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Plant Profile

Nigua (Cornutia obovata)

This is a closeup of the large leaf of the Palo de Nigua. Photo Credit: Meghan Fellows
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Verbenaceae
  • State: PR
  • Nature Serve ID: 129262
  • Lifeform: Tree, Shrub
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

Cornutia obovata, an evergreen tree that can reach 30 meters in height, grows in the limestone hills and lower montane forests of northwestern and central Puerto Rico. Its purplish flowers grow in clusters at the end of branch stems. Only seven individuals are known to exist; two of which are on private land. This species inherent rarity, coupled with the effects of deforestation, are the main threats to its existence. Other endangered species that share the same forest type with Cornutia obovata are: Epicrates inornatus (the Puerto Rican Boa), Banara vanderbiltii, Ottoschulzia rhodoxylon, Polygala cowelii and Zanthoxylum thomasianum. Cornutia obovata was listed as endangered in April of 1988.

Where is Nigua (Cornutia obovata) located in the wild?


Cornutia obovata can be found growing on dry serpentine based and moist limestone based soils.


Cornutia obovata is known from two forest sites in northwestern and central Puerto Rico.

States & Provinces:

Nigua can be found in Puerto Rico

Which CPC Partners conserve Nigua (Cornutia obovata)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Rare and local in central mountains of Puerto Rico. Discovered in 1885 on Monte Torrecillo near Barranquitas and 2 trees found there afterwards by Woodbury. Rediscoverd in 1938 at R?o Abajo Forest and near San Sebasti?n. One tree was found in Guajataca Forest in 1940 and later years. Found in moist limestone and Cordillera forests at 1000-3000 ft alt.

  • 01/01/2010
  • Propagation Research

Fairchild Tropical Gardens is currently propagating Cornutia obovata.

  • 01/01/2010

There is no formalized management plan.

  • 01/01/2010

Understanding Cornutia obovata reproductive biology and protecting its remaining habitat will aid in conservation efforts.

  • 01/01/2010

Threats include inherent rarity and habitat destruction (USFWS 1987).

  • 01/01/2010

Seven individuals are known (USFWS 1987).


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Taxon Cornutia obovata
Authority Urban
Family Verbenaceae
CPC Number 1072
ITIS 32234
Duration Perennial
Common Names Nigua | Palo de Nigua | Puerto Rico manjack | capá jigüerilla
Associated Scientific Names Varronia rupicola | Cornutia obovata
Distribution Cornutia obovata is known from two forest sites in northwestern and central Puerto Rico.
State Rank
State State Rank
Puerto Rico S1
Ecological Relationships


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