Cobana Negra / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Cobana Negra (Stahlia monosperma)

The compound leaves of cobana negra have six to twelve leaflets each. Photo Credit: Meghan Fellows
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • State: PR
  • Nature Serve ID: 150499
  • Lifeform: Tree
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/09/1992

Stahlia monosperma is a medium-sized evergreen tree endemic to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola (USFWS 1996). This tree can grow up to 50 feet in height and can be found in seasonally flooded wetlands in association with mangrove communities (USFWS 1996). Cobana negra produces an abundance of clustered-yellow flowers that give way to fleshy red fruits that smell like ripe apples (USFWS 1996). Possible native seed dispersers include fruit-eating bats and land crabs that may take fruit into their burrows (USFWS 1996).

Where is Cobana Negra (Stahlia monosperma) located in the wild?


S. monosperma grows in brackish, seasonally flooded wetlands in association with mangrove communities (USFWS 1996). They are usually found close to black mangrove but are restricted to drier, elevated microsites that are absent of mangrove species (USFWS 1996).


Scattered populations can be found in Puerto Rico, Vieques and the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic (USFWS 1996).

States & Provinces:

Cobana Negra can be found in Puerto Rico

Which CPC Partners conserve Cobana Negra (Stahlia monosperma)?

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

Formerly known only from Puerto Rico and Vieques but in recent years found also in eastern Dominican Republic near Macao. Generally found in low areas and near mangrove in the dry-coastal region of Puerto Rico east to Ceiba.

  • 01/01/2010

Coastal development is the greatest threat. Lands surrounding the mangrove areas have been converted to ranches subjecting some remaining S. monosperma populations to cattle grazing (USFWS 1996). S. monosperma was previously harvested for fence posts whi

  • 01/01/2010

The largest population (55 individuals) is known from southwestern Puerto Rico, about 50 individuals were found in vieques and several in Rio Grande (USFWS 1996). The current status of these populations is, however, unknown.

  • 01/01/2010

Brian Dunphy, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia, studied the genetic diversity of this species using allozymes. No genetic diversity was found at any of the 24 studied loci. Biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, point to the fact that the species has been nearly eliminated from Puerto Rico. Restoration has been carried out, but the seeds used for this may have come from only a few trees, accentuating a genetic bottleneck and reduced genetic variation in this species. A genomic library was constructed for this species in the spring of 1999, but was never screened for microsatellite loci. (Dunphy Pers. Comm. 2002)

  • 01/01/2010

The Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources is successfully propagating and planting this species (USFWS 1990).

  • 01/01/2010

Cattle exclosures would greatly aid in conservation efforts, because S. monosperma reproduces successfully when protected from grazing (USFWS 1996). Other management needs include protecting remaining habitat sites, enforcing endangered species regulations and monitoring populations (USFWS 1996). Research needs include refining propagation methods, enhance existing populations and establish new ones, study reproductive biology and ecology, identification of pollinators and seed dispersers, germination and seedling requirements, seedling recruitment and population genetics (USFWS 1996).

  • 01/01/2010

Location of all known trees, and incorporation of new genetic material into conservation and restoration efforts may be beneficial.


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Taxon Stahlia monosperma
Authority (Tul.) Urban
Family Fabaceae
CPC Number 4087
ITIS 195919
Duration Perennial
Common Names Cobana Negra
Associated Scientific Names Stahlia monosperma | Stahlia maritima | Caesalpinia monosperma | Stahlia maritima
Distribution Scattered populations can be found in Puerto Rico, Vieques and the eastern portion of the Dominican Republic (USFWS 1996).
State Rank
State State Rank
Puerto Rico S2
Ecological Relationships


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