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Revista Cubana de Ciencias Forestales

versión On-line ISSN 2310-3469

Rev cubana ciencias forestales vol.8 no.3 Pinar del Río sept.-dic. 2020  Epub 01-Sep-2020

 

Original article

Phenology of flora components in the use of natural and traditional medicine in the community of Verraco, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba

Miguel Ángel Castell Puchades1  * 
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1792-6323

Yenisei Revilla Gongora1 
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3107-1242

Gustavo Polanco Durán1 
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7120-0024

Yamila Baró Bou1 
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6623-8404

1Centro Oriental de Ecosistemas y Biodiversidad, Santiago de Cuba. Cuba.

Abstract

Based on ethnobotanical studies carried out in the community of Verraco, belonging to the Baconao Biosphere Reserve, province of Santiago de Cuba, the components of the flora used in natural and traditional medicine were identified in situ, and the reproductive phenology of each of the identified species was determined. The objective of the work was to present the flowering and fruiting patterns of flora species that are components of natural and traditional medicine in the coastal community of Verraco, which belongs to the Baconao Biosphere Reserve. A total of 82 species of flowering plants used by the community for natural and traditional medicine were recorded, which are grouped into 75 genera and 49 botanical families. Of the total species studied, 46 % (38) were recorded with flowers and fruits, while only 12 % (10) and 39 % (32) were determined in the flowering and fruiting stages, respectively. Of the total species, only four are endemic and 24 % are naturalized, while 19 % correspond to non-indigenous but possibly naturalized species. Forty species flowers, coinciding with the rainy season, while 36 bear fruit during the same period. In the dry or low rainfall stage, a total of 57 species were recorded to flower in this period. A total of 27 species present a flowering stage of more than four months, while 21 species bear fruit in a similar stage of time. Only one species was recorded that flowers and bears fruit all year round: Heliotropium angiospermum. A total of 21 species present synchrony, as both phenological periods coincide in the same reproductive stage.

Keywords: Ethnobotanical perception studies; Reproductive phenology; Medicinal plants.

Introduction

The phenology of plant species is one of the main studies to be carried out to understand the flora of an ecosystem (Ortiz, 1990). Phenological studies in general, and especially the flowering and fruiting phases, are essential to determine the optimal time to collect seeds and thus guarantee the management of medicinal, forest, food, melliferous and other species, contributing to possible conservation programs (Albert-Puentes et al., 1995).

Several ethnobotanical studies have been carried out in various coastal communities in the country, with emphasis on the use of traditional medicine in Cuba, including those of Rosette et al. (2019) and Polanco et al., (2011), for the Guanahacabibes and Baconao Biosphere Reserves, respectively; among others Vilamajó (1984) , Vilamajó (1985), Vilamajó and Menéndez (1988), Figueredo et al., (2010), Figueredo et al., (2013). The aim of the work was to publicize the flowering and fruiting patterns of flora species that are components of natural and traditional medicine in the coastal community of Verraco, part of the Baconao Biosphere Reserve.

The population's knowledge and monitoring of the phenology of flora components in the use of natural and traditional medicine enables them to make appropriate use of plants for the treatment and cure of different conditions, and allows them to draw up strategies for the appropriate sowing and cultivation of these species.

Materials and methods

Based on the ethnobotanical studies carried out in the community of Verraco by Polanco et al., (2011), and on the floristic list of Figueredo et al., (2013), the components of the flora that are used in natural and traditional medicine were selected and their phenology was determined in situ, especially the flowering and fruiting phases of each of the identified species, according to the methodology of Albert-Puentes et al., (1993ª).

Monthly monitoring was carried out between 2015 and 2016 in the community of Verraco, located in the geographical coordinates X: 639 080, Y: 139 020, belonging to the Baconao Biosphere Reserve, province of Santiago de Cuba, and the phenological field observations were complemented with reviews of materials belonging to the Spermatophyte Section of the Herbarium BSC "Dr. Jorge Sierra Calzado" of the Centro Oriental de Ecosistemas y Biodiversidad of Santiago de Cuba, noting the phenological data.

As for the duration of flowering and fruiting, the species were classified according to Castillo and Carabias (1982) as:

  • Short = species whose flowering or fruiting period is < 4 months.

  • Long = species whose flowering or fruiting period is ≤ 4 months.

According to the flowering period, the criteria of Sarmiento and Monasterio (1983) were followed, where:

  • Species with continuous flowering, are those that bloom all year round.

  • Early flowering species, those that bloom at the beginning of the rainy season (spring).

  • Delayed-flowering species are those that begin in the second half of the rainy season, and extend through the end of that season.

