Bibliography on Gonolobus sp. Cuchampera

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Recently I have learned from Josefina Sequen (FLAAR Mesoamerica team) that in the rural areas outside San Juan Sacatepequez she, her family, and friends eat the fruits of a species of Gonolobus woody vine.

Then while asking PNYNN park ranger (Teco) about his knowledge of these lianas in Peten, he said he knows of three kinds, and that yes, some of them are eaten.

Standley and Williams also indicate that some species the fruit is eaten. So we are now updating the bibliography of FLAAR Mesoamerica botanical research team.


Cuchampera is the local name for various species of Gonolobus fruits. This was photographed at the home of the parents of Sofia Monzon (long time photographer at FLAAR). This property is at town of El Cerinal, Municipio of Barberena, an hour or so uphill from Guatemala City. Altitude at El Cerinal is 2195 meters.

We are preparing our own publications on Gonolobus for later this year:

  • A Gonolobus flower and fruit was found by Senaida Ba in the Naranjo cibal-savanna area west of Naranjo sector of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo. So we are preparing a report on this Gonolobus (it’s fruit has no raised “fins” so is totally different than all other species I have seen).
  • List of all Gonolobus species already found in other areas of Peten that should be findable also in other ecosystems of the biodiverse Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo (we found one species, botanist Dr John Dwyer found another decades ago; and we estimate more are present in this extensive national park).
  • List of all Gonolobus species of lianas for Alta Verapaz, especially for Senahu-Chipemech-Cahabon areas.
  • List of edible species of Gonolobus fruits in forests outside San Juan Sacatepequez, in the Kaqchiquel Mayan area a few hours from Guatemala City.

PDF, and Articles on Gonolobus woody vines and fruits, especially Mesoamerica
Books that include helpful mention of Gonolobus lianas, flowers, etc.

We focus on Gonolobus of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Belize so I can predict which species we should look for in Peten and Izabal.

We focus on Gonolobus of Alta Verapaz and Sacatepéquez area since we have contact with helpful Mayan people from both these areas who already know where to find at least the more common species in each distinct area.

In recent decades we have done field work in literally every major ecosystem of 80% of the entire country (only far northeast Huehuetenango and far northeastern Peten have we not entered, in part because there are so many other places to visit, study, learn, and publish). We are obviously keen to find Gonolobus in other parts of the country but for now we focus on Peten and the Municipio de Livingston, Izabal, plus Alta Verapaz and Sacatepéquez.

  • ARELLANO Rodríguez, J. Alberto, FLORES Guido, Jose Salvador, TUN Garrido, Juan and Maria Mercedes CRUZ Bojorquez
  • 2003
  • Nomenclatura, forma de vida, uso, manejo y distribución de las especies vegetales de la Península de Yucatán. UADY. 815 pages.

    Comment: information of Gonolobus on page 53.
  • BALICK, Michael J., NEE, Michael H. and Daniel E. ATHA
  • 2000
  • Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Belize. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden.
  • CARNEVALI Fernandez-Concha, German, and William CETZAL-Ix
  • 2015
  • El género Gonolobus (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae, Gonolobinae) en la porción mexicana de la Península de Yucatán: la novedad indocumentada. Herbario CICY. Vol. 7. Pages 1-5.

    One of the best journal articles I have read in days, weeks, and months because this article is FILLED with helpful photographs.

    Covers G. barbatus, G. cteniophorus, and G. stenanthus, and G. sp. nov.

    Available Online:
  • 2009
  • Plantas comestibles de Centroamérica. Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad. Editorial- INBio. Pp. 107- 108.

    Sold Online:
  • DAVIDSE, G., et al. (editors)
  • 2009
  • Flora Mesoamericana 4(1): 1-855. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.

    If you are a botanist working in a herbarium, you would understandably prefer this modern 2009 discussion of the leaves, flowers, etc. rather than the half-century old descriptions by Standley and his team. But I have not yet found a downloadable edition of this monograph, so I use Standley and Steyermark and Standley and Williams, et al. until a downloadable edition of this UNAM, MOBOT opus is available.

    I list the Gonolobus section of this monograph under warren Douglas STEVENS.
  • FERNANDEZ-Concha, German Carnevali and William CETZAL-Ix
  • 2015
  • El género Gonolobus (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae, Gonolobinae) en la porción mexicana de la Península de Yucatán: la novedad indocumentada. Desde el Herbario CICY 7: 1–5 (08/Enero/2015). Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, A.C.

