Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Strychnos brachistantha

Standl., Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 12:412. 1936

Scandent shrub, often to 30 m long; larger stems armed with stout spines (straight on juveniles, recurved on adults); smaller stems sometimes square; branchlets puberulent with minute trichomes, glabrous in age; ten­drils forked, the arms coiled like watchsprings. Petioles ca 3 mm long, puberulent with minute trichomes; blades lanceolate to narrowly elliptic, very long-acuminate, obtuse to rounded at base, 2.5-14 cm long, l-4 cm wide, glabrous except for puberulent midrib below and tufted axils (with short white trichomes) of central pair of veins, entire, minutely and conspicuously undulate on margins, pliveined, the veins 3 (5), the secondary lateral veins ± conspicuous in apical two-thirds of blade. Paniculate cymes terminal, usually hemispheric and bearing many flowers; calyx lobes (4) 5, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, acute to acuminate, l-2 mm long; corolla ca 2 cm long, (4) 5-lobed almost to base, the tube ca 0.6 mm long, the lobes oblong, obtuse, densely villous inside, ca twice as long as tube; anthers 5, ca 0.6 mm long, glabrous. Fruits globose, 6-7 cm diam, orange-yellow at maturity; exo­carp ca 6 mm thick, smooth; seeds 5-11, obliquely pyra­midal, 12-17 mm long, the mesocarp yellowish, tasty. Croat 14475.

Apparently rare in the forest; collected once on Dray­ton Trail. Seasonal behavior uncertain. Flowers in June and July. Old fruits have been seen in September.

Mexico south along the Atlantic slope of Belize, Guate­mala, and Nicaragua to Panama. In Panama, known only from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Strychnos brachistantha