Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Psychotria capitata

R. & P., Fl. Peruv. 2:59.1799

Shrub, usually to 3 (4) m tall; stems glabrous or weakly puberulent. Stipules lanceolate, ca 1.5 cm long, bilobed at apex, deciduous, sometimes purplish; petioles 5-20 mm long; blades elliptic to oblong-elliptic, acuminate, tapered to base and somewhat decurrent, mostly 9-20 cm long, 2.5-7 cm wide, stiff when fresh; lateral veins raised on both surfaces, forming nearly right angles with midrib, sharply ascending near margin, the basal pair often pubes­cent below. Panicles white at anthesis, long-pedunculate, terminal, solitary, usually longer than broad, to 13 cm long and 7 cm wide (usually smaller), branching at right angles; bracts 5-10 mm long, oblanceolate, often purplish in fruit; flowers white, heterostylous, usually exceeded by bracts, these white at anthesis, becoming green; calyx lobes minute; corolla 4-lobed, ca 1 cm long, the lobes spreading, ovate, acute or rounded, the tube pubescent in upper third inside, the throat yellow; short-styled flowers with the stamens attached at apex of tube, exserted 5-7 mm above throat, the style included, held at apex of throat; long-styled flowers with the stamens included and hidden among long trichomes in throat, the style exserted 5-7 mm above throat. Berries subovate to oblong, 4-6 (7) mm long, 3.5-5 mm wide, black; seeds 2, hemispherical, ca 4.7 mm long, 3-4 mm wide, the inside face flat with a slight fissure, the outside face 4- or 5-ridged at maturity. Croat 12414, 14960.

Occasional in the forest; common in a few localities, mostly in the old forest; occasional to locally common on Zetek Trail. Flowers and fruits sporadically throughout the year, but mostly in June.

A small black-and-white Heliconius butterfly (probably H. cydno or possibly H. sappho; Nymphalidae, Ithomiinae) visits the flowers at anthesis. The same butterfly visits Psiguria warscewiczii (131. Cucurbitaceae). The species is also visited by small hummingbirds.

Belize to Peru and Brazil; Trinidad and Tobago. In Panama, ecologically variable; known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Colón, San Blas, Panama, and Darien, from premontane wet forest in Colón, and Coclé, and from tropical wet forest in Colon, Panama, and Darien.

See Fig. 527.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Psychotria capitata
  • Psychotria capitata Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata Flower Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata Fruit Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata Fruit Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata Fruit Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata Leaf
  • Psychotria capitata subsp. fissistipularis Ruiz & Pav
  • Psychotria capitata