West Indian-locust

 
 

West Indian-locust, or courbaril, is native to the Antilles, Central America, northern South America, Brazil and Bolivia. It reaches a height of 150 feet, with a trunk 6 feet in diameter. The crown is wide and the trunk is cylindrical, erect and smooth. The leaves are up to 4 inches long and are composed of two identical lustrous leaflets, one the mirror image of the other. Flowers are up to 1.5 inches in diameter and have five petals that detach easily. The fruit is a hard capsule, up to 4 inches long, with several reddish seeds surrounded by a whitish, mealy pulp, that is edible but has an unpleasant odor. It flowers during spring and summer, and the fruits fall during winter and spring. The generic name derives from Hymen, the Greek god of marriage, in reference to the paired leaflets. The species name derives from the common name for the tree in French Guiana.


The photographed tree is north of the Monzón Building. There’s another large tree across from the Dean of Students Building, both were planted by Henry T. Cowles before 1940.

Hymenaea courbaril (Fabaceae)