AnacardiaceaeSumac family

  - Leaves alternate, either simple or odd-pinnate.
  - Rachis and petioles often reddish.
  - Without stipules.
  - Watery white latex that dries black.
  - Mango odor.
  - Small white flowers in branched inflorescences.
  - Fruit a one-seeded drupe or berry.

Diagnosis: 1. Trees, without stipules, leaves simple, alternate, entire or weakly crenate, usually obovate with short petioles, aromatic mango odor, resinous or watery white latex slow to appear, dries black. 2. Trees, without stipules, leaves alternate, odd-pinnate, rarely serrate, often with reddish rachis, secondary and tertiary veins usually strongly defined and yellow against the light, mango odor, resinous white latex slow to appear, dries black. 3. Trees, leaves alternate, odd-pinnate, lacking latex and odor, but secondary and tertiary veins strongly defined and yellow against the light (Tapirira).

Local distribution: Widespread.

Similar families
Burseraceae: turpentine odor, latex clear or milky and drying white, petiolules swollen apically and terminal leaflet tipped up (Protium), pealing orange and green bark (Bursera).
Meliaceae: sweet odor in bark, no latex, leaflets entire.

Diversity: Total: 5 genera, 6 species. Trees: 5 genera, 6 species.

Comments: Mauria and Tapirira are the only two genera found in the area around the Monteverde village and cloud forest reserves; the others are more lowland. Sap of some species (especially Mauria) can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people. Anacardium occidentale, the cultivated commercial cashew) is toxic.

Credits: Images and text copyright 2000-2007, William A. Haber,