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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 11/12/2012)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 11/12/2012)
Genus PERSEA Miller
Description Evergreen trees (in Panama). Leaves alternate or subverticillate, the blades penninerved. Inflorescence usually of numerous axillary or subterminal panicles, frequently subsessile (in Panama), pubescent, with persistent or deciduous bracts, often many-flowered. Flowers perfect, usually fairly conspicuous, sessile or pedunculate. Perianth-tube none, or so shallow as to appear lacking. Perianth- lobes often spreading, frequently conspicuously unequal, pubescent, usually per- sistent.' Stamens of all three series fertile (in Panama), with pubescent filaments; anthers 4-celled (in Panama), the cells in 2 planes, the bases of the 2 upper cells laterally tangential to the apices of the 2 lower cells; cells of the two outer series introrse, the filaments long and sometimes pubescent; those of the inner series extrorse or the 2 upper cells may be lateral and the 2 lower extrorse, with the fila- ments distinctly biglandular. Staminodia usually large, conspicuous, subcordate and pubescent, with the stipes of varying length, or occasionally ligulate. Ovary subglobose or ovoid, pubescent or glabrous, sometimes constricted at the base or slightly stipitate. Style usually filiform, usually longer than the ovary, and oc- casionally pubescent. Stigma inconspicuous, discoid or conspicuous and triangu- larly peltate. Fruit small, globose or large, fleshy, pear-shaped, edible, usually glabrous, entirely or almost entirely exserted at maturity, and subtended by per- sistent or occasionally deciduous perianth-lobes.
Note The genus consists of approximately 145 species. The largest number is native to South America (70), with the heaviest concentration in Brazil. Twenty-two species occur in Mexico and Central America. Of these, five at the most are common to both regions. Thirteen are to be found in the West Indies and eight in the United States. Twenty Asiatic species are known with ten from Malaysia and one each from Australia and the Mascarenes. Two species are reported from the Azores and Canary Islands, but these perhaps should not be included in the genus. Except for the Avocado, the genus is unimportant commercially.
Key a. Leaf-blades coriaceous, 10-30 X (3-) 10-15 (-20) cm., elliptic,irreg- ularly or obovate-elliptic, ovate, or obovate. b. Blades irregularly or obovate-elliptic, ovate or obovate, coriaceous, 15 (-20) cm. broad, pubescent to glabrous or glaucous beneath; petioles 1.5-5 cm. long; panicles usually numerous in axils of per- sistent upper leaves; ovary pubescent; large edible fruit. c. Branchlets yellow-tomentellous becoming glabrous or subglabrous; blades variable, usually elliptic, lower surface subglaucous, usually up to 20 cm. broad, acuminate; floral bracts deciduous; fruit variable .......-........-.-... 1. P. AMERICANA cc. Branchlets and lower surface of leaf-blades densely brown-tomen- tose; blades 10-15 cm. broad, obtuse or abruptly acuminate; floral bracts persistent; fruit obovoid ..................... -.... ... 2. P. SCHIEDEANA bb. Blades always elliptic, rigidly coriaceous, usually not more than 7-8 cm. broad, occasionally 12 cm., glabrous; petioles not more than 1.5 cm. long; numerous panicles in axils -of deciduous upper leaves; ovary glabrous ........-.-........ 3. P. RIGENS aa. Leaf-blades pergamentaceous or chartaceous, up to 17 X 7.5 cm., always elliptic. b. Outer perianth-lobes small and scale-like, approximately one-fourth the length of the inner; fruit shining, 7 mm. in diameter - ..... . 4. P. SKUTCH11 bb. Outer perianth-lobes more than one-half the length of the inner; fruit with bluish bloom, 10-11 cm. in diameter -..- .... 5. P. VERAGUASENSIS
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