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Published In: Physiographiska Sälskapets Handlingar 1(3): 163. 1776[1780]. (Physiogr. Sälsk. Handl.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of c. 200 species, distributed in Central and S. Africa, Madagascar and Tropical Asia; introduced in New World Tropics. Represented here by 4 cultivated species.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Willis (Dict. Fl. Pl. & Ferns 8th ed. 1151. 1973) following Bremekamp (The delimitation of the Acanthaceae, Proc. Kon. Ned. Akad. v. Wetensch. Ser. C, 56: 533-546. 1943; Delimitation and Subdivision of the Acanthaceae, Bull. Bot. Surv. India 7: 21-30. 1965) and Raj (Pollen morphological studies in the Acanthaceae, Grana Palynol. 3(1): 3-108. 1961) has treated this genus under a separate family Thunbergiaceae, differing from Acanthaceae in pollen and seed morphology, unusual calyx and capsule characters. It has been included here, following traditional usages, in Acanthaceae.


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Herbaceous or shrubby, pubescent or glabrous climbers, rarely erect. Leaves petiolate, simple, opposite, ovate to lanceolate, cordate or hastate, acute to acuminate. Flowers pedicellate, mostly large and showy, blue, yellow, or white, solitary-axillary or in terminal racemes; bracts 2, large, foliaceous, ovate or lanceolate; bracteoles 2, spathe-like, enveloping calyx, mostly persistent. Calyx cup-like, with 10-16 subulate teeth or reduced to a rim. Corolla infundibuliform, tube incurved or oblique, widened above, limb patent, 5-lobed, lobes subequal, obtuse or truncate, contorted in bud. Stamens 4, all fertile, didynamous, inserted near the base of corolla tube; anthers bithecous, thecae oblong or ovoid, parallel, ± unequal, connective apiculate, pollen spheroidal, spirotreme. Ovary fleshy, globose, bilocular, each locule with 2 collateral ovules; style long, stout; stigma bifid, entire or fringed; Disc shortly annular or pulvinate. Capsule globose below, abruptly beaked in upper part, 4-seeded, loculicidally dehiscent. Seeds semiglobose to ovoid, glabrous, funicle papilla-like, retinacula absent.

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1 Flowers solitary, axillary or paired (2)
+ Flowers in terminal or axillary drooping racemes (3)
2 (1) Flowers purple blue to dark blue. Anthers with a spur at the base 1 Thunbergia erecta
+ Flowers white. Anthem without a spur at the base 2 Thunbergia fragrans
3 (1) Twigs glabrous. Flowers 2.5-3 cm long, scarlet-red with orange yellow centre
+ Twigs strigose. Flowers 6-8 cm long, blue or violet 3 Thunbergia grandiflora
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