The Pomarosa is a tree that reaches a height of 3 to 12 meters. Its leaves are simple and arranged oppositely on the branches. It is recognizable by its axillary inflorescences that produce pink or red flowers. The fruits, which are usually the same color as the flowers, are relatively large and have a refreshing flavor.
Native to the Old World, but of uncertain specific origin; reported as native to Malaysia; or Southeast Asia (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023).
In addition to being known for its edible and refreshing fruits, the Pomarosa is appreciated as an ornamental plant due to its pyramidal shape, its vibrant green leaves and its striking purple-red inflorescences.
Apart from their aesthetic value, the leaves of this plant have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be attributed to the high concentrations of flavonoids, such as myricitrin and quercetin. These compounds, like other anthocyanins present in the plant, have the ability to reduce inflammation and are associated with improvements in cognitive and cardiovascular function. It is important to mention that quercetin is also found in the fruits of the Rose Apple (Batista et al., 2017).
The Emajaguilla is a tree that reaches heights of 7 to 8 meters. It is characterized by having heart-shaped leaves that are glabrous, which means they lack hairs. Its flowers are large with yellow petals, with a base that tends to be darker. The fruits of this species are oblong, hard and indehiscent, which means they do not open spontaneously to release the seeds, and it shows a preference for coastal or littoral habitats.
Native to the tropics of the world (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023).
In Puerto Rico, Emajagüilla is a host for several insect species, including the beetle Hypothenemus ferrugineous (Hopkins), the hemipterans Dysdercus andreae (L.) and D. sanguinarius neglectus (Doesburg), the homopterans Saissetia nigra (Nietner) and Pinnaspis strachani (Cooley), and the lepidopterans Ereunetis minuscula (Walsingham) and Pectinophora gossypiela (Saunders). Most of these insects feed on the fruits and seeds of the plant (Parrota, 1994).
Emajagüilla has a variety of potential uses, ranging from medicinal applications to the production of fabric dyes, rope manufacturing, shade provided by its structure, erosion prevention and biodiesel production (Rashid and Knothe, 2011 ).
It is important to highlight that Emajagüilla can become an invasive species in mangrove areas due to its ability to regenerate and displace native species. This can have negative effects on native mangrove associated vegetation, decreasing the abundance of native species (Santos et al., 2021).
The Almácigo is a resinous deciduous tree that usually measures between 5 and 20 meters in height. Its leaves emit a characteristic smell when crushed, they are compound and are arranged alternately on the branches. Each leaf consists of 3 to 13 leaflets, which have an entire margin.
Native to the Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Bahamas, mainland Florida, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023).
The Almácigo continues to be appreciated for its medicinal properties and ecological importance. The fresh resin is used in plasters to treat skin problems such as herpes, abscesses and insect bites, as mentioned by Hernández (2022).
In traditional medicine, Almácigo leaves and bark are commonly used to relieve a variety of ailments, including flu, urinary tract infections, and as a purgative and diuretic.
In addition to its medicinal value, the Almácigo plays a crucial role in beekeeping, since it is an important honey tree for bees of the genus Apis, as highlighted in the study by Castellanos et al. (2012).
The appearance of its bark, which resembles the skin that comes off after a sunburn, has led to it being known in some places as the “tourist tree.” This distinctive feature adds to its uniqueness in different regions.
The Ucar is a tree that can reach heights of up to 35 meters and is characterized by having a straight trunk, long and sympodial branching. Its external bark has colors that vary from gray to yellowish brown. The leaves of this tree are simple and usually grouped at the tips of the branches.
The inflorescences of the Ucar are elongated and spike-shaped, with white flowers that give off a pleasant fragrance.
Native to the Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Bahamas, Mexico, Central and South America (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023).
Ucar stands out for its notable antioxidant activity. The antioxidant extract obtained from this tree is useful for inhibiting oxidative cellular stress, which has a protective effect on the retina and helps prevent eye diseases, as mentioned in the study by Iloki et al. (2015).
In addition to its antioxidant properties, Ucar provides excellent shade for people visiting Jaime Benítez Park.