  • FORD, Anabel and Ronald NIGH
  • 2015
  • The Maya Forest Garden. Routledge. 260 pages.
  • 2013
  • A checklist of the vascular plants of the lowland savannas of Belize, Central America, Phytotaxa, vol. 101, no. 1, pp. 1-119.

    The authors are slightly different depending which version you download. The version above is from the University of Edinburgh web site:


    For the same report, but on other web sites, the authors are listed as follows:

    GOODWIN, Zoë A., HARRIS, David J., BRIDGEWATER, Samuel G. M., LOPEZ, German N., HASTON, Elspeth M., CAMERON, Iain D., MICHELAKIS, Dimitris, RATTER, James A., FURLEY, Peter A., KAY, Elma, WHITEFOORD, Caroline, SOLOMON, James and Neil STUART

    So Harris is second on this version; and last on the University web site version. Lloyd is not listed in this second version but is included in the official version.
  • IBARRA-Manríquez, Guillermo, Rendón-Sandoval, Francisco Javier, CORNEJO-Tenorio, Guadalupe and Pablo CARRILLO-Reyes
  • 2015
  • Lianas of Mexico. Botanical Sciences 93: 365-417.

    Sure would help to have a Lianas de Guatemala monograph, and a Lianas of Belize monograph and one for Honduras and El Salvador also (probably already is one for Costa Rica).
  • LUNDELL, Cyrus L.
  • 1937
  • The Vegetation of Petén. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication No. 478, 244 pages.

    We (FLAAR Mesoamerica) have dedicated three months scanning all 244 pages and then correcting, by hand, the typical scanner inability to read old fonts. This PDF will be available at no cost hopefully by May 2020).
  • LUNDELL, Cyrus L.
  • 1938
  • Plants probably utilized by the Old Empire Maya of Petén and adjacent Lowlands. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters; Vol. 24, pp: 37-56. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

    Neither the old name Vincetoxicum nor the newer (accepted) genus name Gonolobus nor the common name cuchamper(a) are listed as edible seed. Nor listed as edible fruit (nor vegetable).
  • 2009
  • Gonolobus spiranthus (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae), una nueva especie de la Vertiente del Pacífico Mexicano. Novon: A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature. Vol. 19, No. 4. Pages 479-481.

    Sold Online:
  • NELSON Sutherland, Cyril Hardy
  • 2008
  • Catálogo de las plantes vasculares de Honduras. Espermatofitas: 1-1576. SERNA/Guaymuras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • STEVENS, Warren Douglas and Olga Martha MONTIEL
  • 2002
  • A New Species of Gonolobus (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae) from Mesoamerica. Novon, Vol. 12, No. 4 (Winter, 2002), pp. 551-554. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Introduces Gonolobus taylorianus.
  • STEVENS, Warren Douglas
  • 2005
  • Fourteen New Species of Gonolobus (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae) from Mexico and Central America. Novon, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Apr., 2005), pp. 222-244. Missouri Botanical Garden Press.
  • STEVENS, Warren Douglas
  • 2009
  • 51. Gonolobus Michx. In: Davidse G., Sousa M., Knapp S. and Chiang F. Eds. Flora Mesoamericana, Vol 4, parte 1, pp. 717-731. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Missouri Botanical Garden, The Natural History Museum (London), México, D.F.

    Very helpful because it includes lots of species under their accepted name that in earlier decades were under what are now synonyms. Downside is that being a dedicated focused botanical monograph for botanists in herbaria around the world it does not include description of ethnobotanical uses, names in indigenous languages, nor all common local names in Spanish. And does not include a list of where any species has been located (fortunately the separate web site has the locations).

    But for the technical botanical description, obviously more updated and more detailed than in the era of the helpful botanical monographs of Standley, Steyermark, Williams, etc. These latter books have local names and local uses and at least in what estado of Mexico or departamento of Guatemala the plants have been found. And 100% of all the Field Museum monographs are readily available on-line at no cost.

    A benefit of Stevens being the author is that he has dedicated years to sorting out accepted names vs synonyms of Gonolobus throughout Mexico and Central America.
  • 2016
  • Checklist of the native vascular plants of Mexico Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 87: 559-902.

