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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 10/17/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 10/17/2013)
Genus Tovomita Aubl.
PlaceOfPublication Hist. P1. Guiane Franc. 2: 956, t. 364. 1775.
Note TYPE: T. guianensis Aubl.
Description Monoecious or dioecious trees or shrubs, glabrate, stems sometimes but- tressed or stilt rooted, sap often white or yellowish. Leaves at first opposite, soon becoming alternate, entire, simple, drying minutely revolute, the costa el- evated beneath, lateral nerves sometimes forming a submarginal vein; petioles sometimes short, flat or canaliculate above; stipules or pseudostipules wanting, axillary buds not normally conspicuous. Inflorescences cymose panicles, mostly terminal, often pyramidal, basally subtended by a pair of minute to foliaceous bracts which rarely envelop the entire inflorescence in bud, the branching mostly opposite or ternate, bracteoles mostly present, small and cucullate, subtending the pedicels and parts of the rachis; pedicels often thickening but not much elon- gating in fruit. Flowers with the buds minutely apiculate, completely enclosed in the outer sepals which are fused to the top showing only indistinct sutures, split- ting lengthwise into 2-4 opposite, cucullate, coriaceous segments (sepals), an inner whorl of sepals sometimes present, the complete calyx consisting of 2-8 decussate sepals, the inner series imbricate apically and overtopping the bud; corolla sometimes fused in bud and splitting lengthwise to yield the 2-8 segments (petals), or the petals free and distinct in bud, imbricate and overtopping the bud, opposite and decussate; stamens numerous, the filaments free, slender or stout, glabrous, the anthers small, the 2 lobes separated by the connective, each lobe 2-locular with a thin septum, the connective sometimes produced into a minute apiculum; ovary conical or obtuse, sometimes sulcate, 4-5-carpellate, syncar- pous, the styles short or produced into prongs in fruit, the stigmas ovoid to discoid, stigmatic abaxially; ovules 1 in each locule, axile, medifixed, anatropous or perhaps campylotropous, enveloped in a fleshy, venose aril, the aril and lower portion of the ovule sometimes produced into a spur filling a cavity in the base of the locule. Fruit a fleshy, drupaceous capsule, dehiscent septicidally to the base, often brightly colored within; seeds 1 per locule or fewer by abortion, oblong, ellipsoidal or faboid in shape, enveloped by the fleshy aril, the testa wanting, one end sometimes produced into a basal spur.
Habit trees or shrubs
Distribution tropical South America and the Antilles ranging as far west as Panama (?Costa Rica).
Note Although it has been confused with Tovomitopsis, Chrysochlamys, and Dystovomita, it is ap- parently distinct in several features. The outer perianth is complete in preflora- tion, that is, it is completely fused and the sepals are schizogenous products of longitudinal tearing. The ovules are reportedly anatropous but appear to be cam- plyotropous instead, a feature which could not be verified at this time. They are inserted about halfway up the carpel wall, and the funiculus joins the ovule at about the middle with the raphe directed downwards. In the case of Tovomita weddelliana and perhaps other species not studied at this time, this lower end of the ovule is produced onto an acute spur which fills an elongation of the locule into the basal region of the carpel. An aril completely envelops the seed, which is fixed at the point of ovule attachment but is otherwise free. This aril is con- spicuously venose, the veins running outwards from the point of attachment. The testa is extremely thin or wanting. According to Engler, to Planchon and Triana, and other earlier writers, the fleshy structure in Tovomita is not a true aril, and they preferred the term arilloid. It is actually a fleshy elaboration of the integu- ments or a sarcotesta and not an outgrowth of the funiculus as in related genera where the term aril may be applied in a strict sense. The term aril is used here in the ecological sense to cover any fleshy, colored seed appendage deployed as an attractant for dispersal. The species of Tovomita occurring in Panama are quite distinct from one another; two of them, T. stylosa and T. weddelliana, are also distinct in the genus and atypical of the majority of species. In addition to the three species noted below, material of at least two other species has been collected in Panama. These could not be assigned to any known species, but material is not sufficient to warrant description of new species.
Key a. Leaves appearing sessile but at the very base abruptly narrowed into short, stout petioles. b. Leaves narrow, the lateral veins numerous without cross veins, less than 3 mm apart; fruit obturbinoid, smooth ...... 4. T. weddelliana bb. Leaves broad, the lateral veins well spaced with evident cross veins, more than 8 mm apart; fruit globose, warty ...... 2. T. morii aa. Leaves narrowed into slender petioles. c. Flower buds elongate, narrow; drying green; leaves membranaceous or chartaceous; stamens fewer than 60 ...... 3. T. stylosa cc. Flower buds globose or ovoid, drying brown; leaves coriaceous; stamens ca. 80 ...... 1. T. longifolia
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