BombacaceaeKapok-tree family

  - Medium to large trees (some with spines).
  - Leaves alternate, palmately compound (rarely alternate, simple).
  - Strong, stringy bark with slippery mucilage.
  - Flowers large and brush-like with a staminal tube.
  - Fruit a dehiscent pod with cotton-covered seeds or a drupe (Quararibea).

Diagnosis: Mostly trees and one hemi-epiphyte, with stipules, trunk and branches often spiny, leaves alternate. 1. Leaves alternate, palmately compound. 2. Leaves distichous, simple, alternate, entire, weakly 3-veined with petiole apically swollen or simple alternate spiraled with subpalmate venation and lobed base.

Local distribution: Widespread, but more diverse on the drier Pacific slope and in the Guanacaste lowlands.

Similar families
Araliaceae(Oreopanax): intrapetiolar stipules, without mucilage or strong bark.
Rutaceae(Casimiroa): translucent yellow dots, citrus odor, lacking stipules.

Diversity: Total: 6 genera, 9 species. Trees: 6 genera, 9 species.

Comments: Quararibea, with simple leaves, is found in the cloud forest and moist ravines on the Pacific slope.

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