Habitat: Yagrumo

Habitat: Yagrumo

Habitat, Resource Requirements 

As I see Nicole told you, yagrumo trees do not live that long. Twenty-five years is pretty old for a yagrumo. Still, I’d rather live fast and die young. My sister wants everything safe and boring, but not me.

You find yagrumo in a lot of places – the Caribbean, Central America, and northern South America. Yagrumo needs certain conditions to survive. These are called its requirements for life. 

It grows from sea level to 1,500 meters. It needs a good amount of rain (more than 160 centimeters a year) and fertile soil that has a lot of nutrients, like nitrogen. The soil drains well. But what it really needs is sunlight, sunlight, and more sunlight. The combination of the fertile soils and the high amount of sunlight produces leaves that have the right stuff (mainly protein-rich enzymes) to do great photosynthetic work. Give the yagrumo a lot of nutrients like nitrogen and a lot of sunlight and the tree becomes a master at photosynthesis. It makes energy (which is what photosynthesis does) like nobody’s business. That’s why you find the tree in open areas. 

Yagrumo is one of the most common trees in Puerto Rico. It is so common that some people consider it a weed tree (not me). Actually, it’s a pioneer tree. What that means is kind of complicated, so I’ll talk about it later on.

Here is something interesting, especially if you like bats (I do). My father told me this. You might wonder how the tree gets to different parts of the forest. It turns out that bats eat a whole lot of the yagrumo fruits. Every night they have to eat at least 11.2 grams (dry weight) to keep up their energy. 

The food doesn’t stay in the bats’ stomach very long. They usually poop it out as they fly. Cool, huh? So, the yagrumo helps feed the bats, and the bats are the most important animals to carry away yagrumo seeds. They take the seeds up to several kilometers away (by the way, birds also carry the seeds). According to botanists like my father, this is called mutualism. Two species live together, and both species benefit from the association.