Cercropia is perhaps the most abundant tree of Amazonia. There are several species, similar in appearance and ecology. This tree quickly colonizes sand banks and river edges where it grows in abundant stands. These cercropia forests are a good place to spot sloths which like to eat the toxin-free leaves. Rather than phytotoxins (poisonous plant compounds), the plant is protected by vicious stinging ants (Azteca sp.) that live within the hollow stems.