Flora of Barro Colorado Island

Tetracera portobellensis

Beurl., Kongl. Vetensk. Acad. Handl.113.1854

T.  sessiliflora Tr. & Planch.

Androdioecious liana or scandent shrub; young stems, petioles, and axes of inflorescences with moderate to dense stellate pubescence interspersed with simple tri­chomes. Petioles 3-10 mm long, winged full length; blades elliptic to obovate, rounded to abruptly acuminate (rarely short-acuminate), acute to obtuse and decurrent on petiole at base, 5-18 cm long, 3-8 cm wide, the pubes­cence minute, pustular, stellate on both surfaces, the simple trichomes mostly restricted to veins; lateral veins in 15-25 pairs. Panicles spikelike; flowers unisexual, usually subsessile, 4-5 mm broad, closely congested; sepals 5; petals (2) 3 (4), pale yellow to greenish-white, rounded at apex, soon falling, the margin folded inward; stamens numerous, to ca 5 mm long, reduced in pistillate flowers; pistils reduced in staminate flowers; style usually directed to one side; stigma ± spatulate-truncate. Follicle 1, glabrous, shiny, dark brown,   5-7 mm long (excluding prominent beak), dehiscing on one side from style down­ward to expose seed; seeds 1-4, shiny, black, 3-4 mm long, enveloped at least in part by a deeply lacerate red aril (this becoming pale yellow on drying). Croat 9375, 13997.

Frequent along the shore and in the forest. Flowering may be induced throughout much of the year, but the chief flowering period is the early dry season (December to March, especially January and February). Flowering appears to be induced by drought. Severing a vine in the proper stage of bud will soon cause the flowers to open. The fruits mature mostly from March to May (sometimes from February).

This species was mistakenly reported by Standley (1933) as T. oblongata DC. Although Standley reported T. sessiliflora Tr. & Planch., a synonym of T. portobellen­sis, his description leaves no doubt that he was referring to T. hydrophila Tr. & Planch.

Mexico to Colombia. In Panama, growing primarily in the wet lowland areas of the Atlantic slope; known from tropical moist forest in the Canal Zone (Atlantic slope) and Bocas del Toro, from tropical dry forest in Darien (Garachiné), and from premontane wet forest in Colón.

See Fig. 383.

Photos from STRI Digital Archive

  • Tetracera portobellensis flower-bud
  • Tetracera portobellensis Inflorescence buds
  • Tetracera portobellensis flower-bud plant
  • Tetracera portobellensis flower
  • Tetracera portobellensis flower
  • Tetracera portobellensis flower
  • Tetracera portobellensis flower plant
  • Tetracera portobellensis flower plant
  • Tetracera portobellensis leaf
  • Tetracera portobellensis seed-dry