  • Late-blooming species are those that flower in the dry season.

  • Opportunistic species: those that are able to flower in any period, as long as the environmental conditions are favorable to them.

For the analysis of the distribution of plant species and the updating of taxonomic nomenclature, the criteria of Greuter and Rankin were followed (2017).

Results and discussion

According to the ethnobotanical perception studies carried out in the community of Verraco, a total of 82 species of flowering plants (angiosperms) were recorded, which are used by the community for the use of natural and traditional medicine, which are grouped into 75 genera and 49 botanical families (Table 1).

Table 1 - Phenology of the species with medicinal use by the Verraco community  

Family Scientific name Common name Distribution Phenology
Flowering Fructification
Acanthaceae Dicliptera sexangularis (L.) Juss. árnica Cu - Esp, Ja, PRc Jan-Sep Jan-Sep
Justicia pectoralis Jacq. carpintero PCu - PEsp, PJa Ap
Aizoaceae Tetragonia tetragonioides (Pallas) Kuntze espinaca NCu May
Amaranthaceae Chenopodium ambrosioides L. apasote PCu - PEsp PJa Ap-June
Anacardiaceae Mangifera indica L. mango NCu - PEsp PJa Jan-Ap Ap-Aug
Annonaceae Annona muricata L. guanábana PCu - PEsp PJa Nov
Annona squamosa L. anón CCu - CEsp CJa Jun Aug-Sep
Apiaceae Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Nyman ex A.W. Hill perejil NCu Jun Aug-Sep
Pimpinella anisum L. anís NCu Jun Aug-Sept
Arecaceae Acrocomia crispa (Kunth) C.F. Baker ex Becc corojo ˚Cu Jun
Cocos nucifera L. coco PCu - PEsp PPRc Nov-Mar Nov-Mar
Asteraceae Bidens pilosus L. romerillo Cu - Esp Ja PRc Mar Oct
Isocarpha oppositifolia (L.) Cass. manzanilla Cu - Ja AmN AmC AmS Feb
Pluchea carolinensis (Jacq.) G. Don salvia Cu - Esp Ja PRc Jan-Jun Oct-Nov
Vernonanthura havanensis (DC.) H. Rob. rompezaragüey ˚Cu Jan, Mar/Nov
Xanthium strumarium L. guisazo de Baracoa PCu - AmN NVM Mar/May/Jul
Boraginaceae Heliotropium angiospermum Murray alacrancillo Cu - Esp Ja PRc Whole a year Whole a year
Brassicaceae Nasturtium officinale W. T Aiton berro NCu(CuW(Art May May-Sep Feb
Bromeliaceae Bromelia pinguin L. piña ratón NCu - Esp Ja PRc May-Oct Nov-Feb
Burseraceae Bursera graveolens (Kunth) Triana& Planch sasafrás PCu - AmN AmC Dec-March Dec-Mar
Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg. almácigo Cu - Esp Ja PRc Feb-Sep October-Mar
Protium cubense (Rose) Urb. copal ˚Cu Apr
Cactaceae Nopalea cochenillifera (L.) Salm-Dyck tuna NCu - PEsp PJa Dec-Mar Oct
Canellaceae Canella winterana (L.) Gaertn. cúrbana Cu - Esp Ja PRc Jun-Sep
Capparaceae Capparis frondosa Jacq raíz de berraco Cu (CuE(Ho Gu)) - Jun Aug
Caricaceae Carica papaya L. fruta bomba, papaya CCu - CEsp CJa Feb-Mar
Commelinaceae Tradescantia spathacea Sw. barquito, cordobán NCu - PEsp PPRc Ap-Jun
Costaceae Cheilocostus speciosus (J. König) C. Specht caña mexicana NCu - PEsp PJa May
Crassulaceae Kalanchoe pinnata (Lam.) Pers. hoja de aire NCu - PEsp PJa Jan-Mar Ap-Jun
Cucurbitaceae Momordica charantia L. cundeamor NCu - PEsp PJa Mar-Jun Mar/Sep-Oct
Cyperaceae Cyperus rotundus L. caramaná PCu - PEsp PJa May-Oct May-Oct
Erythroxylaceae Erythroxylum havanense Jacq. var. havanense jibá Cu - Esp Men AmS Jan-Ap Mar-May
Euphorbiaceae Euphorbia serpens Kunth coronilla Cu - Esp Ja PRc Ap
Jatropha gossypiifolia L. túa túa Cu - Esp Ja PRc May-Sep Jun-Oct
Jatropha sp. chaya NCu Nov
Fabaceae Caesalpinia bahamensis Lam.subsp. bahamensis palo de brasil Cu (CuW(Mat IJ) Apr-Jun/Sep-Dec
Cassia grandis L. cañándonga Cu(CuW(Art) AmS Feb-May May-Aug
Desmodium incanum DC. amor seco Cu - Esp Ja PRc Men Cay AmN AmC AmS Jul Jul
Senna occidentalis (L.) Link platanillo DCu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat IJ) Feb-Ap Feb-Ap
