List of plant species



October 2020

Download a provisional list of plant species found in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area (RBCMA), northwest Belize, and in nearby areas.

 The list includes species identified by specialists from voucher specimens, as well as species identified only in the field.  Many of the voucher identifications are old and may need updating, as taxonomic understanding improves (see Tropicos ( for updates).  The list is not intended to be complete.  In particular, non-tree growth forms are greatly underrepresented in the list.  However, the list does give a good idea of the tree flora of the RBCMA.

Cecropia peltata, guarumo

The RBCMA covers about 104,000 hectares in northwest Belize at approximately 17°45’ N and 88°55’ W.  It is in the subtropical moist life zone of the Holdridge Life Zone System (Hartshorn et al. 1984) and receives about 1500 mm of rainfall per year, with a dry season in the early part of the year.  The area ranges from about 20 to 220 m elevation, with small hills, much fairly level terrain, seasonally wet depressions, and steep escarpments cut by deep ravines.  Soils are limestone-derived.  Major vegetation types include: upland forest that varies along the topographic gradient, cohune palm (Attalea cohune) forest, riparian forest, scrub swamp forest (“bajo”), savanna, marsh, and second growth forest.  The RBCMA is managed by the Programme for Belize.

Many of the species in the list were identified at the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) and the New York Botanical Garden from specimens collected in the RBCMA by N. Brokaw and M. Schulze from October 1991 to June 1992.  For genera that have been formally identified from a specimen, yet for which there was not adequate material to determine the species, no botanical authority is indicated, but a collection number is given.  In this list some species identifications by the MBG are qualified by “cf.”, meaning that the collection appears to be the species named but the identification is not certain. 

Collection numbers with an asterisk (*) indicate specimens deposited in the herbarium at the MBG.  Introduced species are indicated by a double dagger (‡) following the species name.  Common names (Balick et al. 2000), and growth form as observed in the RBCMA, are also given in the list. 

See Trees of La Milpa: A Field Guide to Trees of La Milpa, Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, Belize for information on most of the tree species in this list (page Field guide to trees, this website).  

Contributors to this list are: Nicholas Brokaw, Mark Schulze, Charlotte Taylor, Steven Brewer, Elizabeth P. Mallory, and Peter W. Alcorn.  Brokaw compiled the list and is responsible for any errors.  Please send questions, suggestions, and corrections to

We thank the botanists at the MBG and the New York Botanical Garden who identified our specimens.  We thank Steven Brewer for recent updates on species names and working with Brokaw in the field in 2019.

Balick, M. J., M. H. Nee, and D. E. Atha.  2000.  Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Belize: With Common Names and Uses.  Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden volume 85, New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, New York.


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