help identifying caribbean tree

Bruce M. Marshall bmm1 at
Wed Jun 15 15:07:54 EST 1994

I have been collecting caribbean plants for about 10 years. I have a
few that I have not been able to identify. There is one in particular
I would love to find out what is. It is not in any of the books I have
and the common name on the island it came from doesn't show up in a
synopsis of Puerto Rican plants that I have although most plants from
that area do.
The common name is "bat tree". It has finger size catkins in it and at
dusk bats swarm to these trees and land on the clusters of catkins. It
has never been clear to me if the bats are eating some plant material
or some insect attracted to the plant, but that's not important. They
are not common but you will encounter them occasionly on the windward
side of St. John USVI. The leaf shape and overall structure of the
tree is much like a papaya starting with a single trunk and only
branching in trees of about 10 to 15 feet. .  The leaves are attached
to the trunk by a 10 inch stem , also like the papaya.The leaves are 7
lobed but not quite as deeply as the papaya. Close examination of the
leaves ends the papaya analogy. The leaves are hairy both on top and
bottom and nearly white on the onder side. Any ideas? I could scan a
leaf on a flatbead scanner and fax it if it would help. If you can
figer this one out I have others.

Thanks in advance.

Bruce M. Marshall  bmm1 at  voice 615 481 0990  fax 615 481 8039

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