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updated: 01/19/11 

(Gentianaceae: Chironieae: Chironiinae)

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Common name: 

Latin name and synonyms: Zeltnera Mansion (2004)

Etymology: Zeltnera is dedicated to both Dr. Louis Zeltner (1938-) and his wife Nicole (1934-), from Le Locle, Switzerland. These two botanists have greatly contributed to the systematics of the genus Centaurium and related genera.

Species: 25 species

Distribution: Western North America, Central America, and northern South America.

Habitat:  Chaparral and creosote bush scrub, coastal sage scrub, grasslands, moist places along streams, pine oak-forest.

Characteristics:  Annual or biennial herbs (one perennial). Leaves glabrous, linear to elliptic, sometimes with glandular hairs. Flowers 5-merous. Inflorescence a simple or compound, dense or lax cyme (sometimes a panicle or a raceme). Calyx tube much shorter than the calyx lobes. Corolla white to rose-pink or magenta, salvershaped; corolla tube longer than or equaling the corolla lobes. Anthers helically twisted after dehiscence. Pollen released as monads. Style not divided beneath stigmata surface. Stigma lobes rhombic to fan-shaped (sometimes subcapitate), not fleshy. Fruit a capsule elliptic to oval in shape. Chromosome number: n = 17, 20, 21, 22, 37.

Evolution and related plants:  Zeltnera belongs to subtribe Chironiinae in tribe Chironieae.  The closest relatives are the genera Exaculum and Schenkia, which occur in the Mediterranean region and Australia (Schenkia p.p.).

Economic uses:  

Notes: This genus was recently described as a segregate of Centaurium by Mansion (2004), following work that showed that Centaurium consisted of 4 independent groups.  The other two segregate genera that are now accepted are called Schenkia and Gyrandra.

Accepted species (previously in Centaurium) and their distribution:

Zeltnera abramsii (Munz) Mansion United States (California)
Zeltnera arizonica (A. Gray) Mansion United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Sonora)
Zeltnera beyrichii (Torr. & A. Gray) Mansion United States (Texas, Oklahoma)
Zeltnera breviflora (Shinners) Mansion United States (Texas)
Zeltnera calycosa (Buckl.) Mansion United States (Texas), Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas)
Zeltnera davyi (Jeps.) Mansion United States (California)
Zeltnera exaltata (Griseb.) Mansion United States (California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington), Canada (British Colombia), Mexico (Baja California)
Zeltnera gentryi (Broome) Mansion  Mexico (Chihuahua)
Zeltnera glandulifera (Correl) Mansion United States (Texas)
Zeltnera madrensis (Hemsl.) Mansion Mexico (Durango, Jalisco, Sinaloa), 
Zeltnera martinii (Broome) Mansion Mexico (Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacan, Morelos), Honduras
Zeltnera maryanna (B. L. Turner) Mansion United States (New Mexico, Texas)
Zeltnera muhlenbergii (Griseb.) Mansion United States (California)
Zeltnera multicaulis (B. L. Robinson) Mansion Mexico (Chihuahua, Durango, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Sonora), United States (New Mexico, Texas). 
Zeltnera namophila (Reveal, Broome & Beatley) Mansion United States (Nevada)
Zeltnera nevadensis (Broome) Mansion United States (Nevada)
Zeltnera nudicaulis (Engelm.) Mansion United States (Chihuahua, Baja-California, Durango, Nayarit, Jalisco, Sinaloa, Sonora), United States (Arizona)
Zeltnera pusilla (Eastwood) Mansion Mexico (Jalisco, Michoacan)
Zeltnera quitensis (Kunth.) Mansion Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, West Indies), South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru), Mexico (Chiapas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Veracruz)
Zeltnera setacea (Benth.) Mansion Mexico (Durango, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Sinaloa), Guatemala
Zeltnera stricta (Schiede) Mansion Mexico (Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Oaxaca, Vera Cruz)
Zeltnera texensis (Griseb. ex Hook.) Mansion United States (Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma)
Zeltnera trichantha (Griseb.) Mansion United States (California)
Zeltnera venusta (Gray) Mansion United States (California), Mexico (Baja California)
Zeltnera wigginsii (Broome) Mansion Mexico (Durango, Nayarit,  Sinaloa)


References and publications

Mansion, G. M. 2004. A new classification of the polyphyletic genus Centaurium Hill (Chironiinae - Gentianaceae): Description of the New-World endemic Zeltnera, and reinstatement of Gyrandra Griseb. and Schenkia Griseb. Taxon 53: 719-740.

Mansion, G. M. & Zeltner, 2004. Phylogenetic relationships within the New World endemic Zeltnera (Gentianaceae-Chironiinae) inferred from molecular and karyological data. Am. J. Bot. 91.

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.

Guilhem Mansion, 2005


Gentian Research Network, 2002-2011.
For corrections and additions, contact Lena Struwe at