name and synonyms: Chironia L. (1753)
Etymology: Chironia is named after Chiron, the most
famous, and immortal, centaur with exceptional goodness and wisdom (link).
Centaurs were Greek mythological creatures that were half man - half
Chironia is closely related to Centaurium, another gentian
genus named after the centaurs.
sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar
or perennial herbs, sometimes with a woody base. Leaves glabrous, rarely
hairy. Flowers 5-merous,
in cymose inflorescences. Calyx tube usually
shorter than the linear-lanceolate calyx lobes.
white to purple-pink, salvershaped;
corolla tube usually shorter than corolla lobes. Anthers helically twisted
after dehiscence. Pollen released as monads. Stigma with oblong lobes to
capitate. Fruit a capsule (rarely a berry: Chironia baccifera).
and related plants: Chironia
belongs to subtribe Chironiinae in tribe
Chironieae. The closest relative is the genus Orphium,
which also occurs in Africa.
baccifera has a berry-like fruit.
E. 1903. Monographie der Gattung Chironia.
Beih. Bot. Centralbl. 14: 177-242.
L., J. W. Kadereit, J. Klackenberg, S. Nilsson, M. Thiv, K. B. von Hagen,
& V. A. Albert. 2002. Systematics, character evolution, and
biogeography of Gentianaceae, including a new tribal and subtribal
classification. Pp. 21-309. In: L. Struwe & V. A. Albert (eds.),
Gentianaceae: Systematics and Natural History, Cambridge University Press,
linoides, plantxafrica.com [horticulture, distribution,
photos, PlantWeb [photos]
© Lena Struwe, 2003