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Plant Profile

Beautiful Goetzea (Goetzea elegans)

Beautiful goetzea is an evergreen shrub or small tree that can grow to 9 meters (30 feet) in height. Photo Credit: Lippincott
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • State: PR
  • Nature Serve ID: 152779
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 03/14/1986

Beautiful trumpet shaped orange flowers are the crowning glory of Goetzea elegans, an evergreen shrubby tree that can grow up to 9 meters in height (USFWS 1990). Until recently, flowers had not been observed on any plants of this species since 1936 (USFWS 1984). This species is only found in the semi-evergreen forests in northern Puerto Rico (USFWS 1985). It was first collected in 1827 by Heinrich Wylder and named in honor of the German theologian J.E. Goetze (USFWS 1985). Today, fewer than fifty individuals remain (USFWS 1986).

Where is Beautiful Goetzea (Goetzea elegans) located in the wild?


Goetzea elegans grows in the limestone forest of northern Puerto Rico at elevations below 200 meters (USFWS 1986). The original collected individual was found growing along a hedge consisting of mostly bromeliads (USFWS 1985).


Goetzea elegans is endemic to the semi-evergreen forests of northern Puerto Rico.

States & Provinces:

Beautiful Goetzea can be found in Puerto Rico

Which CPC Partners conserve Beautiful Goetzea (Goetzea elegans)?

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

3 small EOs, all threatened by development, less than 50 shrubs remain.

  • 01/01/2010

Deforestation was the primary historical threat, however, general habitat degradation, grazing and urbanization continue to be of concern to the species survival. Routine road maintenance causes a serious disturbance and results in stunted growth and a re

  • 01/01/2010

The three remaining sites support less than 50 individuals (USFWS 1986).

  • 01/01/2010

Propagation efforts at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus have been successful (USFWS 1990). Duane Kolterman at the University of Puerto Rico has proposed studying this species. (Kolterman 1989)

  • 01/01/2010

Goetzea elegans was listed as endangered in June of 1984 (USFWS).

  • 01/01/2010

Individuals on private land and road sides need to be protected. Research needs include understanding habitat requirements, reproductive biology and ecology.


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Taxon Goetzea elegans
Authority Wydler
Family Solanaceae
CPC Number 2041
ITIS 30645
Common Names beautiful goetzea | Mata Buey | matabuey
Associated Scientific Names Ilex hexandra | Ilex exandra | Goetzea elegans
Distribution Goetzea elegans is endemic to the semi-evergreen forests of northern Puerto Rico.
State Rank
State State Rank
Puerto Rico S1
Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Honey bees Apis melliflora Confirmed Pollinator Link
Honey bees European honey bees Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Confirmed Pollinator Link
Bananaquit Common Bananquit Confirmed Pollinator Link

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