Family: Verbenaceae

Cornutia obovata (palo de nigua)

Cornutia obovata (palo de nigua)

Description
The palo de nigua is an evergreen tree, which can reach a height of 15 feet and a diameter of 11 inches. Its leaves are simple and opposite.

Biological Information
The palo de nigua is found in the evergreen forests in the limestone hills region of northern Puerto Rico and the mountains of the Cordillera Central Mountain Range in the town of Barranquitas. Currently, the total population reaches only a half dozen individuals.

Distribution
The palo de nigua is a tree endemic to Puerto Rico, originally described in the mountains of the Cordillera Central Mountain Range near Barranquitas. Currently, the species can only be found in several locations in the limestone hills of Arecibo and in the town of Barranquitas.

Threats
The factors that threaten the palo de nigua are deforestation and destruction of habitat, and its limited distribution. In the limestone hill area in northern Puerto Rico, the alteration of limestone hills for the extraction of construction materials may also result in the complete elimination of the limestone hills.

Conservation Measures
Palo de nigua was included in the Federal list of endangered species on April 7, 1988. Such action requires federal agencies to consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife before carrying out any activity that might endanger the existence of this species or result in the alteration or destruction of its essential habitat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also developed a program for spreading the species with the purpose of reintroducing species individuals in the future.

References
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1988. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants: Determination of endangered status for Cornutia obovata. Federal Register, 53:11610-11612.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Cornutia obovata and Daphnopsis hellerana Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia, 22 pp.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: August 27, 2014.

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