Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana
13. PLATONIA Mart., Nov. Gen. Sp. Pl. 3: 168, t. 289. 1829 , nom. cons.
by Denis M. Kearns
Trees, glabrous; latex yellow. Leaves opposite, with well-developed intersecondary and tertiary veins subparallel to secondary veins. Flowers terminal, solitary, large, bisexual. Sepals 5, quincuncial; petals 5, pink to peach, whitish inside, contorted. Stamens numerous, in 5 fascicles; filaments papillate, basally connate; anthers long, ± locellate. Ovary 5-locular, ovules few per carpel; style 5-radiate, with pores at the ends of the branches. Fruit a leathery berry. Seeds 5, large; cotyledons minute.
Endemic to the Guayana Shield in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil; 1 species.
Platonia insignis Mart., Nov. Gen. Sp. Pl. 3: 168. 1829 . -Naranjillo.
Large tree to 40 m tall; petals peach with red. Riparian forests, evergreen lowland forests (black-water drainages), 50-200 m; Amazonas (Río Cunucunuma, Río Sipapo, base of Sierra de la Neblina). Other countries as in the genus. Fig. 223.
This species is variable in the size and shape of leaves and in flower size. The fruit is edible with a tart but sweet, yellow pericarp. The resinous latex is used in a manner similar to that of Moronobea and Symphonia.
It has been suggested that Platonia insignis is an illegitimate name, due to the earlier publication of Moronobea esculenta Arruda in H. Kost., Trav. Brazil 2: 490. 1816, which was transferred to Platonia as P. esculenta (Arruda) Rickett & Stafleu, Taxon 8: 313. 1959. However, we have not been able to verify if these names apply to the same taxon.