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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 

Obolaria
(Gentianaceae: Gentianeae: Swertiinae)

more images
Plants named after Obolaria

Common name:  Pennywort, Virginia pennyleaf, Virginia Pennywort

Latin name and synonyms: Obolaria Linnaeus (1753)

Species:  1 species only, Obolaria virginica.

Distribution:  North America - Southeastern United States from Texas and Florida to New Jersey and Ohio.

Habitat:  Forests.

Characteristics:   Mycotropic, perennial herb with little chlorophyll, about 10 cm tall. Fleshy stems and spathulate or scale-like, purplish leaves.  Flowers in groups of three in the leaf axils. Calyx with two free, leaf-like (or scale-like) sepals. Corolla 4-merous, imbricate in bud, campanulate, and corolla tube has fimbriate scales on the inside. Stamens 4, inserted in the sinuses between the corolla lobes. Style short.

Evolution and related plants:   Obolaria is placed in subtribe Swertiinae in tribe Gentianeae, and is one of the more basally positioned (older) genera in this group.

Economic uses:  None recorded.

Notes: Obolaria has an unusual 2-lobed calyx and it has been discussed if the calyx is lacking and these are two bracts instead (see Knoblauch, 1894).

Accepted species (synonyms in parenthesis) and its distribution:

Obolaria virginica southeastern United States

 

References and publications

Gillett, J. M. 1959. A revision of Bartonia and Obolaria (Gentianaceae). Rhodora 61: 43-62.

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