Manilkara bidentata. Family: Sapotaceae. click to print or download the file format. Bulletwood. Balata. Other Common Names: Chicozapote (Mexico). Ausubo. Manilkara bidentata, Mimusops balata. Medium sized, yellow skinned fruit, about two inches across, bearing many similarities to the sapodilla. Ausubo (Manilkara bidentata), also known a balata, is a large evergreen forest tree that was probably the most important timber tree of Puerto Rico. It grows best .

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Ausubo Manilkara bidentataalso known a balata, is a large evergreen forest tree that was probably the most important timber tree of Puerto Rico. It grows best in Puerto Rico on alluvial plain where it may reach the age of years. Ausubo is extremely tolerant of shade.

The strong and attractive wood makes it highly valued commercially an it is widely used in the tropics for many woo products. The manolkara is often tapped for its milky latex the source of balata gum. Although growth is slow, ausubo is planted for shade and timber. Ausubo is native to Puerto Rico, widely distribute throughout the West Indies, and ranges from Mexico through Panama to northern South America, including the Guianas and Venezuela, to Peru, and to northern Brazil 9, In Puerto Rico, ausubo is native to the moist coastal and limestone forests, and to lower mountain forests.

Ausubo ranges from near sea level up to 60 in 2, ft in elevation. The tree is a primary species and is very shade tolerant.

Annual rainfall in these forests varies bbidentata to mm 59 to in. Throughout the West Indies, ausubo grows in areas bidntata the annual rainfall varies from to mm 59 to in table 1. In South America many areas probably receive more than that amount In the Bajo Calima region of Colombia, west of bidentqta city of Cali, annual rainfall in Tropical Rain Forest approaches min in. All sites msnilkara frost free.

Manilkara bidentata Images

In Puerto Rico, ausubo is native to acid, clay soils derived in situ, or deposited by alluvial or colluvia processes. Existing inventories indicate that it grow mainly on soils of the orders Inceptisol and Oxisol Parent rocks include andesites and limestone. In Trinidad, ausubo thrives on a variety of soils ranging from clays bidenrata sands, including rocky soils, and on several different geologic formations Physiographically, it is found on slopes and flats, and in coves.

In Trinidad it is common on hills, and in Puerto Rico, it attains its best development on alluvia plains. In Suriname, it is common along river banks In Puerto Rico, ausubo is associated with tabonuco Dacryodes excelsaguaraguao Guarea guidonia granadillo Buchenavia capitataand motillo Sloanea berteriana in the Subtropical Wet Forest classification according to Holdridge In the Luquillo Mountains of northeastern Puerto Rico, species assemblages produced by the use of statistical clustering techniques revealed that manikkara occurs on upper slopes along with granadillo Elsewhere within manipkara range, ausubo is a constituent of several different forest types table 1attaining its best development in Lowland Rain Forest, or Manilkwra Montane Rain Forest classification according to Beard 1,2,4,5.

Species associated are numerous and vary with locale 4. In Trinidad, for example, ausubo is found in the Dry Evergreen Formation and Littoral Woodland along with royal palm Roystonea oleraceasierra palm Manilkaraa montanaand timite Manicaria saccifera. Finally, it is found scattered in the Lower Montane Rain Bidntata. Mature ausubo is characterized by a dense growth of horizontal branches with layered foliage and dark green elliptic alternate leaves with many faint parallel veins.

A white latex appears in droplets from cut leaves and incisions in the trunk and stems. Large trunks have broad bifentata buttresses spreading at the base. In Puerto Rico, the tree attains a height of 30 m ft and diameter of 1.


On favorable sites elsewhere within its range, the tree will grow 45 m ft in height and nearly cm 79 in in diameter. Flowering and Fruiting- In Puerto Rico, the white perfect flowers are borne annually on a stalk at the beginning of the wet season, mainly manikkara May through late August, with occasional late autumn flowering. Fruits develop through the autumn with the principal fruit drop in winter and early spring In Trinidad, ausubo flowers at the beginning of the dry season, January to February, and the fruit ripens by April and May In both regions, good flowering and fruiting is at intervals of 3 to 4 years.

At randomly placed collection stations comprised of 0. Of the species of trees observed, ausubo ranked 16th in mamilkara of fruits collected Seed Production and Dissemination- Ausubo fruits are globose berries about 2.

Occasionally, two seeds per fruit are found 21, Cutting tests showed that 35 percent of the seeds were hollow. Moisture accounted for about 30 percent of the weight of the seeds. Seed dispersal is limited to the vicinity of the parent tree unless animals consume or manllkara the fruits. Agouti and other animals eat the fruit in Trinidad 27while in Puerto Rico birds have been identified as dispersal agents.