Tamarindus indica L. tamarindo PCu(CCuW CCuC Dec-Mar Mar-May
Lamiaceae Mentha spicata L. hierba buena CCu(CuW(Hab*)) - Mar
Ocimum basilicum L. albahaca morada NCu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* Mat) Ap
Origanum majorana L. mejorana PCu(CCuW(Hab*) Feb-Ap
Plectranthus amboinicus (Lour.) Spreng. orégano PCu(CCuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat IJ) Ap
Plectranthus tomentosus Benth. meprobamato Mar Jun
Rosmarinus officinalis L. romero PCu(CCuW CCuC Mar
Vitex agnus-castus L. vencedor C Cu(CuW(Hab*) Nov
Lauraceae Persea americana Mill. aguacate PCu(CuW(Art Mat) CuC(SS) CuE(Ho Mar-May Jun-Sept
Lythraceae Lawsonia inermis L. resedá PCu - pHab* CEsp Ap and Sep
Bastardia viscosa (L.) Kunth var. viscosa malva bruja Cu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat IJ) Nov
Malvaceae Gossypium arboreum L. algodón -Cu - VM Feb/Ap/Jun/ Nov/Dec
Guazuma ulmifolia Lam. guásima Cu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* May IJ) Oct-Dec Oct-Feb
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. marpacífico rojo NCu Mar-Jun
Talipariti elatum (Sw.) Fryxell majagua NCu Ap-Jun
Meliaceae Azadirachta indica A. Juss. árbol del nim PCu(CuW(Hab*)) - Sep
Trichilia hirta L. jubabán Cu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat Jan-June Jan/Ab/Jun/May/Dec
Moringaceae Moringa oleifera Lam. moringa NCu(PCuW(Art cHab*) CCuC(Ci SS) Mar May
Myrtaceae Eucalyptus sp. eucalipto Jan/May Jan-Feb/Oct
Psidium guajava L. guayaba DCu - Esp Ja PRc May/Jun Ap-Jul
Oleaceae Jasminum fluminense Vell. jazmín de 5 pétalos NCu(CuW(Mat) CuC(VC LT) Jan/Sept Aug
Papaveraceae Argemone mexicana L. cardo santo DCu(CuW(PR* Hab* Mat) CuC(VC Ci) Feb-Ap
Pasifloraceae Turnera ulmifolia L. marilope o tapón PPRc Men Bah Cay Mar/Ap Mar/Nov
Phyllanthaceae Phyllanthus tenuicaulis Müll. Arg. subsp. tenuicaulis fruta o huevo escondido ˚Cu Feb-Ap Feb-June
Phytolaccaceae Petiveria alliacea Lin. anamú Cu(CuW(PR* Hab* May IJ) CuC(VC Ci SS Ab/Jun/Ago/ Nov/Dec
Piperaceae Piper auritum Kunth anizón DCu(CuW(Hab*) CuC(Ci SS) CuE(Gr Ap-June Jun-Aug
Plantaginaceae Plantago major L. llantén NCu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat) Feb-Jun Feb-Jun
Poaceae Cymbopogon citratus (D. C.) Stapf. caña santa, hierba de calentura CCu - CEsp CJa CPRc CMen CBah Oct Dec
Polygonaceae Coccoloba uvifera (L.) L. uva caleta Cu - Esp Ja PRc Feb-Ap
Punicaceae Punica granatum L. granada C Cu - C Esp C Ja C PRc C Men Oct-Dec
Rhamnaceae Colubrina elliptica (Sw.) Brizicki & Stern carbonero Cu - Esp Ja PRc Men Bah Cay AmN Ap-Jun
Rutaceae Citrus x aurantium L. naranja agria NCu(CuW(Hab* Mat) CuC(Ci Cam) Jan-May
Citrus x limon (L.) Osbeck limón CCu - CEsp CJa Jan/Jun/Oct/ Nov
Citrus reticulata Blanco mandarina CCu - CEsp CJa CPRc CAmN Dec-Jan
Ruta chalepensis L. ruda (C)Cu - CEsp CPRc CMen VM Mar Jun
Sambucaceae Sambucus canadensis L. sauco blanco NCu Feb-May
Solanaceae Solanum americanum Mill. yerba mora Cu(CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat IJ) Mar-May/Oct Mar-May/Jul/Oct-Nov
Solanum torvum Sw. prendejera Cu (CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat IJ) CuC(VC Ci SS May/Nov Jan/May Oct/Nov
Urticaceae Pilea depressa (Sw.) Blume lloviznita CPRc CMen CAmC CAmS Cu - Esp Ja Ap
Verbenaceae Lippia alba (Miller) N. E. Br. menta americana Cu (CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat) Ap/Jun-Jul
Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (L.) Vahl. verbena Cu (CuW(PR* Art Hab* May Mat IJ) Feb-May Jan/Jul/Oct-Nov
Vitaceae Cissus verticillata (L.) Nicolson & Jarvis subsp. verticillata bejuco ubí Cu - Esp Ja Ap
Xanthorrhoeaceae Aloe vera (L.) N. L. Burm. sábila PCu - PEsp PJa Feb-May Ap-Jun

