Beautiful Goetzea

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Beautiful Goetzea

Goetzea elegans

ListedApril 19, 1985
FamilySolanaceae (Nightshade)
DescriptionEvergreen shrub with oblong leaves, dark shiny green above, pale green beneath.
HabitatMoist, coastal, semi-evergreen forests.
RangePuerto Rico


Beautiful goetzea, Goetzea elegans, is an evergreen shrub or small tree up to 30 ft (9.1 m) tall and with stems up to 5 in (12.7 cm) thick. The leaves are simple, alternate, and range up to 4 in (10.2 cm) long and up to 2 in (5.1 cm) wide; the upper surface is dark shiny green and the lower surface is pale green. Small, orange, funnel-shaped flowers are borne, usually singly, in the axils of leaves. The fruit is orange, nearly round and about 0.75 in (1.9 cm) in diameter. The species has been reported to flower and bear fruit from May to August. Vegetative reproduction may occur from root suckers.


The present habitat is located at the edge of a semi-evergreen seasonal forest on limestone at elevations below 656 ft (200 m).


The plant is presently found at several closely grouped sites on the northwestern part of the island in the area of Quebradillas/Isabela. Approximately 40-50 plants are known from these sites. A roadside site is owned and managed by the Commonwealth Department of Transportation and Public Works, however, other sites are on privately owned land. Historically the species is known to have occurred at four other locations: (1) one or possibly two sites in Quebradillas, (2) one site in the northern foothills of the Luquillo Mountains, (3) one site south of Canovanas, and (4) one site in the Cambalache Commonwealth Forest.


The Commonwealth-owned site alongside Road 113 is jeopardized by periodic trimming by road maintenance crews, and by the possibility of habitat destruction or modification from road straightening or widening. Other sites have the potential for being impacted by mining for fill material and/or the proposed construction of a resort development. Grazing could also become a threat in the future at the two privately owned sites, since adjacent lands are already being used as cattle pasture. The species' potential value as an ornamental plant also exposes it to the possibility of being taken for landscaping purposes.

Conservation and Recovery

Plants on privately-owned land should be protected through acquisition or easement. Protection of those individuals on Road 113 should be a cooperative effort with the Department of Transportation and Public Works. Initial efforts at propagation have been successful and should be continued in cooperation with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus.


Regional Office for Endangered Species
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30345

Boqueron Ecological Services Field Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P. O. Box 491
Boqueron, Puerto Rico 00622-0491
Telephone: (787) 851-7297
Fax: (787) 851-7440


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1985. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule to Determine Goetzea elegans (Beautiful Goetzea) as an Endangered Species." Federal Register 50(76):15564-15567.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1987. "Beautiful Goetzea Recovery Plan." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 35 pp.