BetulaceaeBirch family

  - Leaves simple, alternate, serrate, with stipules.
  - Many straight, parallel lateral veins, each with two teeth.
  - Flowers unisexual, male flowers in catkins.
  - Fruit a cone-like cluster of tight bracts.

Diagnosis: Trees with free stipules, leaves simple, alternate, distichous, serrate with teeth of two sizes, many almost straight, parallel secondary veins and perpendicular tertiary veins, disturbed sites on the Atlantic slope.

Local distribution: Atlantic slope.

Similar families
Clethraceae: stipules lacking, sympodial growth pattern, some stellate hairs.
Ticodendraceae: one tooth per lateral vein, fruit is a drupe.

Diversity: Total: 1genus, 1species. Trees: 1 genus, 1 species.

Comments: We have seen this species only on the Atlantic slope, usually growing in the flood plains of rivers or the disturbed soil of landslides. In contrast, this tree (supposedly the same species) is common above 2000 m in the Talamanca Mountains of southern Costa Rica where it is cultivated for wood. This suggests that a careful comparison of the two populations could prove interesting.

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