Legend: AmC: Central América, AmN: North América (including México), AmS: South América (including Trinidad, Tobago, Curazao, Margarita, etc.), Art: Artemisa province, Bah: Bahamas, CA: Ciego de Ávila province, Cam: Camagüey province, Cay: Islas Caymán, Ci: Cienfuegos province, CuC: central Cuba, CuE: Easter Cuba, CuW: Western Cuba, Esp: Hispaniola, Gr: Granma province, Gu: Guantánamo province, Hab*: La Habana province, Ho: Holguín province, IJ: Pine Island, Ja: Jamaica, Mat: Matanzas province, May: Mayabeque province, Men: minor Antillas (including Virgens Island), PR*: Pinar del Río province, PRc: Puerto Rico, SS: Sancti Spíritus province, VC: Villa Clara province, VM: Old World (including Australia e Pacific Island), Endemic in Cuba, pointing by error, D: Present but doubtfully indigenous, N: naturalized, P: no indigenous but likely naturalized, C: widely cultivated, (C): Occasionally Cultivated or currently not cultivated, Jan: January, Feb: February, Mar: March, Ap: April, May: May, Jun: June, Aug: August, Sep: September, Oct: October, Nov: November, Dec: December.

These results are congruent with Polanco et al., (2011), Rosete et al., (2019), and Nina (2017), who in different ethnobotanical studies on the use of biodiversity for medicinal purposes report that community members use mainly curative and aromatic plant species to address certain health conditions, using not only those available in the natural environment, but also those grown in home gardens and farms, largely using arvenous species.

From the total number of species studied, 46 % (38) were recorded with flowers and fruits, while only 12 % (10) and 39 % (32) were determined in the flowering and fruiting stages, respectively (Table 1). According to Polanco et al., (2011), the fruits and flowers of medicinal plants represent, after the leaves, the organs most used by the inhabitants of this community to combat the various conditions and diseases.

The best represented botanical families are: Lamiaceae with seven species, followed by Asteraceae and Fabaceae with five, while the genera with the largest number of infra-generic taxa were Citrus (Rutaceae) with three species, followed by the genera Annona (Annonaceae), Bursera (Burseraceae), Jatropha (Euphorbiaceae), Plectranthus (Lamiaceae), and Solanum (Solanaceae), with two in each case. In ethnobotanical studies conducted in the community of Gran Piedra, Hernández (2001) reported the Fabaceae and Asteraceae families as the most represented for their medicinal uses.

From the total of species, only four are endemic: Acrocomia crispa C.F. Baker ex Becc, Vernonanthura havanensis (DC.) H. Rob., Protium cubense Urb. and Phyllanthus tenuicaulis Müll. Arg. subsp. tenuicaulis. 24 % of the identified species are naturalized (many of them are fruit trees), while 19 % correspond to non-indigenous but possibly naturalized species, according to Greuter and Rankin (2017). A total of eight species are cultivated.

There is a report on the floristic diversity of Verraco (Figueredo et al., 2013), where 57 % of the total plant species grow in the surroundings of the community and only 44 % are cultivated by the inhabitants.

Pelicié and Hernández (1985) obtained 91 % of endemism at the ethnobotanical level in that coastal sector (Verraco-Cazonal); later, in 1988, they updated the list of medicinal plants for that locality, identifying 59 species with 27 % of endemism.

According to Albert-Puentes et al., (1993), 40 species flowers during the rainy season from May to October, including Bromelia pinguin L. and Cyperus rotundus L., while 36 species bear fruit during the same period, such as Solanun torvum Sw. and Solanum americanum Mill., both of the family Solanaceae.

