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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 9/25/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 9/25/2013)
Genus CLITORIA L.
Contributor Paul R. Fantz
PlaceOfPublication Sp. P1. 753. 1753.
Note TYPE: C. ternatea L.
Synonym Neurocarpum Desv., J. Bot. Appl. 1: 119. 1813; J. Bot. Appl. 2: 75. 1814. TYPE: N. janense Desv. or N. ellipticum Desv.
Description Trees, shrubs, lianas, herbaceous vines or suffruticose herbs, erect or climb- ing; pubescence of uncinate (hooked) hairs common. Leaves trifoliate, less com- monly 5- or 7-foliolate, petiolate, terminal leaflet usually larger; leaflets entire, the midrib and nerves impressed or weakly raised above, prominently raised below, ascending, usually arcuate towards the margin, joining the vein above, the minor veins conspicuously reticulate; stipules and stipels usually persistent, sometimes caducous, striate, usually erect, appressed. Inflorescences axillary or cauliflorous, racemose; flowers chasmogamous or sometimes cleistogamous (poorly observed in Panamanian material); pedicels usually paired; bracts 2-6, striate, pubescent adaxially, the inner pair caducous, usually smallest, between the pedicels, the middle pair often persistent, concave, opposite and appressed to the pedicel, sometimes spreading or reflexed in age, the outer pair caducous to semipersistent, between the pedicels; peduncles axillary, 1-several, short, often fascicled, cauliflorous; bracteoles 2, striate, persistent, frequently present in fruit, usually pubescent adaxially. Chasmogamous flowers resupinate, showy, bi-sexual, 5-merous, blue, violet, pink, or white, sometimes white fading yellow; calyx funnelform, persistent in fruit, conspicuously nerved, the apex 5-lobed, the upper 2 lobes subconnate, the lowermost lobe narrower, often longest; standard complicate, large and flag-like, erect, emarginate, short clawed, darker towards the edges and on the veins, the wings falcate oblong, spatulate, extending beyond the keel, shorter than standard, adherent in the middle to keel, long clawed, the keel petals incurved, acute, the claw elongate; stamens 10, diadelphous, vexillary stamen free or connate at base, the staminal column incurved, glabrous, often persistent in fruit, the free filaments filiform, the anthers basifixed, uniform; ovary stipitate, linear, compressed, many ovuled, densely pubescent, the style elongate, geniculate near the tip, usually twisting, flattened, bearded lengthwise, the stigma often pubescent around the base. Fruit stipitate, linear, compressed, slightly thickened on the upper or both sutures, costate or not, the valves flat or convex, often bearing uncinate (hooked) hairs, usually beaked by the persistent style or style base, splitting spirally, twisting; seeds subglobose or subreniform, glabrous, smooth or with a sticky coat. Cleistogamous flowers uncommon, inconspicuous
Habit Trees, shrubs, lianas, herbaceous vines or suffruticose herbs
Note A complete list of generic synonyms is provided by Hutchinson (1967). Only Clitoria and Neurocarpum have been used for Panamanian material.
Description unless with fruit, petals usually lacking; the calyx infundibular, small, persistent in fruit, bracteolate, 5-lobed; stamens short, free or diadelphous, ovary similar to chasmogamous flowers but smaller, style bent abruptly back towards the base and the stigma in contact with anthers.
Distribution Clitoria is a genus of about 60 species, mostly located in the tropics with a few species in temperate zones.
