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Xiphidium caeruleumAubl.

Aubl., Hist. Pl. Guiane Fr. 1:33, t.11.1775

Palma, Palma del norte, Palmita

Perennial herb, 30-80 cm tall; rhizome creepingthen erect, weakly rooted. Leaves linear, equitant, 20-50 cm long,overlapping in two ranks, the lateral margins free only near base,fused toward apex, minutely serrulate near apex. Panicles 7-35 cmlong, 3-16 cm wide, the branches few to many, circinately coiled inbud, held          ± horizontal at maturity, the flowers on upper side; flowerswhite, distinctly pedicellate; tepals 6, narrowly ovate, 4-9 mmlong, spreading at anthesis, long-persistent; stamens 3, ±erect; filaments flattened, ca 2 mm long; ovary globose; stylesimple, ca 4 mm long, slightly longer than ovary, becoming ±curved to one side. Berries dull red at ma­turity, ca 5 mmlong; seeds numerous, red, ± rounded, irregularly dented,densely papillate, less than 1 mm diam. Croat 11785.

Common along trails in the forest, along the lake mar­gin,and in clearings, often locally abundant. Flowers throughout therainy season, especially in July and Au­gust. The fruitsmature in the late rainy and early dry seasons.

This conspicuous plant appears flattened, with equi­tant,irislike leaves.

Flowers are open (dish-shaped) and seem well suited forpollination by small, unspecialized insects. The fruit, thoughappearing to be a capsule with three distinct fleshy valves, isapparently never dehiscent, even though the fruit easily separatesinto three parts. The whole top of the fruit is removed, generally,and at least part of the seeds are removed, apparently by someanimal.

Mexico to Bolivia and Brazil; introduced into theWest Indies. In Panama, known from tropical moist forest in

the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, Panama, and Darién, frompremontane moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama, and frompremontane wet forest in Chiriqui.

Xiphidium  caeruleum
Xiphidium caeruleum
Enrique Moreno, David Roubik
Xiphidium  caeruleum
Xiphidium caeruleum
Andrés Hernández
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