In the dry or low rainfall stage, a total of 57 species were recorded that bloom during this period, although many of them overlap this phenophase during the months of April and May, which mark the end of the dry stage and the beginning of the rainy stage (Bermúdez and Durán, 1991). The possible dependence of the phenological patterns on environmental factors, as well as their relationship with other plants and animals was pointed out by Ramírez and Brito (1987).

Figure 1 shows the categories of species according to the period in which they bloom, highlighting in this aspect the Late Blooming (FTA) with 31 species, followed by the opportunistic species (CP) with 24, those that bloom at any stage of the year.

For Opler et al., (1976), the phenological phases are closely related to rainfall, given that the seasonality in the tropics is fundamentally given by this climatic factor. Bawa et al., (1990) reported spatial and temporal variations in phenological patterns revealed in individual and community studies over two decades; however, the factors determining these patterns remain unknown (Bawa and NG., (1990).

Fig. 1. - Species categories according to flowering period, FC: continuous flowering, FTE: early flowering, FR: delayed flowering, FTA: late flowering, CP: opportunistic species  

A plant may not develop all its phenological stages if it grows in different climatic conditions than its region of origin. Abu-Asab et al., (2001) report extensions of the flowering period in 89 species in the Washington DC area, analyzing 30-year records; correlating these observations directly with local increases in minimum temperatures.

According to Castillo and Carabias (1982), and as shown in Figure 2, a total of 45 species (55 % of the total recorded) were identified that bloom in a period of less than four months, as is the case of Argemone mexicana L.(Figure 3); that is, they could be defined as short-lived species. In the same category there are 26 species (32 % of the total recorded), whose fruiting stage does not exceed the same number of months.

Fig. 2 - Species categories according to flowering and fruiting time. FLC: short period flowering, FLL: long period flowering, FRC: short period fruiting, FRL: long period fruiting  

A total of 27 species have a long flowering period and 21 species bear fruit over a period of more than 4 months, as they are: Nasturtium officinale W. T Aiton, Cassia grandis L., Mangifera indica L., among others; many of them are edible and cultivated. Only one species has been recorded that flowers and bears fruit all year round: Heliotropium angiospermum Murria.

Some species are recorded that overlap both phenological periods: Dicliptera sexangularis (L.) Juss, from January to September and C. rotundus, from May to October; both are herbaceous species. Other species, such as Cocos nucifera Lin., and Trichilia hirta L.(Figure 4), present their flowering and fruiting phases in the same period, although the latter presents several fruiting peaks (Table 1).

Fig. 3. - Argemone mexicana L.  

Fig. 4. - Trichillia hirta L.  

Other authors, such as Albert-Puentes et al. (1993), carried out phenological studies where they obtained similar results of overlapping with T. hirta(Figure 4) and other tree species such as: Prunus occidentalis Sw. and Matayba apetala f. oppositifolia (A. Rich.) Radlk. Similar fruiting patterns were found by Sánchez et al. (2009) for species analogous to those reported in these localities.

A total of 21 species are synchronized, that is, they flower and bear fruit at the same time, at the same time, as they are: Bursera graveolens Triana & Planch , and Plantago major L.; Augspurger (1983) defined synchronism as an escape of plants from flower predators and then from seeds, so it is an adaptive strategy for successful pollination and seed dispersal (Steven et al., 1987).

For Castillo and Carabias (1982), one aspect to take into account is the variability of phenological patterns (not only between species and years, but between individuals of the same species, so that not all individuals belonging to the same species flower and bear fruit simultaneously, and sometimes not even in the same year).

Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg. (seedling), extends its flowering for nine months, while fructification is recorded for six months. These results show a very different behavior to the ones obtained by Hechavarría et al. (2000), in Itabo, Matanzas, where fruits are harvested only in July.

It is known that many species, such as Carica papaya L., are able to revert their reproductive habits in extreme conditions, which probably is a mechanism for the perpetuation of the species; for that reason it is important to complement the phenological observations in the field with the herbarium records, because according to Croat (1969) individuals can bloom in a year out of season, producing a lengthening of the period of the observed phenophase.

Conclusions

In the community of Verraco, Baconao Biosphere Reserve, 87 % and 61 % of the components of the flora for medicinal and traditional use are recorded with flowers and fruits, which enables the inhabitants, based on their knowledge of these plant phenophases, to make appropriate use of them for the treatment and cure of various conditions, and to be able to trace strategies for the planting and cultivation of these medicinal species

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to the national project "Components of biological diversity used by Cuban families in natural and traditional medicine", which is part of the Natural and Traditional Medicine Program of the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), for its logistical support for the development of this research.

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Received: May 18, 2020; Accepted: July 03, 2020

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