Monographs Details: Chamaecrista nictitans subsp. patellaria var. ramosa
Authors:Howard S. Irwin, Rupert C. Barneby
Authority: Irwin, Howard S. & Barneby, Rupert C. 1982. The American Cassiinae. A synoptical revision of Leguminosae tribe Cassieae subtrib Cassiinae in the New World. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 35, part 2: 455-918.
Synonyms:Cassia patellaria DC. ex Collad., Chamaecrista patellaria (DC. ex Collad.) Greene, Cassia biglandulosa Bertol., Cassia patellaria var. longifolia Benth., Chamaecrista villosissima Britton & Rose, Cassia villosissima (Britton & Rose) Lundell, Cassia patellaria var. glabrata Vogel, Chamaecrista patellaria (DC. ex Collad.) Greene
Description:Species Description - Monocarpic herbs of rapid maturation but sometimes of more than one season’s duration, usually coarsely and abundantly leafy, highly variable in habit and adult stature, with either one stem simple erect and wandlike, one erect and branched distally, or branched from the earliest lf-axils and the lateral stems then incurved-ascending, at early anthesis (1—) 1.5 dm upward, in fruit to 1.1 (— 1.6) m, pubescent usually almost throughout with short incurved and (especially lf-stalks and stems distally) longer widely spreading or spreading-incurved setae up to 0.6—1.3(—1.6) mm, the lfts commonly pilosulous on both faces and the hairs dorsally arising from minutely pustular base (but these sometimes filiform), the pubescence often lacking from 1 or both faces and persistent only as a minute ciliolation of the margin, the venation prominulous only beneath, the foliage dull olivaceous concolorous, the very small, fleeting fls supra-axillary, short-pedicellate. Stipules erect persistent lanceolate or lance-acuminate or -caudate, except for some small lowest ones (4-)5-14(-16) x (0.6-) 1.2-2 mm, at base rounded and slightly contracted on contrapetiolar side, the blades herbaceous, prominently (5-)7-ll-nerved. Lvs, disregarding some lowest short ones, (2-)2.5-8(-8.5) cm, shortly petioled, the stout lf-stalk usually incurved-ascending, the expanded blade ovate or broadly lanceolate in outline; petiole including the scarcely dilated pulvinus 3-6(-7) mm, openly sulcate-marginate; petiolar glands 1-2, if 2 then the distal commonly larger, this situated immediately below first pair of lfts, the second near or below middle of petiole proper, in outline orbicular or elliptic, plane and scutellate or by involution of the thick, pallid or rubescent margin becoming urceolate, either quite sessile or raised on a pediment or stout stipe to 0.4 mm, becoming then either shallowly tub-shaped or shortly trumpet-shaped or pileiform; rachis ±2-7 cm, the interfoliolar segments narrowly sulcate-marginate, the margins contracted at insertion of lfts but not upwardly dilated; lfts of adult lvs 10-23, of some larger lvs at least 12 pairs, in outline linear-oblong or obscurely linear-oblanceolate, the small subterminal ones often dimidiately narrow-obovate, straight or subfalcate, at apex obtuse or acute but aristate by excurrent costa, at base on proximal side obtusely angulate-auriculate, the midrib displaced by ±1/3-1/4 width of blade, slender but sharply prominulous beneath, stouter than the 2-3 weak basal nerves on its broad side, on narrow side faintly or obsoletely penninerved, on the broad side often more strongly so. Peduncles mostly 4-22(-27) mm, adnate almost their whole length to stem, solitary or commonly paired, the outer then much shorter, sometimes subaxillary, (l-)2-3(-4)-fld; pedicels at anthesis 0.5-3.5 mm, in fruit erect thickened 2-5.5(-6) mm, bracteolate near or above middle; bracteoles lance-subulate, 1.5—3 mm, persistent; buds slenderly ovoid-acuminate, at least thinly pilosulous; sepals submembranous greenish ovate- or lance-acuminate to 4—6.2 mm, petals yellow, fading orange by noon of first day, unequal, the 3 adaxial smaller obovate to spatulate 2.6-4.5 mm, the 2 abaxial larger, 1 subsymmetricaUy obovate, 3.6-5.5 mm, incurved over the gynoecium and its associated long anther, the cucullus of ± same length but oblique; stamens 9-10, the inner whorl always small, with short or abortive anthers, at least 2 of the outer whorl larger, with anthers (2.4—)2.5-3.8 mm; ovary densely white-pilose with appressed or ascending hairs; style 0.8—1.4(—1.6) mm, strongly incurved, ± enlarged upward and obliquely truncate at the stigma; ovules 8-13. Pod erect, linear-oblong, straight or slightly incurved, 2-4.5 x 0.3-0.42 cm, the valves brownish or deep reddish-puiplish-tinged, in age nigrescent, thinly or densely pilosulous; seeds subquadrate 2.1—3.2(—3.4) mm, the testa fuscous overall fuscous beyond the pallid base, or ochraceous and fuscous-lmeolate, shallow- pitted, dull, mucilaginous when wetted.—Collections: 301. Fig. 2 (petiolar nectary).