Note The bulk of the genus is neotropical. Tree species are rare and all neotropical. A number of shrubs have climbing tendencies. Sev- eral liana species can exist as erect shrubs when grown in open areas. Many species are associated with sandy soil. The genus is of little economic use. Clitoria ternatea is frequently cultivated for ornament as a bushy creeper or as a trellis climber. It is often used as a forage crop for livestock which graze on the pods and leaves. In India, every part of the plant is reported used for medicinal purposes. A few other species are cultivated on a limited scale, planted as contour hedge plants to reduce erosion, to beautify roadways, or as attractive additions to gardens. A few species are used locally for bushrope, fish poisons, or placed in brews to "make a man out of you." Some species exhibit great variation in leaf size and form, pubescence, stipule or stipel size, and the size of the flower parts, and these variations often can be observed in the same population or on the same plant. The frequently minute and inconspicuous uncinate (hooked) hairs must be viewed with a 25-30x or greater magnification. They are best seen by looking along the edge of a surface or along nerves. Surfaces bearing only uncinate hairs may appear glabrous to the naked eye, e.g. leaf uppersides of C. guianensis, C. polystachya, etc. Cleistogamous flowers are common in some species but are often overlooked by collectors. Three Panamanian species are known to bear cleistogamous flowers. Two of these species, C. polystachya and C. guianensis, are poorly collected from Pan- ama. Clitoria polystachya material has deteriorated remnants of the cleistoga- mous flowers. None of the Panamanian specimens of C. guianensis bear cleis- togamous flowers. Clitoria is frequently confused with the genus Centrosema. Some members of these genera are superficially similar in appearance, but Clitoria differs from Centrosema in having funnelform rather than campanulate calyx, a spurless stan- dard, wing petals extending beyond the keel, elongate, apically bent styles beard- ed lengthwise, and in usually having a stipitate fruit often thickened only along one suture, and with only 1 prominent longitudinal nerve.
Reference Bentham, C. 1858. Synopsis of the genus Clitoria. Jour. Linn. Soc., Bot. 2: 33- 44. Croat, T. 1974. Notes on the genus Clitoria (Leguminosae) in Panama. Phytologia 29: 130-134. Howard, R. A. 1967. Notes on the cultivated woody species of Clitoria (Leguminosae). Baileya 15: 15-18.
Key a. Leaflets 5 or 7, upper surface with scattered appressed trichomes; inflorescence 1-flowered; bracteoles broadly ovate to orbicular, 5-8 mm wide; legume subsessile ...... 6. C. ternatea aa. Leaflets 3, upper surface glabrous or with only uncinate trichomes (viewed at 30x); inflo- rescence 2- to several-flowered; bracteoles lanceolate to ovate, 1-4 mm wide; legume stipitate. b. Calyx teeth 8-15 mm long; bracteoles 7-15 mm long; leaflet apex obtuse to emargin- ate; legume costate with one prominent medial nerve on each valve. c. Petiole 3-5 mm long; flowers 5-7(7.5) cm long, bluish lavender to pink; pedicels 5-9 mm long; calyx tube 15-22 mm long, 8-11 mm wide at the throat; erect suffruticose perennial ...... 3. C. guianensis cc. Petiole 25-45 mm long; flowers 4-5 cm long, white, drying yellow; pedicels 2- 4 mm long; calyx tube 11-15 mm long, 4-7 mm wide at the throat; herbaceous vine ...... 1. C. falcata bb. Calyx teeth 2-5(-6) mm long; bracteoles 3-6 mm long; leaflet apex acute to acuminate; legume ecostate. d. Flowers pink to rose, occasionally pale violet, 6-8 cm long; calyx tube 17-24 mm long, 9-12 mm wide at the throat; staminal column 43-49 mm long; stipe 20-37 mm long; legume densely pubescent; liana, rarely an erect shrub ...... 4. C. javitensis dd. Flowers white, 2.5-4 cm long; calyx tube 7-12 mm long, 5-7 mm wide at the throat; staminal column 18-21 mm long; stipe 4-12 mm long; legume glabrate; erect shrub or tree. e. Leaves glabrous beneath; peduncles subsessile, to 1 cm long; blade of keel 8-10 mm long, 4-5 mm wide; legume 11-20 cm long, valves flat; stipe 10- 14 mm long; tree 4-12 m tall ...... 2. C. glaberrima ee. Leaves conspicuously pubescent beneath; peduncles elongate, 5.5-8 cm long; blade of keel 6-8 mm long, 2-3 mm wide; legume 3.5-4.5 cm long, valves turgid; stipe 4-7 mm long; shrub 0.6-5 m tall ...... 5. C. polystachya
 
 
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