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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 

Tetrapollinia
(Gentianaceae: Helieae)

more images
The convoluted history of the name Lisianthus

Common name: None known.

Latin name and synonyms: Tetrapollinia Maguire & Boom, Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 51: 31 (1989).

Etymology: This genus is named after its pollen grains that are fused four together into a tetrad (Tetra = four, pollinia =pollen). The species Tetrapollinia caerulescens is named after its sometimes blue flowers (caerulescens = darkblue).

Species: Only one species, Tetrapollinia caerulescens.

Distribution: In the Amazon Basin and southwards in South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela).

Habitat:  Savannas and often wet grasslands

Characteristics:  A single-stemmed annual, sometimes very small and inconspicuous. Leaves are sessile, linear (rarely narrowly ovate), and usually only with midvein. Inflorescence a terminal cyme with monochasial branches, with 120 flowers; bracts scale-like. Flowers 5-merous. Calyx campanulate, with dorsal keels along lobes, the lobes long and triangular, with acute apices; corolla funnelshaped, varying from white, blue, pink to purple, with triangular or ovate lobes with acute apices. Pollen in tetrads, the exine spinose. Fruit a capsule, opening from apex

Evolution and related plants:   Tetrapollinia is placed close to Aripuana, Chelonanthus uliginosus, and Irlbachia pratensis in evolutionary studies.  However, other species of Chelonanthus and Irlbachia are not closely related to Tetrapollinia.

Economic uses:  None known.

Notes: This is a rather variable species, ranging from a small 1-inch tall annual to a foot high.  The plant always has slender stems and thin leaves, and is morphologically most similar to Irlbachia pratensis.

Accepted species (synonyms in parenthesis) and their distribution:

Tetrapollinia caerulescens (Aubl.) Maguire & Boom
(
Lisyanthus caerulescens Aubl., Irlbachia caerulescens (Aubl.) Griseb., Helia caerulescens (Aubl.) Kuntze)
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela

 

References and publications

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.

Lena Struwe, 2004

 

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