Solandra grandiflora Sw.



- canopy liana

- fleshy leaves bunched at twig tips

- 20 cm tubular flowers

- top-shaped fruit with elongate calyx lobes


fruit (almost mature)

Description. A canopy liana; alternate fleshy leaves with long petioles, glabrous; large yellow-white to orange tubular flowers (20 cm long) with purple lines inside corolla and somewhat frilly lobes; 5 large, elongate calyx lobes, and subglobose fruit shaped like a top with persistent style and large calyx lobes.

Similar species.

Merinthopodium neuranthum (Solanaceae)- a hemi-epiphyte with purple-green flowers on long dangling inflorescences stalks.

Neomirandea standleyi (Asteraceae)- a large hemi-epiphyte with similarly shaped, though opposite, leaves.

Schultesianthus megalandrus (Solanaceae)- a hemi-epiphyte with smaller, fleshy leaves.

Local distribution. On the Pacific slope from the upper San Luis Valley to the edge of the cloud forest in the premontane zone at about 900 to 1500 m.

Habitat. Ascending trees in both forest and forest edge.

Species range. Mexico to Panama. Widely cultivated in the tropics.

Abundance. Uncommon.

Herbivores. Eutresis hypereia (reared), Olyras crathis (suspected).

Phenology. June-August.

Pollinators. Hawkmoths (Sphingidae).

Seed dispersers. Arboreal mammals?

Comments. The corollas of fresh flowers are nearly white, but they turn orange with age and become conspicuous when they litter the ground under a large flowering plant. The leaves are generally a lighter green than surrounding foliage. Using a night viewing scope, I have observed hawkmoths visiting the flowers at night, but not bats as some people have suggested.

Voucher No. Bello 429

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Images and text copyright © 2001 by William A. Haber,
Created: 28 October 2001.