Clusia rosea (Clusiaceae) 


The autograph tree, or "cupey" in Spanish, is a huge, handsome tree reaching 60 feet in height and diameter.  The leaves are wide, thick and leathery, 3-6 inches long and 2-5 inches wide.  They may be written on with a sharp instrument, and have been used by Spanish soldiers and schoolchildren as playing cards and writing paper.  The seeds have a sticky red pulp, and are spread by birds to tree branches, where they germinate and begin life as epiphytes.  Later, long aerial roots grow until they reach the ground and root.  From that point on, the tree continues to grow until it finally engulfs and kills its host tree.  Autograph trees form a massive crown with multiple trunks formed by thickened aerial roots.  It is an attractive, relatively slow growing ornamental that is adapts equally well to different soils and climates within the tropics, and is tolerant of salt spray.     



Autograph tree (Clusia rosea) flower

Large, beautiful flower of the autograph tree (Clusia rosea)


Autograph tree (Clusia rosea) fruit

Unripe fruit of the autograph tree (Clusia rosea)


Ripe fruit of autograph tree (Clusia rosea)

Ripe, naturally opened fruit of the autograph tree (Clusia rosea)









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