Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Chelonanthus alatus

(Aubl.) Pulle, Enum. Pl. Surinam 376. 1906

Arbol de mal casada

Herb, to 1-1.5 (5) m; stems square, glabrous, the corners with thin ribs. Leaves opposite, sessile; blades broadly ovate, acute to short-acuminate at apex, attenuate at base, 4-18 cm long, 3-10 cm wide, thin. Inflorescences ter­minal, simple or compound dichasia, appearing race­mose; flowers pedicellate, usually borne on one side of branches, subtended by ovate bracts 2-3 mm long; calyx ca 6 mm long, coriaceous, the lobes 5, blunt, imbricate, keeled; corolla campanulate, pale green, ± fleshy, weakly 2-lipped, 2-3 cm long, the lobes 5, short, acute but reflexed so as to appear truncate; stamens 5, held tightly against the lower lip; filaments with a marked bend about midway, thick and flattened at base, fused to basal part of corolla tube; anthers shedding pollen before anthesis, sometimes adhering to each other and to style before anthesis; style broadly bilobed, scarcely exceeding sta­mens, appressed to anthers. Capsules ± oblong, brown at maturity, 1-1.5 cm long, the valves thick, held between calyx and strong persistent style base; seeds very numer­ous, minute, somewhat sticky, square or rectangular. Croat 7258.

Occasional in clearings, especially the Rear # 8 Light­house Clearing; infrequent along the shore. Flowers principally in the rainy season, with the fruits maturing during the dry season.

The flowers are probably pollinated by medium-sized bees.

Capsule valves are hygroscopic, arching in dry condi­tions and allowing wind to pass through to carry away the tiny seeds and straightening again under wet condi­tions to close the gap.

Mexico to Brazil. In Panama, known principally from premontane wet forest in Colón, Chiriqui, Coclé, and Panama; known also from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone and Darien, from tropical wet forest in Darien, and from premontane rain forest in Chiriqui. See Fig. 449.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Chelonanthus alatus
  • Chelonanthus alatus
  • Chelonanthus alatus
  • Chelonanthus alatus
  • Chelonanthus alatus
  • Chelonanthus alatus