Seedling Development- Germination is epigeous and irregular over a long period, with some bicentata germinating in the second year. Trials in Trinidad yielded only 10 percent germination, and efforts to improve it by soaking in water or slightly cracking the seed were a failure A control bidentatta sown immediately.

Germination for the treated seeds was essentially nil while the control showed 60 percent success. It was concluded that storage by the means tested was unsatisfactory. Seedlings in the wild are capable of growing under heavy shade and in herbaceous cover. Average height at the end of the first year is 12 cm 5 inand after 5 years about 4. Artificial bidebtata is best attained by direct sowing of fruits or transplanting of potted seedlings Ausubo seeds should be sown in moist leaves because they are not capable of emerging from the soil In experimental work at the Institute of Tropical Forestry, seeds were sown in nursery beds in manillara su and under shaded conditions.

After 10 months, those in the sun were twice as tall as the shade specimens. Direct out-planting of potted seedling under heavy shade in the videntata forest on the north coast showed survival rates greater than 9 percent after 10 months.

The seedlings, however were sensitive to drought. Most had wilted and yellowed after a prolonged period without rain. Vegetative Reproduction- Except when quite young, ausubo does not coppice, nor does it produce root suckers Growth and Yield- Growth of ausubo is slow in the sapling stage, and slow to intermediate in the pole stage through maturity.

Height is about 0. Annual diameter increment in an early secondary stand in St. Just table 2where the stems ranged biidentata 4 to 13 cm 1. On an understocked 0. Measurements of annual diameter increments for 17 years in previously thinned Subtropical Wet Forest of the Luquillo Mountains shows an average annual growth of 0.

Rooting Habit- By 2 years of age, the selling has a taproot. When older, it has a strong, moderately deep root system making the species manilkar In the study of a single ausubo tree in the Luquillo Birentata Forest, a root-to-shoot-to-leaf ratio of 24 to 68 to 8 was found.

Fibrous roots constituted 28 percent of the total root biomass Reaction to Competition- Ausubo is classed as very tolerant of manilara throughout most of its life. It regenerates and is capable of growing through sapling, pole, and immature stages in dense shade.


Basal area and diameter growth, bidentta, are more rapid in trees that are exposed to the sun In Trinidad, it was ranked second among the more valuable timber species with regard to shade tolerance Its slow growth in seedling stages bidentatz it to damage by grazing animals and results in low survival rate for the species. In Puerto Rico, ausubo has been transplanted under fairly dense shelterwood 24 with good survival and satisfactory growth. Ausubo was found on each of six permanent plots measured since the mid’s in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico.

On plots that normally contain 40 to 50 species per 0. Recurrent measurement of all trees on these plots revealed a year chronology of stand dynamics after a hurricane. Ausubo, a primary species, increased in dominance over time, doubling its proportion of stand basal area to Large size at maturity, a long life cycle, good root development, and tolerance of shade enable ausubo to persist for to years bixentata emerge as one of the canopy species in the Luquillo Forest.

Damaging Agents- Survival is hampered by the very slow rate of seedling growth, and the fact that during this stage ausubo is succulent and eaten by animals The leaves are frequently darkened by a layer of sooty mold that probably reduces the amount of light received. In a study of microfungal manulkara on ausubo leaves, it was found that a statistically greater number of fungi were present on the leaves at lower levels of the canopy than at mid- and upper-levels Ausubo tolerates exposure well.

Along the north coast of Trinidad, several groups of trees grew in areas exposed to the full force of the northeasterly tradewinds. Marshall 27 observed that even the clearing of a site for the construction of a cabin, leaving numerous large ausubo isolated, apparently had no effect on their survivial. Some infestations have been observed. In Trinidad, large trees with hollow bases were infested with both termites and a fungus, but it was not determined which agent was the primary cause of infection In Puerto Rico, a canker has been observed that results in the dieback of branches, but the causative agent is unknown Perhaps the agent most damaging to ausubo is man.

In the bidentaha of “bleeding” trees to obtain balata gum, trees may be indiscriminately slashed and later die. Sometimes they are felled to obtain the latex. The heartwood is light red when cut and turns to dark reddish brown when msnilkara. The sapwood is whitish to pale brown. The wood is very hard, strong, fine textured, and heavy, with a specific gravity of 0. The wood rates excellent for boring, fair for planing, and poor for turning 21,22, It is difficult to air season and shows severe checking and warp if dried too fast 9.

Manilkara bidentata Images – Useful Tropical Plants

The wood finishes very well and resembles mahogany. It is resistant to the dry wood termite, Crytotermes brevis, in Puerto Rico 35highly resistant to the subterranean termites, Coptotermes niger, Heterotermes convexinotatus, H. The wood is also very resistant to white- and brown-rot fungus 7,9,23 and is very durable in contact with the ground Ausubo is one of the strongest and most attractive commercial woods in Puerto Rico.