Natural history and harvest of the bark of “quina amarilla” Hintonia latiflora (Rubiaceae)
Hintonia latiflora (Sessé & Moc. ex DC.) Bullock, the “quina amarilla”, is an American tree of the tropical deciduous
forest which is valuable because its bark has medicinal properties. The main area supplying the commercial quina amarilla is the northern of Guerrero state, Mexico. This contribution reports bibliographic information pertaining to the natural history and harvesting in its whole distribution area. Also, it includes field data on the habitat, density, phenology, dispersal, architecture, harvest intensity, and commercialization in some populations from the upper Rio Balsas Basin. The results shows biophysical factors that are important for growth, establishment, and survival of the species. Phenology consists of flowering in spring-summer, foliation in summer, fruiting in late summer, and dispersal in winter. The dispersal is anemocorous and barocorous. Tree architecture is related to environmental factors and to bark harvesting. Density and availability of the species changes with site characteristics and the intensity of the harvesting. The commercialization involves three actors: gatherers, local middlemen, and regional traders. The historical prices of the bark to the consumers have increased, but considering inflation, really have decreased. The major threat to the populations of H. latiflora is harvesting intensity and careless practice of harvesting.
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