Distribution and Ecology - Native probably of both upland and seasonally flooded lowland savannas, llanos, campos, and of exposed unsettled habitats along rivers and shores, now colonial in disturbed or cut-over woodland, along highways, in suburban and pastoral waste places, and a weed of gardens and plantations (cafetal, cocal, bananal), mostly between sea level and 600 m but ascending in Mexico to 1100, in Venezuela to 1300, in s.-e. Brazil to 1550, in Colombia to 1600, and in Bolivia to 1700 m, interruptedly dispersed over much of the Neotropical zone e. of the Andes and outside the Amazonian Hylaea: Cuba (all provinces) and Jamaica; Gulf slope and coastal plain of Mexico from extreme s. San Luis Potosí to Tabasco and n. Chiapas; Belize; Costa Rica and Panama; very abundant in the Cauca and Magdalena valleys in Colombia, from Magdalena s. to Cauca and Huila, in Valle de Cauca extending to the Pacific coast (Buenaventura) and in Boyacá and Meta to the trans-Andine llanos; local in Venezuela (Maracaibo Basin, Cord. Costanera, one record each from Guárico and Bolívar) and the Guianas; local in Atlantic Amapá and lower Amazon valley and delta in Pará, Brazil; again locally plentiful over e. Brazil from s. Maranhão and Pernambuco to São Paulo and interior Rio Grande do Sul, s.-w. to Paraguay, n. Argentina (Formosa, Chaco, Corrientes, Misiones), and along the e. foothills of the Andes from San Martín, Peru, to the Yungas in Bolivia.—Fl. and fr throughout the year except where drought-inhibited.—Introduced (De Wit, 1955, p. 287) in Malaysia.


The syndrome of sessile glands, subdimidiate leaflets and very small asymmetric flowers which traditionally characterized var. ramosa (=Cassia patellaria sensu Bentham and all subsequent authors) is a strong one and it is with some reluctance that we here reduce the species to varietal status. In the context of the whole complex of Neotropical annual small-flowered chamaecristas the single unique character of C. patellaria is, however, the emphatic displacement of the midrib, and even this is not a fixed quality, but varies with the breadth of the leaflet, the midrib becoming in relatively broad ones hardly more excentric than in narrower leaflets of var. glabrata. Furthermore some ambiguous Puerto Rican plants (e.g. Sintenis 3899, NY, US; Underwood & Griggs 241, NY), with the venation of the latter on the same plant with the flower of C. patellaria, fully bridge any gap between the two. In the narrower context of our subsp. patellaria the var. ramosa is distinguished by the dilated style-tip which in the bud is incurved toward the orifice of one long anther and generally receives pollen from it before expansion of the corolla. But this device, which promotes a probably obligate autogamy, is repeated in subsp. nictitans var. jaliscensis and subsp. disadena var. pilosa, thereby losing some of its diagnostic weight. The closely related var. paraguariensis which, under different names, has often been confused with var. ramosa, largely no doubt because of its similar glands, is more easily distinguished by the truly subcentric midrib and consequently subsymmetric leaflets. These in sleep tend to fold face-to-face in a plane parallel to the leaf-stalk, completely concealing this with a linear series of vertically overlapping blades, rather than ascending, as in var. ramosa, at an acute angle from the rachis, in a closed rank of comblike tines.

Four sheets in the Flora Brasiliensis herbarium (M) which represent a coarsely leafy form of var. ramosa were cited by Bentham in the protologue of C. subtriflora Mart, ex Benth. Although one of these (=IPA Neg. 1390, F Neg. 6259) is labelled ‘São Gonçalo d’Amarante, Piauí and the other three ‘Barra do Rio Negro’ (i.e. Manaus), they seem to be duplicates of one collection, precisely similar in details of ontogeny and superficial discoloration of tissues. We believe them to be the plants intended by Martius to bear the name C. subtriflora and the cited photographs were taken under the misapprehension that they are ho- lotypic for that species. Bentham’s concept of C. subtriflora, however, even though he cited these small-flowered plants of var. ramosa, was substantially and explicitly based on material of the large-flowered, longistyled Ch. repens var. multijuga (q.v.).

The earliest collection of var. ramosa known to us is a plant sent from Veracruz by Dr. Houston in 1730 (BM, hb. Mill.!), accompanied by polynomial diagnoses by Houston himself and by Philip Miller. These phrase-names do not correspond, however, with any published in the eighth edition of Gardeners’ Dictionary (1768).

Distribution:Mexico North America| Venezuela South America| Brazil South America| Colombia South America| Bolivia South America| Cuba South America| Jamaica South America| San Luis Potosí Mexico North America| Tabasco Mexico North America| Chiapas Mexico North America| Belize Central America| Costa Rica South America| Panama Central America| Cauca Colombia South America| Magdalena Colombia South America| Huila Colombia South America| Boyacá Colombia South America| Meta Colombia South America| Bolívar Venezuela South America| Guárico Venezuela South America| Misiones Argentina South America| Formosa Argentina South America| Chaco Argentina South America| Corrientes Argentina South America| San Martín Peru South America| Yungas Bolivia South America| Malaysia Asia|