When time and funding permit, each flower (each plant species) will have its own page, and its own PDF, and eventually its own PPT so that professors and students have plenty of material on Guatemala (and Honduras, etc) to study.

Heliconia adflexa, Coban, Guatemala, Hotel Monja Blanca, FLAAR, by Nicholas Hellmuth

This space is for flowers
we have recently found and photographed.

Reports by FLAAR Mesoamerica
on Flora & Fauna of Parque Nacional Yaxha Nakum Naranjo
Peten, Guatemala, Central America

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Bibliography on Lacmellea standleyi, lechemiel

Genera description

Lacmellea standleyi (Apocynaceae) is commonly called as palo de vaca, lechemiel, milk tree, prickly vaca or vaca tree. It can grow between 5-12 meters high; has logs usually with stringers; twigs flattened when young, cylindrical with age, glabrous. Leaves with petioles 6-10 mm, glabrous or glabrescent. Inflorescences with 4-10 flowers, glabrous or glabrescent. Flowers with calyx lobes 1.5-2 × 2.5-3 mm, rounded, glabrous, sometimes diminutively ciliate; corolla white to creamy-white. The fruit is a green berry rounded (2-2.5 cm of diameter), when mature it turns into a dark yellow color with soft pulp of sweet flavor (Missouri Botanical Garden & Tropical Plants Database).


The fruits are edible and a latex is obtained from incisions in the stems which is drinkable. In addition, the research “Bioprospecting of Lacmellea standleyi fruits (lechemiel)” (listed in this bibliography) confirm that the fruit has antioxidant capacity and a high nutrient content, suggesting a promising future in the pharmaceutical industry.


Lacmellea standleyi, leche miel, photographed in Tapon Creek, Livingston with an iPhone 12 Pro.

PDF, Articles, Books on Lacmellea standleyi

  • MEERMAN, Jan C., HOWE, Augustin, CHOCO, Steven, ACK, Adriano, CHOC, Elam, KOK, Santos and Alberto MUKU
  • 2006
  • Rapid Ecological Assessment. Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary. Belize Tropical Forest Studies. 86 pages.

    Free download:
  • MONACHINO, Joseph
  • 1944
  • A revision of Lacmellea and the transfer of Zschokkea (Apocynaceae). Lloydia 7: 275-302
  • MORALES, Francisco J.
  • 1998
  • Sinopsis del Género Lacmellea (Apocynaceae) en Mesoamérica, con una Nueva Especie de Costa Rica. Novon Vol. 8, No. 3 (Autumn, 1998), pp. 259-262

    Note: The document provides taxonomic keys to identify L. standleyi and indicate that is found in Izabal, Guatemala.

    Available online:
  • MORALES, Francisco J.
  • 2009
  • Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XXXIX: revisión de las Apocynoideae y Rauvolfioideae de Honduras. Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, vol. 66, núm. 2, pp. 217-262 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas Madrid, España.

    Includes Lacmellea genus and L. standleyi information

    Free download:
  • SOTO-Chavarro, Erika Lorena, CHICUÉ, Adriana María, MURILLO-Perea and John Jairo MÉNDEZ-Artega
  • 2013
  • Bioprospecting of Lacmellea standleyi fruits (lechemiel). Rev Cubana Plant Med vol.18 no.3 Ciudad de la Habana jul.-set.

    the results show that green fruits are suppliers of antioxidant compounds. Higher levels of nutrients are found in the intermediate state and mature fruit has attractive organoleptic properties and a relatively high nutrient content.

    Free download:
  • SOTO-Chavarro, Erika Lorena
  • 2009
  • Potencial antioxidante, valor nutricional y actividad biológica de los frutos de Lechemiel (Lacmellea standleyi Woodson) en tres estadios de maduración. Universidad de Tolima, Facultad de Ciencias.

    Full-text not available.
  • STANDLEY, Paul C.
  • 1924
  • Trees and Shrubs of Mexico, Contributions from the United States National Herbarium, Volume 23, Part 4, pp. 849-1312.

    Free download.
  • STANDLEY, Paul C. and Samuel J. RECORD
  • 1936
  • The Forests and Flora of British Honduras. Field Museum of Natural History. Publication 350, Botanical Series Volume XII. 432 pages plus photographs.
  • STANDLEY, Paul C. and Louis O. WILLIAMS
  • 1969
  • Flora of Guatemala. Fieldiana: Botany, Volume 24, Part VIII, Number 4. Chicago Natural History Museum. Pages 263-474.

    Free download.
  • THOMPSON, Kim. M.
  • 2013
  • Biodiversity in Forests of the Ancient Maya Lowlands and Genetic Variation in a Dominant Tree, Manilkara zapota (Sapotaceae): Ecological and Anthropogenic Implications. PhD dissertation, Biological sciences, University of Cinncinnati.
  • WILLIAMS, Louis O.
  • 1981
  • Foods for Early Man. Ceiba. Revista CEIBA; Vol. 24 N. 1-2 36 pages.

    Lacmellea standleyi (Woodson) Monachino, l. c. 285. Palo de vaca, vaca tree, prickly vaca. Known only from Guatemala and Belize where the abundant latex is said to be drunk. The fruit, with the odor of mango, may be eaten. (Williams 1981: 31).

    This 1981 article is a summary of his previous decades writing botanical descriptions co-authored with Paul C. Standley. So the text is identical but all edible plants are in one single 36-page report.

    Free download:


Suggested web pages
with photos and information on Lacmellea standleyi

Lacmellea species list and its range distribution

Herbarium photos and references

Gerenal description and map distribution

Native range goes from Belize to Honduras

Accepted synonym provided by The Plant List: Zchokkea standleyi Woodson




First posted September, 2021
Bibliography prepared by Vivian Hurtado, FLAAR Mesoamerica


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