Latin name and synonyms:
Saccifolium Maguire & Pires,
Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 29: 242 (1978)
Only one species,
This rare species is only found on the peaks of the mountain of
Sierra de la Neblina, on the border between Venezuela and Brazil, close to
Saccifolium is a high-altitude plant (2700-3000 m above sea
level) and grows among rocks and on cliffs.
Shrub up to 60 cm tall, branches with lots of corky bark.
Leaves tightly arranged, opposite or possibly alternate, sac-shaped,
partly translucent, and with glands on the lower surface [Struwe et al.,
1998]. Flowers 5-merous, solitary, in the axils of leaves. Calyx rotate,
lobes nearly free (calyx divided almost to the base), with enlarged glands
at base of calyx (possibly colleters). Corollas tubular, widened in the
middle; corolla lobes short and imbricate in bud. Stamens inserted in the
lower part of the corolla tube, filaments flattened. Ovary sessile,
unilocular; placentas deeply protruding. Style long and thin. Fruits not
known (never collected as mature). Seeds from immature fruits not winged.
and related plants: Saccifolium
was initially placed in its own monotypic family, Saccifoliaceae [Maguire
& Pires, 1978], but recent phylogenetic studies has shown it is part of
the most basal (oldest) tribe of the Gentianaceae [Thiv et al., 1999].
Closely related to Saccifolium are such different and diverse
plants as Curtia,
Hockinia, Tapeinostemon, and the
chlorophyll-less Voyriella. Earlier reports that Saccifolium
was related to Gentiana were erroneous.
uses: None known.
unique leaves of Saccifolium are not found in any other plant.
They look like upside-down small sacs with a round opening (images).
Accepted species (synonyms in parenthesis) and their distribution:
Saccifolium bandeirae Maguire
B. & J. M. Pires. 1978. Saccifoliaceae – a new monotypic family of
the Gentianales. Pp. 230-245. In: B. Maguire & collaborators, editors.
The Botany of the Guayana Highland – Part X. Mem. New York Bot. Gard.
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,
L., P. J. M. Maas, O. Pihlar, & V. A. Albert. 1999. Gentianaceae. Pp.
474-542. In: P. E. Berry, K. Yatskievych, & B. K. Holst, editors.
Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, vol. 5. Missouri Botanical Garden, St.
M., L. Struwe, V. A. Albert, & J. W. Kadereit. 1999a. The phylogenetic
relationships of Saccifolium bandeirae
Maguire & Pires (Gentianaceae) reconsidered. Harvard Pap. Bot. 4:
© Lena Struwe, 2004