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Published In: Memoire sur la Famille des Rhamnees 61–62, pl. 4, f. 3. 1826. (Jul 1826) (Mém. Fam. Rhamnées) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/3/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2009)


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Colubrina Rich. ex Brongn., nom. cons.
Trees or shrubs, usually erect (scandent in C. asiatica (L.) Brongn.), plants unarmed or armed with thorns from leaf axils, bud scales v present or absent. Leaves alternate, opposite or sub-opposite, or fasciculate at short shoots, petiolate, venation pinnate (Mesoamerica), sometimes with most proximal pair of lateral veins originating with midrib at junction of petiole and blade, but these not, or little stronger than more distal lateral veins, and not as strong as midrib), with or without glands at junction of leaf and petiole, margins entire or toothed, if entire sometimes with glands along entire margin or sometimes arranged in lines more or less parallel and internal to leaf margin (or less commonly glands few and scattered) or if toothed, each tooth with a gland, on or near apex; stipules present, usually caducous, un-lobed. Inflorescences axillary, of few to numerous-flowered compound cymes, the cymes sometimes fasciculate or arranged in short thyrses, sessile or short-pedunculate, with or without persistent bracteoles, branches sometimes racemiform, or inflorescences fascicles of short-shoots, the short-shoots covered with persistent over-lapping bracteoles, each subtending a pedicellate flower, pedicels elongating as flowers and fruits mature. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous. Hypanthium patelliform to hemispheric, adhering to the base of ovary. Sepals triangular, valvate in bud, adaxially keeled, abscising along rim of hypanthium. Petals usually smaller or equal to sepals in length, strongly concave, short-clawed, apically rounded, white, greenish-white, or yellow-green, enfolding the stamens, deciduous. Stamens opposite petals, slightly longer than petals at maturity, filaments linear, adnate to base of petals; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Disk marginally adnate to hypanthium and broadly annular nearly filling mouth of hypanthium excluding small central annulus or narrower and forming an open ring, epigynous, fleshy, nectiferous, usually glabrous, often slightly crenate but without distinct lobes of staminode origin. Ovary in flower inferior to semi-superior, 3-locular, style 3-fid, branches separating and extending after anther dehiscence, stigmas 3, small. Fruit a dry capsule with three zones seen pre-dehiscence: at base the hypanthium, concealing the basal 1/10—1/2 of fruit, now flat to shallowly cupular, the apical margin of which is marked by scars from fallen perianth and fused to and dehiscing with ovary apically and irregularly separating from basal portion which is retained on pedicel post-dehiscence, immediately above scars is the disc, sometimes drying with different texture or color than ovary, now a relatively narrow ring which is fused to and dehisces with the ovary, and above the disc the ovary which is now ½--9/10 superior to hypanthium, fruit including hypanthium and disc obovoid to nearly globose with 3 barely discernable lobes and 3 and sometimes eventually 6 sulcations, the epicarp and mesocarp relatively thin and dry, leathery to brittle, adhering to endocarp and at dehiscence dividing with it or breaking irregularly and the endocarp crustaceous to cartilaginous, dividing at maturity into 3 endocarpids. Endocarpids dehiscing along the ventral line, the 2 septums, and to various degrees dorsally, the base of septum sometimes retained on flattened hypanthium, forming a columnella with flaring basal membranaceous wings, seeds one per endocarpid, broadly obovoid, brown or black, sometimes with retained aril (funicle) or at times with aril retained on columnella.

Género con ca 32 especies, North American and pantropical; 7 especies en Nicaragua.


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1. Leaves toothed.
 2. Leaves regularly serrate with (4) 6 or 7 teeth/cm, narrowly deltoid or peg-like glands on the apical margin of each tooth, adaxial surface of leaf glabrous (or midrib tomentose); branches of inflorescence conspicuously swelling after anthesis; mature fruit ca. 12 mm long… C. celtidifolia
 2. Leaves regularly crenate with 0.5—2 (3) teeth/cm or irregularly toothed and 2—3 cm between teeth, circular or obovoid glands on abaxial surface of leaf near but not on apical margin of each tooth, adaxial surface with straight, appressed and ascending hairs; branches of inflorescence not swelling after anthesis; mature fruit 5—7 mm long….C. triflora
1. Leaves with entire margins
 3. Leaf margins without glands, glands on actual abaxial leaf surface flat and circular or the most proximal flat and elliptical, (1) 2—12 (--19) per side near and more or less in a line parallel to margin (often with additional glands nearer to mid-rib).
   4. Leaves alternate, leaf bases not re-curved on to abaxial surface and with no swellings on adaxial surface; pedicels in fruit (4) 5—12 x 0.4—0.75 mm; deciduous or semi-evergreen forest, often cultivated … C. arborescens
  4. Leaves opposite to sub-opposite, leaf bases often re-curved on to abaxial surface, often with corresponding swollen area on adaxial surface; pedicles in fruit 2—4 x 0.75—1.25 mm; moist, wet or very wet forest …C. glandulosa var. glandulosa
 3. Leaves with glands elliptical and raised with axis along leaf margin or globose or frequently fungoid (raised circular outline with center depressed) attached basally to abaxial leaf surface and by part of circumference tangentially to leaf margin, (0) 1—3 per side, (otherwise without glands on actual surface).
  5. Leaf blades 10—27.5 x 4.5—12.5 cm with glands globose or frequently fungoid attached basally to abaxial leaf surface and along part of circumference tangentially to leaf margin, 1 per side, 0—3 mm from junction of blade and petiole, often with corresponding swollen area on adaxial surface; the inflorescence a fascicle of short-shoots, the short shoots often elongated with numerous nodes and over-lapping bracts; mature fruit 8—12 mm…C. spinosa
  5. Leaf blades 2.8—12.7 x 1.8—6.2 cm with glands elliptical and raised with axis along leaf margin, (0) 1—3 per side, the proximal 0—4 (--25) mm from junction of blade and petiole; theinflorescence cymose or a fascicle of short-shoots, the short-shoots with few nodes concealed by over-lapping bracts; mature fruit 5.5—9 mm.
   6. Plants without thorns; inflorescence a cyme with a peduncle 0.5—4 (10) mm; leaf blades lanceolate, elliptic or wide elliptic (rarely oblanceolate), 6—9 (10) pairs of lateral veins, 0—3 marginal glands per side, often 1 at junction of blade and petiole; flowers at anthesis with disc nearly filling mouth of hypanthium, ovary hidden; columnella absent … C. elliptica
   6.  Plants usually with axillary thorns; inflorescence a fascicle of short shoots, peduncle absent; leaf blades obovate, less frequently elliptic, 4—6 (7) pairs of lateral veins, 1 marginal gland per side, never at junction of blade and petiole; flowers at anthesis with disc as a ring not hiding ovary; columnella with 3-wings present after fruit falls away.…C. heteroneura
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