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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 3/8/2013)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 3/8/2013)
Species MUNTINGIA CALABURA L.
PlaceOfPublication Sp. PI. 509. 1753.
Description Tree to ca 1.0 m tall or shrub; trunk usually slender, the bark black. Leaves alternate; stipules linear, 3-4 mm long, hirsute and glandular pubescent, usually soon caducous; petioles 2-5 mm long, densely hirsute and glandular; blades in- equilateral, 5-11.5 cm long, 1.5-3.5 cm wide, lanceolate to elliptical, firmly mem- branaceous; midrib and secondary veins densely pubescent above, densely hirsute and glandular pubescent, prominent beneath; blade surface glandular, glabrate or with scattered stellate hairs above, densely matted-pubescent and glandular be- neath; base strongly inequilateral, one side sometimes developing into an enlarged flap; apex acute to short attenuate, acute; margin serrate. Inflorescences supra- axillary, usually 1-flowered, infrequently 2-3-flowered; pedicels 1-1.8 cm long, hirsute and glandular-pubescent. Flowers ca 2 cm in diam; sepals 5, 5-7 mm long, 1.5-2 mm wide, lanceolate, long-acuminate, tawny-pubescent without, creamy- white, felty-pubescent within, caducous; petals 5, short-clawed, rhombic-ovate, creamy-white, 7-9 mm long, 5-8 mm wide, the outer margin undulate; stamens o (more than 50), 4-5 mm long, borne on an enlarged hirsute receptacle; filaments slender; anthers ca 0.5 mm long, ovoid, reddish, the anther-sacs dehiscent their full length; pistil 4-5 mm long, nearly hidden by stamens and receptacular hairs; ovary ovoid, narrowing to a very short, thick style, smooth, glabrous, usually 5-loculed with bibbed placentae hanging free from near the top of the axis in each locule and covered on all surfaces with ovules; stigma thick, conical, 5-lobate. Fruit baccate, yellow or dark red and sweet, in the specimens only to ca 8 (-10) mm in diam, surmounted by the persistent stigma, ca 5-loculed (locule walls apparently often displaced by the crowding of the mass of small seeds), the surface granulose; seeds ca 0.5 mm long, 0.33 mm in diam, ovoid, pale yellow.
Habit Tree
Note Muntingia is widely distributed in tropical America in disturbed lowland areas. The fruit is edible, but it is too small and indifferent in flavor to. have ever been considered for cultivation. The bark is reported to be stoutly fibrous and used in the manufacture of baskets.
Specimen CANAL ZONE: vic of Miraflores Locks, Stern et al. 60 (MO); Paraiso Sta., Panama R. R., Hayes 45 (MO); Cocoli Island, Miraflores Lake, P. White 304 (MO). CHIRIQUI: Vic of Puerto Armuelles, Woodson & Schery 817 (MO). COLON: vic of Camp Pifia, Allen 3674 (MO). DARIEN: vic of Pinogana, Allen 4289 (MO); Rio Sabana, King Leopold III 162 (MO).
Note While M. calabura is traditionally placed with the other genera in the Elaeocarpaceae, several characters of the plant point to this as a misalliance. Floral and fruit development and structure suggest affinities both with the Tiliaceae (from which the Elaeocarpaceae are barely separated) and the Flacourtiaceae. My examination of the herbarium material has been too cursory to suggest the true relationship of this species and I have had no opportunity to study the species in the field. Thus, reluctantly, I am including Muntingia with the Eleocarpaceae.
 
 
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