Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Gouania lupuloides

(L.) Urban, Symb. Ant. 4:378.1910

G. polygama (Jacq.) Urban

Jaboncillo

Tendriled liana; stems striate, densely pubescent; ten­drils watchspring-like, terminating short branches, be­coming woody in age. Leaves alternate, short-petiolate; blades ± ovate, acuminate to acute or cuspidate at apex, obtuse to subcordate at base, 5-11 cm long, 2-6.5 cm wide, sparsely to densely pubescent, the pubescence variable; veins at base 3. Racemes terminal or upper­-axillary, spikelike, 5-15 cm long; flowers mostly bisexual, sometimes pistillate or staminate by reduction, sessile or subsessile, ca 3 mm wide, in few-flowered glomerules, opening 1 to few at a time in each glomerule; calyx cupu­lar, white or greenish, acutely 4- or 5-lobed, pubescent on outer surface, the lobes ca 1 mm long; petals minute, equaling calyx lobes, partially enclosing stamens; stamens (4) 5, mounted on rim and alternate with lobes of the disk; disk prominent, cupular; anthers emerging above petals; styles 3, short at anthesis, later elongating and exceeding height of disk lobes, the tips becoming recurved. Schizo­carps of 3,         2-winged mericarps, the central part sparsely to densely pubescent, 3-4 mm long; wings rounded, 5-6 mm high and ca 5 mm broad, glabrous to densely reddish­brown-pubescent, splitting medially at maturity; meri­carps 3, consisting of one-third of the central axis and one-half of each of 2 wings. Croat 5744, 7075.

Abundant at the edges of clearings and occasional in the forest canopy. Flowers from November to March, principally in the early dry season; flowering is rare in March and even more rare during the rainy season. The fruits develop to mature size as early as January, but are dispersed from February to May (rarely June or later), especially in March and April.

The cuplike disk may become partly filled with a sweet watery nectar, especially while the anthers are shedding pollen. The nectar appears to be absent when the style is receptive.

The species is represented on BCI by two distinct races. The less common of the two is characterized by dense reddish-brown pubescence all over but especially on the stems, the lower leaf surfaces, and the seminiferous areas of the fruit. Examples of the more pubescent form include Croat 7274, 7984,12699,12739,13482, Shattuck 290, 444, 523, and Woodworth & Vestal 326. Although the difference between the two races is striking on BCI, variation of G. lupuloides throughout Panama is so great that they cannot be recognized at any higher taxonomic level. Apparently identical collections made in Mexico and Brazil have been identified as G. tomentosa Jacq. and G. mollis (L.) Urban. Further monographic work with Gouania may well prove that these two BCI variants should be considered distinct at the varietal or even the specific level.

Mexico to northern South America; West Indies. In Panama, ecologically wide-ranging, probably occurring in all areas of tropical moist forest; known also from tropical dry forest in Coclé (near Antón), Herrera, and Los Santos, from premontane wet forest in Chiriqui (Boquete), and from premontane rain forest (south of Volcán) in Chiriqui.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Gouania lupuloides flower
  • Gouania lupuloides Inflorescence
  • Gouania lupuloides Inflorescence
  • Gouania lupuloides Inflorescence
  • Gouania lupuloides flower plant
  • Gouania lupuloides flower plant
  • Gouania lupuloides fruit
  • Gouania lupuloides fruit
  • Gouania lupuloides Infructescences
  • Gouania lupuloides immature-Infructescences