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Published In: Flora Peruviana, et Chilensis 3: 2–3. 1802. (Fl. Peruv.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/8/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 8/16/2017)

Cosmibuena Ruiz & Pav. includes four species of succulent, terrestrial or usually epiphytic shrubs and small trees distributed rather widely in the mainland New World tropics. Cosmibuena plants are found in wet tropical forests, from low to high elevations, including in mangrove stands. The genus can be recognized by its combination of well developed, oblanceolate to obovate stipules that are shortly united around the stem and held erect and flattened together in bud, its succulent leaves with the secondary venation usually not visible, its rather large salverform corollas with long tubes, and its cylindrical woody capsules that contain numerous flat papery seeds with winged and sometimes shortly fringed margins. The fragrant white flowers are nocturnal and apparently last for only one night. The corollas turn yellow the next morning and fall off during that day. The flowers are homostylous. The seeds are apparently wind-dispersed. The corolla lobes are convoluted in bud in C. valerioi, but imbricated with three lobes external in the other three species. Cosmibuena valerioi resembles Hillia in this arrangement of the corolla lobes in bud and in its solitary rather than cymose flowers but resembles Cosmibuena in its stipules and seeds, thus this species is problematic in taxonomic placement. This genus belongs to the tribe Hillieae.

Species of Cosmibuena can be confused with those of Hillia Jacq.; however Hillia differs in its interpetiolar stipules (i.e., separate rather than united around the stem) and its seeds with a tuft of silky filaments 1-3 cm long attached at the apical end. Cosmibuena was monographed by Taylor (1992). Based on a detailed morphological analysis, Andersson (1995) included Cosmibuena in an expanded tribe Hillieae, and subsequent molecular work has supported this classification and the inclusion of C. valerioi in this genus (Bremer & Eriksson 2009).

Author: C.M. Taylor. The content of this web page was last revised on 3 December 2010.
Taylor web page: http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/Research/curators/taylor.shtml


Neotropics: Wet lowland and mangrove forests to montane forests, southern Mexico to Bolivia.



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Glabrous succulent trees or shrubs, sometimes epiphytic, unarmed. Leaves opposite, drying thickly coriaceous, venation usually not visible; stipules interpetiolar, oblanceolate to obovate, in bud erect and flatly appressed, caducous. Inflorescences terminal, pedunculate to subsessile, umbelliform or corymbiform and few-flowered or with flowers solitary, ebracteate or bracts reduced. Flowers pedicellate, large, showy, homostylous, protandrous, nocturnal, fragrant. Hypanthium ellipsoid to cylindrical. Calyx limb with short tube, lobes (4)5-6(7), without calycophylls. Corolla salverform with the tube well developed, white becoming yellowed with age, internally glabrous, the lobes (4)5-6(7), in bud imbricate with 3 lobes external or sometimes convolute (C. valerioi). Stamens 5-6, inserted just below the corolla mouth; anthers narrowly oblong, basifixed, included, sometimes shortly bicaudate at the base. Ovary 2-locular; ovules numerous in each locule, on axile placentas. Fruit capsular, oblong or cylindric, woody, septicidal from the apex. Seeds small, flattened, papery, winged, the wings entire to erose.



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Key to the Species of Cosmibuena


1. Leaves 1-4.2 cm wide, obovate, obtuse to broadly rounded at apex, drying thickly coriaceous; plants drying red-brown; old stipules turning red; calyx limb divided to base; flowers solitary; capsules smooth; Costa Rica and Panama, 700-2300 m...C. valerioi

1. Leaves 2.4-16 cm wide, elliptic to obovate, obtuse or broadly rounded to acute at apex, drying coriaceous to subcoriaceous; plants drying green or gray-green; old stipules turning white; calyx limb truncate or partially to deeply lobed; flowers 2-9 in cymes; capsules smooth or lenticellate.


   2. Capsules 7.3-11.2 cm long; seeds 7-9 mm long (including the wing); leaves obtuse to broadly rounded at apex; Costa Rica to Peru, 0-500 m... C. macrocarpa

   2. Capsules 4.0-6.5 cm long; seeds 5-6 mm long (including the wing); leaves obtuse to acute at apex; southern Mexico to Bolivia, 0-2200 m.


      3. Calyx limb truncate to lobed, with its lobes if present shorter than or equal in length to its tube; leaves 3.6-16 cm wide; southern Nicaragua to Bolivia, 0-2200 m...C. grandiflora

      3. Calyx limb lobed with its lobes longer than its tube; leaves 3-8 cm wide; southern Mexico to northern Nicaragua, 0-500 m...C. matudae

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