Canopy Family Panama

Mule's Ear Miconia
Miconia impetiolaris

Miconia impetiolaris Jerry Harrison Panama
Photo by Jerry & Linda Harrison


Mule’s-ear Miconia, or “Oreja de Mula,” is a fairly common shrub or small tree belonging to a very diverse family, the melastomataceae, or melastomes. The genus Miconia is the largest in the family, with over 150 species in Mesoamerica alone.

Miconia impetiolaris, like all members of the family, has opposite leaves, but “mule's-ear” has rather distinctive floppy leaves, hence the common name. Its flowers are small and white, and mature berries are bright red.  This species ranges from southern Mexico to Panama in a variety of habitats but is most common in the lowlands. This specimen is on Semaphore Hill near the Canopy Tower. Other similar species can be found near the Canopy Lodge.

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