Colubrina Rich. ex Brongn., nom. cons.
Trees or shrubs, usually erect (scandent in C. asiatica (L.) Brongn.), plants unarmed or armed with thorns from leaf axils, bud scales v present or absent. Leaves alternate, opposite or sub-opposite, or fasciculate at short shoots, petiolate, venation pinnate (Mesoamerica), sometimes with most proximal pair of lateral veins originating with midrib at junction of petiole and blade, but these not, or little stronger than more distal lateral veins, and not as strong as midrib), with or without glands at junction of leaf and petiole, margins entire or toothed, if entire sometimes with glands along entire margin or sometimes arranged in lines more or less parallel and internal to leaf margin (or less commonly glands few and scattered) or if toothed, each tooth with a gland, on or near apex; stipules present, usually caducous, un-lobed. Inflorescences axillary, of few to numerous-flowered compound cymes, the cymes sometimes fasciculate or arranged in short thyrses, sessile or short-pedunculate, with or without persistent bracteoles, branches sometimes racemiform, or inflorescences fascicles of short-shoots, the short-shoots covered with persistent over-lapping bracteoles, each subtending a pedicellate flower, pedicels elongating as flowers and fruits mature. Flowers bisexual, 5-merous. Hypanthium patelliform to hemispheric, adhering to the base of ovary. Sepals triangular, valvate in bud, adaxially keeled, abscising along rim of hypanthium. Petals usually smaller or equal to sepals in length, strongly concave, short-clawed, apically rounded, white, greenish-white, or yellow-green, enfolding the stamens, deciduous. Stamens opposite petals, slightly longer than petals at maturity, filaments linear, adnate to base of petals; anthers dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Disk marginally adnate to hypanthium and broadly annular nearly filling mouth of hypanthium excluding small central annulus or narrower and forming an open ring, epigynous, fleshy, nectiferous, usually glabrous, often slightly crenate but without distinct lobes of staminode origin. Ovary in flower inferior to semi-superior, 3-locular, style 3-fid, branches separating and extending after anther dehiscence, stigmas 3, small. Fruit a dry capsule with three zones seen pre-dehiscence: at base the hypanthium, concealing the basal 1/10—1/2 of fruit, now flat to shallowly cupular, the apical margin of which is marked by scars from fallen perianth and fused to and dehiscing with ovary apically and irregularly separating from basal portion which is retained on pedicel post-dehiscence, immediately above scars is the disc, sometimes drying with different texture or color than ovary, now a relatively narrow ring which is fused to and dehisces with the ovary, and above the disc the ovary which is now ½--9/10 superior to hypanthium, fruit including hypanthium and disc obovoid to nearly globose with 3 barely discernable lobes and 3 and sometimes eventually 6 sulcations, the epicarp and mesocarp relatively thin and dry, leathery to brittle, adhering to endocarp and at dehiscence dividing with it or breaking irregularly and the endocarp crustaceous to cartilaginous, dividing at maturity into 3 endocarpids. Endocarpids dehiscing along the ventral line, the 2 septums, and to various degrees dorsally, the base of septum sometimes retained on flattened hypanthium, forming a columnella with flaring basal membranaceous wings, seeds one per endocarpid, broadly obovoid, brown or black, sometimes with retained aril (funicle) or at times with aril retained on columnella.
Género con ca 32 especies, North American and pantropical; 7 especies en Nicaragua.