Schoepfia Arenaria

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Schoepfia arenaria

No Common Name

ListedApril 19, 1991
FamilyOlacaceae (Olax)
DescriptionEvergreen shrub with alternate leaves and tubular, white flowers.
HabitatLimestone hills.
ThreatsUrban development, quarrying.
RangePuerto Rico


Schoepfia arenaria is an evergreen shrub or small tree up to 20 ft (6.1 m) tall with several trunks from base reaching 4 in (10.2 cm) in diameter. The leaves are simple, alternate, without stipules, and with petioles 0.1 in (0.25 cm) long; the upper surface is green and the lower surface is light green. The wood is light brown and hard.

S. arenaria has been observed with flowers mainly in spring and fall, and with fruits in summer and winter. Usually two or three light yellow tubular-shaped flowers are borne on the end of the stalk at the leaf bases. The fruit is elliptic, one-seeded, shiny red, and 0.5 in (1.27 cm) diameter. Many seedlings have been observed under mature trees, and plants of all size classes have been seen.


S. arenaria is found in low elevation evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of the limestone hills of northern Puerto Rico at elevations which vary from 492.1-1148.2 ft (150-350 m). In general, the limestone hills where this species is found are densely wooded areas, which support a rich assortment of shrubs and trees.


S. arenaria is known from four locations: Isabela, Pinones, Fajardo, and Rio Abajo Commonwealth Forest. In the Isabela area, approximately 100 individuals of all size classes are known from the wooded upper slopes of the hills to the west of the mouth of the Guajataca Gorge. In Pinones, about 30 mature plants and numerous saplings and seedlings are known from Punta Maldonado. In Fajardo, approximately 50 individuals were estimated; however, 12 are found on one limestone hill at El Convento, Fajardo. In the Rio Abajo Forest, one individual was found in 1985 at "cuesta de los perros". Historically, the species was distributed throughout the limestone hills and coastal forests of northern Puerto Rico.


Among the factors which have historically limited the distribution of this species are deforestation and destruction of limestone hills for agriculture, grazing, and more recently for urban, industrial and tourist developments, and associated roads and services facilities. These hills were also destroyed to provide construction materials.

Conservation and Recovery

Private developers in Isabela are currently in the process of donating some areas where S. arenaria and other rare, threatened, and endangered species are present to the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources. Ongoing conservation/recovery efforts also include propagation experiments by local the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campos and off-island at Fairchild Tropical Garden nurseries.


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

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


Ewel, J. S. and J. L. Whitmore. 1973. "Ecological Life Zones of Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands." U. S. D. A. Forest Serv. Res. Paper ITF-18. 72 pp.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1991. "Determination of Threatened Status for the Plant Schoepfia arenaria." Federal Register 56(76): 16021-16024.

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. " Schoepfia arenaria Recovery Plan." U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 26 pp.

Woodbury, R. O. 1976. "The Vegetation of Lake Tortuguero Mimeo." Environmental Quality Board. 80 pp.