Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Stemmadenia grandiflora

(Jacq.) Miers,Apoc. S. Amer. 75. 1878

Huevo de gato, Lechugo, Venenillo

Glabrous shrub or tree, to 7 m tall; sap milky, copious in all parts; stems grayish-brown, with a prominent inter­petiolar ridge. Leaves opposite, the pairs sometimes unequal; petioles 3-10 mm long, (leaving a conspicuous scar); blades mostly oblanceolate, abruptly acuminate (sometimes falcate), acute to obtuse at base, 3-11(16) cm long, 1.5-4 (6) cm wide, bicolorous. Cynics of few flowers; peduncles short; pedicels to 1 cm long, with a single small bracteole attached ca midway on pedicel; flowers         5-parted; calyx lobes 1.5-3 cm long, irregular, 2 narrow and flat, 3 folded with 1 or more margins         re­flected; corolla pale orange, the tube 2.5-3.5 cm long, the lobes spreading, ca 5 cm wide, to 2.5-3.5 cm long, much contorted; stamens included, attached about 2 cm above base of tube, held in a tight circle by thick pubes­cent ribs of corolla wall; anthers ca 4 mm long, free; style equaling stamens; stigmas 2, minute. Follicles reniform, usually paired, ca 5 cm long, smooth on the outside, the apex acuminate, the very thick valves splitting open along upper side to expose fleshy orange mesocarp; seeds many, oblong to rounded, 5-10 mm long, papillate and deeply grooved. Croat 4223 11979.

Frequent in the younger forest, especially along the shore. Flowers and fruits throughout the year.

Seeds are individually borne on flaps of the mesocarp (or the funiculus is much expanded). The flaps probably flip the seeds out of the fruit to some extent.

Mexico to northern South America. In Panama, eco­logically variable; known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone, Bocas del Toro, San Blas, Chiriqui, Veraguas, Los Santos, Herrera, Panama, and Darien, from premontane dry forest in Los Santos, from tropical dry forest in Coclé and Panama, from premontane moist forest in the Canal Zone and Panama, from premontane wet forest in Coclé, and from tropical wet forest in Colon, Panama, and Darien.

See Figs. 462 and 463.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Stemmadenia grandiflora flower-bud
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora flower
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora flower plant
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora immature-fruit
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora immature-fruit plant
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora leaf
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora seed-wet
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora fruit
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora fruit plant
  • Stemmadenia grandiflora bud