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Research and Conservation in Southern Sonora, Mexico

Bursera grandifolia (palo mulato, chutama)


Bursera grandifolia near Alamos. Photo: T.R. Van Devender

Palo mulato thrives in tropical deciduous forest, growing up to 30 feet (9 m) tall. It is less commonly found in thornscrub where it is a smaller tree. It has deep, steel blue-gray to green bark with rusty papery peelings. Above its solid trunk a mature tree spreads irregular branches—a voluptuous and attractive form. Masses of pink flowers appear early in the rainy season before the trees leaf out; this is our only Bursera with conspicuous flowers. Trunks are often scarred because residents use the bark for food (tea) and medicine.








Bursera grandifolia near Alamos, Sonora. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Branches and flowers of Bursera grandifolia. Photo: S.A. Meyer

Bursera grandifolia in flower at the beginning of the rainy season near Alamos, Sonora. Photo: Stephanie A. Meyer

Same Bursera grandifolia as image to left, now in leaf during the rainy season. Photo: Stephanie A. Meyer

Bark of Bursera grandifolia just beginning to peel. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Bark of Bursera grandifolia in mid peel. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Bark of Bursera grandifolia after peeling. Photo: Mark Dimmitt

Flowers of Bursera grandifolia at beginning of rainy season. These are paler than is typical. Photo: S.A. Meyer


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