New Forests

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 25–38 | Cite as

The propagation of Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum Sw.; Moraceae) in Mayan homegardens of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico

  • A.R. Gillespie
  • D.M. Bocanegra-Ferguson
  • J.J. Jimenez-Osornio


In the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Maya natives have been propagating important species for centuries. However, little documentation exists of these methods, and traditional knowledge is fading as younger generations seek work in urban centers. With growing interest in using some of these species for plantation-scale production, this knowledge should be captured to aid in propagation and cultural methods of selected species. One such species, Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum Sw.), is grown in Mayan homegardens primarily as a source of dry season forage. We conducted a survey of Mayan families in several municipalities to determine basic propagation habits and procedures for cultivating Ramón, and used this information to conduct some controlled-environment studies of reproductive ecology of the species. Our survey showed that all or most Maya grow the Ramón tree in homegardens for forage and that the tree is both cultivated from wild seedlings as well as planted on a small scale. Propagation is by seed and young seedlings are irrigated until they are established. We examined the effects of temperature on seed germination and found that maximum germination occurred between 27° and 38 °C, with best germination and growth of healthy seedlings at 33 °C. No germination occurred below 21° or above 44 °C. Simulated Maya irrigation gave a four-fold increase in growth rate of seedlings, aiding early establishment. Watering gave seedlings of greater biomass, greater stem and root length, and greater numbers and size of leaves. This magnitude of response may provide an economic return for plantation culture of Ramón for forage production.

Agroforestry Forage production Indigenous knowledge Plantation establishment Seed germination 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.R. Gillespie
    • 1
  • D.M. Bocanegra-Ferguson
    • 1
  • J.J. Jimenez-Osornio
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management and Conservation of Tropical Natural Resources, PROTROPICO, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and ZoologyUniversity of YucatanMeridaMexico

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