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Physical Description

Diagnostic Description

Formal Description


Erect shrubs 0.5–3 m tall. Stems one or sometimes few from base, the branches few, ascending at a ca. 45° angle, ± densely puberulent with minute simple 1-celled gland-tipped hairs, sparsely to densely pilose with simple 1–6-celled simple hyaline hairs 2–3.5 mm long; stems prickles dense, straight, acicular, 0.1–2 cm long, often fewer in upper flowering branches, glabrous except for scattered minute simple 1-celled gland-tipped hairs less than 0.1 mm long.

Sympodial Structure

Sympodial units 2-foliate, geminate or not.


Leaves simple, the blades 5–18 x 4–15 cm, single or geminate, if geminate then one about twice the size of the other, ± ovate, thin-textured, pilose (rarely glabrous) adaxially with 2–4-celled simple hyaline hairs 0.6–2.4 mm long, also with minute simple gland-tipped hairs 0.2 mm long on veins and a few scattered on the surface, puberulent abaxially with minute simple gland-tipped hairs on the veins, ± sparsely pilose with 1–3-celled simple hyaline hairs 0.5–2 mm long, with few to many sessile 4–5-rayed stellae 0.6–0.8 mm wide, sparsely armed adaxially and abaxially with prickles on the major veins similar to those of the petiole, grading down to very small ones on minor veins; base truncate; margin entire to deeply 4-lobed; apex acute; petioles of larger leaves 4–9 cm, with pubescence similar to that of the stems, the prickles 0–10, similar to those of the stem but only of the larger sizes.


Inflorescences 0.6–4 cm, extra-axillary, unbranched, with 3–10 flowers, with 1–8 fruits developing, the axes with pubescence similar to that of the stem; prickles straight, few (often none), less than 5 mm long; peduncle 0.5–3.5 cm in flower, 0.5–3.5 cm in fruit; rachis to 1 cm; pedicels 8–15 mm in flower, 15–25 mm in fruit, curved, sulcate and enlarged distally (4 mm thick in Nee 14155 when fresh) , nearly contiguous.


Flowers with the calyx 3–4 mm long, lobed 1/2 way to base, the tube 1–2 mm, the lobes 1.5–3 x 1–1.5 mm, narrowly triangular, the tips somewhat thickened and spreading, the margins slightly scarious, sparsely pilose with 2–4-celled simple hyaline hairs 1–1.6 mm long, with a few short prickles, or these usually lacking; fruiting calyx not accrescent, the lobes 2–3 x 1–1.8 mm, the tips thickened. Corollas 1–2 cm in diameter, 8–10 mm long, stellate, thin-textured, yellow-green, the tube 3–4 mm, narrowed but not conpsicuously constricted at base, the lobes 6–8 x 1.5–4 mm, lanceolate, spreading at anthesis, recurved but not coiling at apices, pilose abaxially with 2–4–celled simple hyaline hairs 0.6–2 mm long, glabrous adaxially. Stamens with filaments 1–2 mm long; anthers 4–6 mm long, 1.5–2 mm wide at base, rather abruptly tapering, yellow, free, the pores small and directed distally. Ovary with minute stipitate glands; style 6–7 x 0.5 mm, cylindrical, white; stigma truncate.


Fruits 1–2 cm in diameter, globose, yellow, yellowish-green, or white, often with darker green mottling, the surface glutinous when ripe but otherwise glabrous; pericarp 1.3–1.7 mm thick.


Seeds 40–75 per fruit (average = 59, n = 25), 3.2–3.6 mm in diameter, flattened, suborbicular, brown, the wing 0.8 mm wide.


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Life History and Behavior



Flowering and fruiting all year throughout most of its range in frost free areas, perhaps seasonal in the most southern and northern portions of its range.


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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Molecular Data

chloroplast trnS-G sequence: Genbank AY555454 (voucher Bohs 2714, UT). nuclear waxy (GBSSI) sequence: GenBank AY562949 (voucher: Bohs 2714, UT). chloroplast trnT-F sequence: GenBank AY266249 (voucher: Bohs 2714, UT). nuclear ITS sequence: GenBank AY561261 (voucher: Bohs 2714, UT).


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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems


Common Names and Uses

Brasil: arrebenta cavallo do reino (Peckolt 35). Colombia: guinda de viejo (Idrobo & Fernández 250); mancadera valluna, naranjilla espinosa (Duque 1716). Ecuador: ya me cure (Steyermark 54627). Costa Rica: berenjena (Orozco 437); rabo de chanco (Orozco 32, Standley 41862, Standley & Valerio 44064). Honduras: huistomate (Molina & Molina 27917). Guatemala: ixtú (Standley 69501). Colombia: yguillón (Daniel 4116).


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