Economic Botany

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 491–501 | Cite as

Production ecology of CopaÍba (Copaifera spp.) oleoresin in the eastern brazilian Amazon

  • Campbell Plowden


Oleoresin extracted from copaiba (Copaifera spp.: Leguminosae) trees is a popular traditional medicine in Amazonia. I studied production ecology from three copaiba types in the eastern Brazilian Amazon. Mean oleoresin yield from the first harvest was 0.07 liters per tree for all trees drilled and 0.23 liters per tree for ones yielding some oleoresin. Yields were comparable toC. multijuga results in central Amazonia but lower than anecdotal reports of 2 liters or more per tree. Yield differences were minor between tree types and seasons. Yield peaked in mid-size trees (45-65 cm DBH) while small (45 cm DBH), very large (>65 cm DBH), and hollow trees (due to senescence or fire) yielded negligible amounts. Oleoresin was harvested almost exclusively from inner heartwood, indicating that factors stimulating its synthesis in cambium are probably distinct from factors that promote its storage in heartwood and loss of yield many years later.

Key Words

Copaifera oleoresin Tembe Indians Brazilian Amazon hollow tree 


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Campbell Plowden
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Resources Cooperative ExtensionPenn State UniversityUniversity Park

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