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This page is maintained 
by Dr. Lena Struwe 
(e-mail), and hosted by
Rutgers University
, USA

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updated: 01/19/11 

Eustoma
(Gentianaceae: Chironieae: Chironiinae)

more images
stamps with Eustoma
The convoluted history of the name Lisianthus

Common names:  Prairie gentian, lisianthus, Texas bluebell, Tulip gentian, bluebells, lira de san pedro.

Latin name and synonyms:  Eustoma Salisb. (1806)

Etymology: Eustoma is named after the Greek words eu- (beautiful, good, well-), and stoma (mouth). The meaning of Eustoma is "good-tasting" or "well-spoken" [Corneliuson, 1997], but in the case if this plant genus it might refer to the distinct color patterns in the corolla mouth, hence 'beautiful mouth'.

Species:  3 species

Distribution:  Southern United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Habitat:  Disturbed areas, grassland, and pine forests often in dry environments.

Characteristics:   Glabrous herbs with a bluish tone on their leaves and stems (glaucous). Large, long-stemmed flowers in cymes, often only a few open at the time. Sepals only fused close to the base and much smaller than petals.  Petals purple or bluish, large and rounded, only fused at base and forming a trumpet or funnel-shaped corolla, and often with yellow on the inside close to the mouth of the flowers.  Stamens inserted close to the base of the petals, and with long, only slightly twisted anthers. Stigma bilobed.

Evolution and related plants:   Eustoma belongs to subtribe Chironiinae in tribe Chironieae and is closely related to Centaurium.

Economic uses:  Eustoma grandiflorum (lisianthus) is popular in horticulture, both as an ornamental, a potted indoor plant, and as a cut flower. Many cultivated varieties have an increased number of petals (filled flowers) or unusual petal colors (white, yellow, pink, striped) due to breeding. Japan and New Zealand are two major areas for Eustoma ornamental breeding, cultivation, and research.

Notes: This genus is not related to the species that have the Latin name Lisianthius.

Accepted species (synonyms in parenthesis) and its distribution:

Eustoma exaltatum  
Eustoma grandiflorum  

 

References and publications

Shinners, L. H. 1957. Synopsis of the genus Eustoma (Gentianaceae). Southwest. Naturalist 2: 38-43.

Struwe, 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, Cambridge.

Wood, C. E., Jr. & R. E. Weaver, Jr. 1982. The genera of Gentianaceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 63: 441-487.

 Lena Struwe, 2003

 

Gentian Research Network, 2002-2011.
For corrections and additions, contact Lena Struwe at struwe@aesop.rutgers.edu