Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Pisonia aculeata

L., Sp. Pl.1026.1753

Dioecious, climbing shrub or liana, growing into canopy, its climbing aided by stout, recurved, axillary spines on smaller stems, nearly glabrous to sparsely villous, espe­cially on younger parts, underside of leaves, and axes of inflorescences; trunk to 12 cm diam, unarmed; branching divaricate. Leaves opposite to subopposite, the pairs often markedly unequal; petioles 0.5-3 cm long; blades variable, mostly obovate to obovate-elliptic, acute to short-acuminate at apex, rounded to acute at base, 2-10 cm long, 1.5-5 cm wide, usually glabrate above except midrib. Inflorescences usually terminal on condensed short shoots; flowers greenish-yellow, numerous, in dense, ± globular, short-pedunculate clusters to 4 cm diam; pedicels short, bearing few bracts; pedicels and perianth densely and coarsely short-pubescent; staminate flowers campanulate, ca 3 mm long, the limb 5-7 mm diam, the lobes 5, acute; stamens 6-8 (often 7), unequal, widely exserted, to 8 mm long; anthers as broad as or broader than long, longitudinally dehiscent, dorsifixed at base; pistillode with a slender style and brushlike stigma, usually held to one side and above rim. Pistillate flowers tubular, ca 2.5 mm long; style      short-exserted; stigma brushlike; staminodia reduced. Fruiting inflorescences usually much expanded; anthocarps club-shaped and 5-sided, to 1.5 cm long, densely short-pubescent, bearing a longitudinal row of prominent stalked glands on the angles, the glands sticky. Croat 5390, 8313.

Occasional, in the canopy of the forest, sometimes hanging down over the edge of the lake. Plants may lose their leaves just before flowering. Flowering usually occurs from January to April, with the fruits maturing as early as February.

The sticky, stipitate glands on the fruit presumably function in distribution by adhering to the feathers of birds.

Widely distributed in the American tropics. In Pan­ama, known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama, from premontane moist forest in Panama, and from premontane wet forest in Coclé.

See Fig. 228.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Pisonia aculeata flower-bud plant
  • Pisonia aculeata flower
  • Pisonia aculeata Inflorescence
  • Pisonia aculeata Inflorescence
  • Pisonia aculeata immature-fruit
  • Pisonia aculeata immature-Infructescences
  • Pisonia aculeata leaf
  • Pisonia aculeata
  • Pisonia aculeata
  • Pisonia aculeata