Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Elytraria imbricata

(Vahl) Pers., Synops. P1.1:23.1805

Acaulescent to caulescent suffruticose herb, to ca 60 cm tall; stems ± glabrous. Leaves alternate to subopposite; blades mostly ovate to oblanceolate, acute to acuminate, gradually narrowed to slender winged petiole, 3-12 cm long, 1.5-4 cm wide, glabrate to sparsely villous espe­cially on veins, the margins ± undulate and ciliate; cysto­liths apparently lacking. Inflorescences of numerous, upper-axillary or terminal, simple or branched scapes mostly 5-25 cm long (sometimes leafy at apex), closely bracteate, the bracts firm, usually subulate, keeled, with villous margins; spikes 1 to several per scape, to 6 cm long and ca 5 mm wide, the bracts firm, awned-tipped and bearing a pair of thin wings near apex, glabrous out­side, densely pubescent inside; bracteoles subulate, ca 3 mm long, the costa ciliate; calyx segments 2, unequal, narrow, the posterior one bidentate; corolla bluish, 5-8 mm long, the tube slender, the limb bilabiate, the lower lip trilobate; stamens 2, barely exserted; anther thecae connate, ca 0.5 mm long; pistillate parts not seen. Cap­sules narrowly conical, ca 3 mm long and 1 mm diam, glabrous; seeds lacking retinacula. Croat 6963.

Rare, on a shady steep slope in the Laboratory Clear­ing. Flowers in the early dry season. The fruits develop quickly and seeds are dispersed in the dry season as well.

Arizona and Texas through northern and western South America to Ecuador and Brazil (Mato Grosso and Rio de Janeiro). In Panamá, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Colón, Los Santos (Tonosi), and Panamá, from tropical dry forest in Herrera (Pesé), Coclé (Penonomé), and Panama (Taboga Island), and from premontane wet forest in Chiriqui.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Elytraria imbricata