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Mezilaurus itauba - (Meisn.) Taub. ex Mez

Common Name Itauba
Family Lauraceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Primary forests of high terrain, with sandy or clayey-sandy soils, well-drained and of low fertility[420 ]. Humid tropical and subtropical forests in Bolivia[363 ].
Range S. America - Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guyanas.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Mezilaurus itauba Itauba

Mezilaurus itauba Itauba


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Mezilaurus itauba or Itauba is a large, tropical, slow-growing, evergreen tree growing about 20 - 40 m tall and 60 - 80 cm in trunk diameter. It can be found in South America. It has a round crown. The bark yields an essential oil containing apiol that may cause abortion in pregnant women. The edible fruit is an ellipsoidal berry. The wood is heavy, highly durable, and resistant to attack of marine borer. Due to its high quality, the wood is used in external heavy construction, high class furniture, boat buildings, etc.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Mezilaurus itauba is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Acrodiclidium anacardioides Meisn. Acrodiclidium itauba Meisn. Endiandra itauba (Meisn.) Benth. & Ho

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit[444 ]. The fruit is an ellipsoid berry, around 2 x 1cm[444 ]. No more details.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

The bark is used as an abortifacient[46 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

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Other Uses

Essential  Furniture  Wood

Other Uses An essential oil is obtained from the bark[46 ]. It contains apiol[46 ]. The heartwood is a yellow-brown to a dark, lustrous brown; it is not clearly demarcated from the 2 - 5cm wide band of sapwood. The texture is fine; the grain interlocked and sometimes wavy; the surface has an oily aspect. The wood is heavy; moderately hard to hard; elastic; very durable, being very resistant to fungi, dry wood borers and termites, and reported to be highly resistant to marine borer attack. It seasons slowly, with only a low risk of distortion but a high risk of checking; once dry it is moderately stable in service. It has a fairly high blunting effect, stellite-tipped and tungsten carbide tools are recommended; the interlocked grain means that it can be difficult to cut and to plane; nailing and screwing are good, but require pre-boring; gluing is correct for interior purposes only. A high quality wood, it is used sometimes as a substitute for teak (Tectona grandis). It is much used in external heavy construction for items such as bridges, railway ties, marine works, poles etc, for beams; and is also suitable for high class furniture, cabinet making, turnery etc; as well as for cart bodies, boat building, furniture components, joinery etc[341 , 420 , 444 , 848 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Succeeds in full sun or dappled shade[420 ]. Although a plant of primary forests, it regenerates easily in open areas[420 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in a position in light shade, in individual containers, as soon as it is ripe[420 ]. Germination rates are usually low, occurring in 3 - 5 weeks[420 ]. Plants grow away slowly[420 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here


Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment


(Meisn.) Taub. ex Mez

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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