nectandra purpurea LK2 , pero en N. purpurea las hojas jóvenes son de color morado, lo cual no ocurre en O. whitei.
Usos: La madera es empleada en construcciones pesadas, instalaciones portuarias, obras hidráulicas, durmientes de ferrocarril y entarimados.