Friday, February 28, 2014

Beautiful Red Flower Tree Triplaris Cumingiana Long John or Ant Tree Medicinal Uses

By Liliana Usvat
Blog 149-365
Alternative Names
Triplaris cumingiana Long John  Ant Tree Dilla, Guayabo hormiguero, Palo santo, Vara santa

The Long John Tree is native to Central America and tropical South America Panama to and Peru.  It is sometimes called the Ant Tree, because in its native habitat, its hollow branches are inhabited by stinging ants which protect the tree from herbivores.  This tree can attain a height of 50-70′ with an oblong canopy that remains narrow.  The bark peels off in patches, giving it a smooth blotchy trunk.  

The brown seeds, small square nuts, have wings. When the seeds of this tree fall they look like many small helicopters gyrating to earth. They can be carried away by the wind for many miles before reaching the ground.

This tree is dioecious, meaning there are male and female plants.  The blossoms of the female tree are more deeply colored than the male tree, and produce nutlike seeds attatched to three brilliant red 2″ long propeller like wings, that are wind dispersed, fluttering down like tiny helicopters.  They flower in the dry season from November to early spring. 

A medium to large, dry deciduous tree from mixed forests at low to medium elevations along the Andes between Panama and Bolivia with large, glossy leaves, cream colored flowers on male trees and pink to bright red flowers on female trees.

Medicinal Uses
  • Triplaris Surinamensis is used in Shamanism to prepare Ayahuasca (both a medicinal tradition specific to the Amazonas and a shamanic medicinal brews).
  • A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of dysentery, diarrhoea and piles 

Agro Forestry Uses

A fast-growing, natural pioneer species within its native range, it can be used for re-establishing native woodland, especially in moister soils and in areas subject to inundation.
Seed - best as as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A high germination rate can be expsoon ected, with the seed sprouting within 20 - 30 days. When the seedlings are 4 - 6cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out 4 - 5 months later
Growing tips:
- Grow well in full sun or a slightly shaded place. Young plants require some amount of shade.
- Soil - good drained, water retentive. Rich in nutrients.
- They require constant humidity and warm temperatures
Special Character:
  • Rare Plant or difficult to get plant
  • Good for screening
  • Attracts bees
  • Recommended for creating shade
  • Quick growing trees
  • Evergreen trees
  • Suitable for avenue planting
  • Grows best in humid and warm regions
  • Must have for Farm house or big gardens


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