This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(from Greek word referring to use of the wood of some species in making wind instruments). Moraceae. Milky-juiced trees, with peltate leaves, sometimes planted in grounds in tropics and warm countries.
Leaves large, alternate, long-petioled, the blade circular in outline; segments or leaflets 7-11: dioecious; flowers very small, sessile in cylindrical heads or receptacles, which are arranged in umbels; calyx tubular and petals 0; sterile flowers with 2 stamens; fertile flowers with free ovary and divided stigma: fruits small 1-seeded nuts combined into short spikes. - Species about 40, from Mex. to Brazil. C. peltata, Linn., is the trumpet-tree of the W. Indies and S. It is a middle-sized tree with leaves 1 ft. across; hollow branches used for the making of wind instruments. The juice of some species yields rubber. The hollow stems are often perforated by ants, which nest and rear their young in them.
Willd. Fig. 848. A characteristic tree of the farther W. Indies (and planted somewhat in S. Fla.), with a single long weak thin trunk and at the top a few horizontal or deflexed awkward branches bearing at their ends large palmate leaves with divisions like thumbs, the trunk and branches partitioned at the nodes: leaves 7-11-lobed to the middle, white-tomentose beneath, the lobes oblong-obovate and blunt. - The tree attains a height of 50 ft.: wood soft; branches more or less hollow; grows rapidly, like an herb; often covering areas that have recently been burned over.
Fig. 848. Cecropia palmata.
L. H. B