The Coinvine is characterized by being a shrub or tree that often tends to be scandalous, which means that it can climb or be somewhat climbing in its growth. Its leaves are unifoliolate, meaning they have only one leaflet, and this leaflet tends to have a slightly glaucous (lighter) hue on the underside of the leaf. Its fruits are suborbicular or reniform, which means they have a shape that resembles a slightly flattened circle or kidney shape.
Native to the Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Bahamas, mainland Florida, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Africa (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023).
The importance of Coinvine lies in its function as a source of plant resin for the production of propolis by honey bees. Propolis is a resinous substance that bees obtain from the sap of plants and other plant sources, and then process it in the hive. This substance performs various vital functions for the hive, such as sealing small gaps, stabilizing the structure of the hive, reducing vibrations and, sometimes, it is mixed with wax to varnish the interior of the hive (Mata, 2015).
In addition, the leaves and stems of Coinvine contain high concentrations of phenolic compounds, which gives them a significant antioxidant capacity. This property may have beneficial health applications. In traditional medicine, Maraymaray has been used to treat conditions such as fevers and diarrhea, which highlights its importance in both beekeeping and natural medicine (Lucas et al. (2020)
The Guamá is a tree or shrub that is characterized by having branches with thorns. Its flowers are small, white or cream-white, and give off a light perfume. The fruits of the Guamá are thin pods that are usually reddish or pinkish in color. These pods open on both sides to release the seeds, which are surrounded by a white aril.
It is reported as native to the Neotropics; Mexico, Central America and South America; it is widely cultivated and naturalized in other regions of the world (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023)
The Guamá americano is an edible tree, since its fruits can be consumed fresh or used to mix with corn atole. In addition, this plant has medicinal applications, especially in the treatment of digestive disorders and diarrhea, as well as in cleaning wounds. Through its roots, guamá contributes to the fixation of nitrogen in the soil (Monroy & Collin, 2004). The honey produced by the bees that visit the flowers of this tree is of very good quality. In the reserve, this species plays an important role in erosion control and soil conservation (CONABIO (2009).
The Ceiba is a tree that can reach a very large size, reaching up to 60 meters in height. Its leaves are alternate, compound and palmate, with up to 9 leaflets. This tree mainly loses its leaves between the months of November and January. Its bark is green when young and is covered with abundant thorns. These spines tend to disappear with age, and the bark takes on a grayish color. Ceiba flowers have 5 stamens with orange anthers, and the petals are usually pink.
Native to the Lesser Antilles, Greater Antilles, Bahamas, Mexico, Central and South America; introduced in the Old World (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023)
The ceiba is the national tree of Puerto Rico and has exceptional importance both from an ecological and cultural point of view. From an ecological point of view, the ceiba flowers open before nightfall, attracting numerous daytime pollinators, such as bees, which come in search of nectar and pollen. During the night, it is the moths and bats that play a fundamental role as pollinators of this species (Mari Mut, 2015). Furthermore, in forested areas, the branches of the ceiba tree host a large number of epiphytes and other organisms, creating an ecosystem in its crown.
Culturally, the ceiba tree has been revered by pre-Hispanic indigenous peoples. Its importance is evident in the fact that this tree is considered the axis of the universe in the Amazon and Mesoamerica, and is believed to house many spirits within it. This illustrates the significant connection between this species and the cultural spirituality of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples in America (Tareau et al., 2022)
Queen of Flowers is a medium-sized tree noted for its scaly bark and attractive flowers. Its leaves are generally opposite or subopposite, and its flowers are grouped in upright panicles, each with six purple to pale pink petals. It is an ornamental tree appreciated for its beauty and is found in several tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
Native to the Old World, reported as native to India (Gann & Trejo-Torres, 2015-2023).
The Queen of Flowers has a wide range of beneficial health properties, according to Al Snafi (2019). These properties include antimicrobial, antioxidant, anticancer, antidiabetic, antiobesity, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, gastrointestinal, diuretic, thrombolytic, cardiovascular effects, and protective actions on the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.
In addition to its health benefits, the Queen of Flowers has a role in ecology, as it serves as a host for the cigar Xylocopa brasilianorum (Jackson and Woodbury, 1976).
It is interesting to note that the genus Lagerstroemia was named in 1759 in honor of the Swedish botanist Magnus Von Lagerstroem, who collected plants in India for Charles Linnaeus. The epithet ‘speciosa’ refers to the elegance and beauty that characterizes this species.”
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