Definition of cecropia in US English:



  • 1A fast-growing tropical American tree, typically among the first to colonize a cleared area. Many cecropias have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

    Genus Cecropia, family Cecropiaceae

    • ‘Another tree species on Saint Lucia is bois canon, or cecropia, whose large, palm-like leaves decay very slowly when they fall to the ground.’
    • ‘Carmen made us pause in our conversation to look at the moon, a perfect orange lantern cradled in the arms of a cecropia tree.’
  • 2A very large North American silkworm moth with boldly marked reddish-brown wings. The caterpillars feed on a variety of forest trees.

    Hyalophora cecropia, family Saturniidae

    • ‘The initial discovery was an MLE present in 1000 or more copies in the genome of the silk moth Hyalophora cecropia, which was only distantly related to those we had been studying in Drosophila.’
    • ‘Included among these are the cecropins, a family of peptides typically 33-39 amino acids in length first isolated from the silk moth, Hyalophora cecropia.’
    • ‘Genomic clones Staphylinid.18.3 and Staphylinid.18.1 served as the starting material for the cecropia subfamily 5’ and 3’ ITRs.’
    • ‘The strategy is a bit like that of northern cecropia moth pupae, which do not stir unless previously chilled for a sufficiently long time.’
    • ‘The cecropia moth, for example, produces a peptide that attacks many kinds of bacteria.’


Early 19th century: modern Latin, from the name Cecrops, a king of Attica.