Monographs Details: Cassia tetraphylla var. littoralis H.S.Irwin
Authors:Howard S. Irwin
Authority: Irwin, Howard S. 1964. Monographic Studies in Cassia (Leguminosae-Caesalpinioideae). I. Section Xerocalyx. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 12 (1): 1-114.
Description:Latin Diagnosis - Planta fruticosa aut suffruticosa ad 1 m alt. ramis procumbentibus ascendenti- busve, glabris puberulentibusve, saepe e caule radices agentibus. Stipulae adpressae persistentes late lanceolatae ovataeve, acutae acuminatae, raro obtusae, 0.6-1.4 cm long., 3.0-6.5 mm lat., glabrae integrae. Petiolus 3.5-6.7 mm long., puberulens pubescensve, superficie abaxiali interdum parce pilosa, pilis distaliter directis; rachis aeque longa ac petiolus aut 0.7 brevior, terminaliter aristata. Gians 1 scutellata aut non profunde urceolata, 0.2-0.5 mm lat., sessilis aut depressa obscuraque. Foliola bijugata, raro trijugata, paribus subaequis aut pari superiore paululum maiore, per pulvinulum parvum arcuatum atrum brunneumve c. 0.7 mm long, sessilia, oblanceolata ovatave ad suborbicularia, recta, ad basim obliqua, glabra, interdum glauca, firme membranacea, 1.1-2.0 cm long., 4.2-11.3 mm lat.; margines integri, saepe distaliter undulati, apice rotundato aut late obtuso. Flores axillares, singulares aut binae, in surculis horizontalibus valde secundae; pedicelli recti aut sursum arcuati, puberulentes aut raro glabri, 2.2-3.0 cm long., c. 0.5 mm crass, dum frugiferentes; bracteae 2, late lanceolatae aut ovatae, 1.6-2.4 mm long., 0.9-1.6 mm lat.; bracteolae suboppositae, adpressae, lineari-lanceolatae, 1.9-2.6 mm long., 0.4-0.9 mm lat.; sepala lanceolata glabra 0.7-1.3 cm long., 2.5-3.2 mm lat.; petala flava 1.4-1.7 cm long., 1.1-1.5 cm lat.; stamina flava; ovarium cinereo-sericeum. Siliqua anguste oblonga, 3.0-4.4 cm long., 5.7-6.8 mm lat., superficies super semina quasi cristata, parce puberulens, suturis copiosius puberulentibus etiam pubescentibus. Semina levia dura atro-brunnea aut atra complanata, 3.4-4.9 mm long., 1.1-1.5 mm lat.

Species Description - Shrub or subshrub to 1 m with procumbent or ascending branches, glabrous or puberulent, often stem-rooting. Stipules broadly lanceolate or ovate, acute or acuminate, rarely obtuse, 0.6-1.4 cm long, 3.0-6.5 mm broad, glabrous. Petiole 3.5-6.7 mm long, puberulent or pubescent, the abaxial surface sometimes sparsely pilose with distally-directed hairs; rachis 0.7-1.0 as long as petiole. Gland 1, scutellate or shallowly urceolate, 0.2-0.5 mm broad, sessile or depressed and obscure. Leaflets bijugate, rarely trijugate, the pairs subequal or the superior pair slightly larger, joined to rachis by a small arcuate black or brown pulvinule ca. 0.7 mm long, oblanceolate or obovate to suborbicular, straight, oblique at base, glabrous, sometimes glaucous, firmly membranaceous, 1.1-2.0 cm long, 4.2-11.3 mm broad; margins often distally undulate, the apex rounded or broadly obtuse. Flowers solitary or rarely in pairs, strongly secund on horizontal shoots; pedicels straight or arching upward, puberulent or rarely glabrous, 2.2-3.0 cm long and ca. 0.5 mm thick in flower, up to 5.5 cm long and 1.0 mm thick in fruit; bracts 2, broadly lanceolate or ovate, 1.6-2.4 mm long, 0.9-1.6 mm broad; bracteoles subopposite, appressed, linear- lanceolate, 1.9-2.6 mm long, 0.4-0.9 mm broad; sepals lanceolate, glabrous, 0.7-1.3 cm long, 2.5-3.2 mm broad; petals 1.4-1.7 cm long, 1.1-1.5 cm broad; ovary gray-sericeous. Pod narrowly oblong, 3.0-4.4 cm long, 5.7-6.8 mm broad, laces somewhat sulcate between the seeds, glabrate or sparingly puberulent, the sutures more copiously puberulent or even pubescent. Seeds 8-15, flattened, 3.4-4.9 mm long, 1.1-1.5 mm broad. Chromosome number: not determined.

Distribution and Ecology - Distribution: Brazil, from Bahia southward along the coast to Santa Catarina. Occurring in coastal dunes, meadows, and restingas in sandy soil.


This taxon is distinguished from other members of the C. tetraphylla complex by its low habit, frequent adventitious rooting, stipule size, small glands, and thinner leaflet blades. Its distribution in Espirito Santo is presumptive; as yet no material from that state has been seen. The poorly documented Bahia exsiccatae are imprecisely labelled with respect to locality, but morphologically agree with this taxon.

According to Urban’s biographical notes about Sellow in Flora Brasiliensis (Martius 1906), the type was collected in the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro. Material subsequently collected at Rio, and especially further east at Cabo Frio, has, in general, broader leaflets and longer pedicels. In material from the southern part of this taxon’s range, particularly in Santa Catarina, the leaflets are generally larger, more nearly approaching the maximum foliolar dimensions given in the description. Bahia exsiccatae have uniformly lanceolate, often thicker leaflets, also averaging somewhat longer then in those of the Rio material. The uniformity of these characters in their respective areas suggests the existence of a number of isolated populations.

Unlike the case in C. ramosa Vog., there is no geographical contiguity between C. tetraphylla var. littoralis and any other component of the C. tetraphylla complex. Throughout most of the range of this variety, the disjunction between it and inland populations of other infraspecific taxa of C. tetraphylla spans not only a distance of 100 miles or more, most of it heavily forested, but also an escarpment involving an altitudinal change of 1000 feet or more. Only in parts of Bahia is there geographical contiguity between the inland and littoral habitats favored by C. tetraphylla var. littoralis and other taxa, but in this region collections are so few and data so fragmentary that no certain statement can be made.


Distribution:Brazil South America| Guanabara Brazil South America| Bahia Brazil South America| Santa Catarina Brazil South America| Rio de Janeiro Brazil South America|