Suggested webpages with photos and information on Gonolobus sp.
Excellent photographs due to full illumination and large-size image. Jim Conrad puts all the pods he has photographed into the Genus Macroscepis. But so far and have all the pods still in Gonolopus. But shuffling plants between one genus and another is traditional, so nothing would surprise me.
Gonolobus barbatus Kunth.
Gonolobus cteniophorus (S. F. Blake) Woodson
Gonolobus fraternus Schltdl.
Gonolobus stenanthus (Standl.) Woodson
Gonolobus sp., not yet identified, but found in Yucatan.
Map location of G. ancorifer.
Photos and map location of G. barbatus.
Photo and comments by Sofia Monzon. The plants we have at the FLAAR Mayan Ethnobotanical Garden come from the garden of Sofia’s parents.
Species of the Accepted species of the genus Gonolobus.
This is the main SEARCH page.
Photos, information and map location of G. aristolochiifolius.
Central Chiapas, Chiapas near Guatemalan Highlands border, Boca Costa from Quetzaltenango towards southeast.
Information and map location of G. calycosus.
Chucaneb [Xucaneb], Alta Verapaz (near Coban)
Two in Departamento San Marcos (between Quetzaltenango and Chiapas border)
Information and map location of G. cteniophorus.
Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco, Peten, Izabal, Belize.
Photos, information and map location of G. edulis.
Only Costa Rica and Panama; none for Guatemala.
Information, photos and map location of G. fraternus
Tabasco, central Chiapas, Palenque, near Bonampak
Belize smack on border with Guatemala and elsewhere in Belize
Peten, but near Modesto Mendez; so this species should be in Izabal also.
La Libertad, Peten, a rather dry area
Cerro Cauhui (Cahui) (above east end of Lake Peten Itza)
Laguna Yaxja. Collection from banks of Laguna Yaxja and dry wooded hills of limestone to north and south (collected by William Harmon and John Dwyer, by coincidence while FLAAR was starting the mapping the Yaxha ruins in June 1970).
Information, photos and map location of G. incerianus. More specimens for Chiapas and Guatemala than any other species. Lots near Coban; lots in Highlands of Guatemala elsewhere (around Lake Atitlan). Also lots in Chiapas. One shown for Peten but this one map location is totally incorrect.
Information and map location of G. lanugiflorus. Only one specimen for Guatemala, far from Quetzaltenango.
Photos, information and map location of G. lasiostemma. Around Lake Atitlan area, around Antigua Guatemala, and around Guatemala City. One marked for far away Chisec but not trustworthy information for that specimen. I estimate it’s a mistake.
Photos, information and map location of G. leianthus.
Most collected of any species (even more than G. incerianus).
Several places in Alta Verapaz.
Four locations in Chiapas, so surely can be found in adjacent Peten.
More locations in Belize than other species, including near Peten border.
Three specimens from Parque Nacional Tikal
Izabal, Santo Tomas de Castilla.
Panzos, Alta Verapaz (probably not far from Rio Polochic).
5 km west of Panacache. Along upper Río Polochic. Thickets
Information and map location G. niger. In many areas of southern Chiapas, including near border of Highland Guatemala; plus once on the Guatemalan side (west of Huehuetenango).
Information and map location of G. roeanus. One lonely specimen, near Alotenango, Highland Guatemala.
Information and map location of G. salvinii. West of Quetzaltenango and north of Mazatenango. But Balick, Nee and Atha list this species for Belize (2000: 123); so why is it totally missing from
Information and map location of G. stenanthus. Northern Yucatan, northern Belize, and at Camp Six, Cayo, not far from Peten border. So this species should be findable in Peten for sure.
Photos, information and map location of G. stenosepalus. Lots of locations in central Chiapas Lots of locations in Maya Highlands of Guatemala, plus two locations in Baja Verapaz.
Photos, information and map location of G. taylorianus. Around the Highlands around Guatemala City and Antigua, Jalapa, plus one in Quiche area of the Highlands.
Photos, information and map location of G. versicolor. Chiapas, Baja Verapaz (Niño Perdido, Quebrada La Lima, 3 km. In high forest), Vicinity of Maxbal, ca. 17 mi N of Barillas, Sierra de los Cuchumatanes.


Updated May, 2021
Previous update April, 2020. First posted, December, 2017

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