Lycianthes escuintlensis (J. M. Coult.) D'Arcy

Solanaceae– Tomato Family


flower

fruit
Identification:

– 1.5-5 m treelet along streams

– paired glabrous leaves with a velvelty sheen

– purple waxy flowers with a 10-ribbed calyx
fruiting habit

Description. Treelet to 5 m; leaves paired, petioles to 1.5 cm, blades to 6 x 15 cm on reproductive twigs, larger on stems, elliptic to oblanceolate, entire, acuminate, base acute and extending along petiole, midvein expressed above, lateral veins finely expressed above, upperside with a velvety, glossy sheen, minute hairs on veins below; flowers sessile in leaf and twig axils, pedicels to 2.5 cm, calyx with 10 ribs without appendages or teeth, corolla purple inside, pale green outside, 15 mm long, 28 mm across, anthers dull yellow, style exserted 4-5 mm; fruit 12-16 mm long, subglobose, orange when mature, green immature, only 1-2 per axil; seed 1.5-2 mm long, hard and flat, beige-cream.

Similar species:

Lycianthes synanthera also has glabrous leaves and blue flowers, but grows as a hemi-epiphyte.

Local distribution. Atlantic slope from lowlands to about 1000 m; Pacific slope at about 700-1100 m (Finca Ecologica, San Luis), usually in the flood zone of streams.

Habitat. Usually grows in the repeatedly disturbed, rocky flood zone bordering streams and rivers in bright light, also wet rocky landslides.

Species range. Guatemala to Colombia, (Mexico?).

Abundance. Uncommon

Phenology. Flower: ; Fruit: .

Herbivores. Pteronymia artena (Ithomiinae)

Pollinators. Bees

Seed dispersers. Birds

Comments. The velvety green leaves are distinctive and attractive when fresh.

Voucher No. Haber 841


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Images and text copyright © 2001 by William A. Haber, www.cs.umb.edu/efg
Created: 15 November 2001.