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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 11/13/2012)
 

Flora Data (Last Modified On 11/13/2012)
Genus PRUNUS. L.
PlaceOfPublication Gen. P1. ed. 5, 213. 1754
Reference Koehne in Engl. Bot. Jahrb. 52:279-333. 1915; Macbride in Field Mus. Publ. Bot. 132:1083-1090. 1938.
Description Trees with alternate simple leaves. Flowers (in Panamanian species) white, racemose; calyx 5-lobed, the tube perigynous, cup-like, forming with the receptac- ular disk the hypanthium bearing the 15-20 stamens and 5 petals at its margin; filaments free, filiform or somewhat dilated at base; carpel 1, with terminal style and peltate or truncate stigma; ovules 2, collateral. Fruit a drupe, one-seeded, often with juicy pulp.
Habit Trees
Note A large genus, best known for the numerous species which are cultivated for food and for ornament. Segregate genera, e. g. Padus and Laurocerasus, are main- tained by some botanists but are based chiefly on characters of the inflorescence and are probably best included in Prunus. The native Panamanian species belongs to the Section LAUROCERASUS as defined by Koehne in 1915. This author included 47 species in the section, 42 of them American. At the time of his revisionary studies Koehne was unable, because of lack of material, to integrate the results of his studies in the several distinct floristic areas in tropical and subtropical America, and it is probable that the actual number of species will prove smaller than his estimate. In the area including Mexico and Central America Koehne recognized 7 species, of which he described 5 as new. The characters used by him to dis- tinguish species in the group to which the Panamanian plant apparently belongs (i. e. the species having entire leaves, glabrous petals, solitary racemes, and super- ficial glands near the base of the leaf blade), appear to be of little value for this purpose. The number of glands on the leaf-blade, which was assumed by Koehne to be constant for a species, varies from 0 to 3 on either side of the midrib of the same leaf, and from 0 to 4 (rarely 6) on different leaves on the same plant. The unusual development of lenticels and the transverse cracks in the branchlets, on which he based Prunus tuberculata and P. annularis, respectively, do not appear to be constant characters. After study of somewhat more material than was available to Koehne, I doubt that more than one species exists in this group, at least in Cen- tral America. The oldest name which is applicable to the species is Prunus brachy- botrya Zucc. (1837), from Mexico, but pending a revision of the whole group it seems wisest at present to refer the Panamanian plant to a species originally de- scribed from nearby Costa Rica, Prunus anndalris.
 
 
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