Billia [genus] (145)
B. columbiana (1,143)



Billia [genus] Peyr. HIPPOCASTANACEAE

S Mexico to trop. S Am.; 2 spp. (Willis 1973:140)


HIPPOCASTANACEAE Billia columbiana

Billia columbiana Planch. & Lindl. HIPPOCASTANACEAE

Guatemala to Ecuador, W Venezuela. Humid forests 700-2,400 m. Tree to 20 m, dense rounded crown, irreg. trunk, reddish bark. Lvs. deciduous, opp., long-stemmed, 3 lfts. turning red before they fall. Fls. large, petals to 2 cm long, white or pink becoming red, born abundantly in small pyramidal terminal panicles. Fruit ovoid to 10 cm wide, leathery, 3-celled, 1 seed per cell. Fruits sold by herb vendors in W Venezuela, highly regarded. Bitter decoction taken for stomach-ache. Decoction of powdered capsule taken to dispel menstrual pain, also to expedite expulsion of the placenta after childbirth (Morton 1981:468) In Colombia, Idrobo & Jaramillo 1954: the seed is starchy but bitter. When cooked it is similar to the European chestnut [Castanea, Fagaceae] (von Reis and Lipp 1982:167). In Venezuela, Steyermark & Fernández 1967: An infusion of dried seed is drunk by women in childbirth (von Reis and Lipp 1982:168)


HIPPOCASTANACEAE Billia hippocastanum

Billia hippocastanum Peyr. HIPPOCASTANACEAE

S Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica. Moist mixed mt. forest, 1,500-2,900 m. Tree to 15 m, glabrous. Lfts. to 20 cm long 9 cm wide, acute at tip & base, v. lustrous. Panicles dense, many-fld., sepals to 1 cm long, petals flame-red to 2 cm long, filaments long-exserted from the calyx. Fruit 4.5 cm long, dark brown, covered with long pale lenticels, seed to 3 cm diam., dark brown. Bark smooth, cream to gray, wood said to be hard. One of the handsomest of Cent. Am. trees when in bloom (Flora of Guatemala 1949:233)



Flora of Guatemala (Standley, Paul C.; Steyermark, Julian A.). 1949. Part 6: Hippocastanaceae. Chicago Natural History Museum, Chicago IL.
Morton, J. F. 1981. Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America, Bahamas to Yucatan. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield IL.
von Reis, S. and F. J. Lipp, Jr. 1982. New Plant Sources for Drugs and Foods from the New York Botanical Garden Herbarium. Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.
Willis, J. 1973. A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Ferns., 8th ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.