Monographs Details: Clarisia
Authority: Berg, Cornelius C. 2001. Moreae, Artocarpeae, and (Moraceae): With introductions to the family and and with additions and corrections to Flora Neotropica Monograph 7. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 83: 1-346. (Published by NYBG Press)
Family:Moraceae
Scientific Name:Clarisia
Synonyms:Sahagunia, Soaresia, Acanthinophyllum, Aliteria, Clarisia racemosa Ruiz & Pav., Sahagunia mexicana Liebm., Clarisia biflora Ruiz & Pav., Soaresia nitida Allem, Clarisia racemosa Ruiz & Pav., Acanthinophyllum strepitans Allemão, Clarisia ilicifolia (Spreng.) Lanj. & Rossberg, Aliteria sagotii Benoist, Clarisia ilicifolia (Spreng.) Lanj. & Rossberg
Description:Genus Description - Trees or shrubs, dioecious; uncinate hairs present or absent. Leaves alternate and distichous; lamina pinnately veined; margin entire, (spinulose-)dentate or lobate; stipules free, lateral. Inflorescences paired or solitary in the axils of the leaves or on leafless (short-)shoots, bracteate; bracts basally attached to subpeltate, with or without embedded yellow dye-containing "glands." Staminate inflorescences spicate, with a distinct abaxial sterile strip; flowers crowded, in longitudinal rows; tepals (2-)3-6, free or connate; stamens 1-3; anthers basifixed, latrorse; pistillode absent. Pistillate inflorescences capitate or uniflorous; perianth tubular, subentire or 4-lobed; ovary adnate to the perianth or almost free; stigmas 2, equally long, filiform to band-shaped or tongue-shaped. Fruiting perianth enlarged, red, orange, pale yellow, or greenish; fruit adnate to the perianth; endocarp woody, crustacous, or coriaceous; seed large, without endosperm; testa amply vascularized; embryo longitudinally aligned, with equal and thick cotyledons and a very short apical radicle.

Discussion:The genus Clarisia was established by Ruiz & Pavon (1794) who described two species, C. biflora and C. racemosa. Both taxa were described again, each in another genus, Sahagunia Liebmann (1851) and Soaresia Allemão (1857) respectively. The third species was described in the Euphorbiaceae, in the genus Excoecaria by Sprengel (1821), as E. ilicifolia. The same species was also described in the genera Acanthinophyllum Allemao (1858) and Aliteria Benoist (1929), both created to accommodate the species. In a series of studies on Moraceae, Lanjouw (1936) included Sahagunia and the two genera created by Allemao in Clarisia and recognized eight species. In a revision of the genus, Burger (1962) reinstated Acanthinophyllum, in which he recognized two species, leaving in Clarisia only two species, namely those described by Ruiz & Pavón.

Clarisia biflora and C. racemosa can become tall trees, whereas C. ilicifolia is a shrub or small understory tree. The two former species have conspicuously warty, lenticellate bark. The bark on the base of the trunk and that on the roots are orange to red, due to accumulation of dye. Uncinate hairs are always present in C. ilicifolia, sometimes present in C. biflora, and have never been found in C. racemosa. The leaf margin of C. ilicifolia is often spinulose-dentate, and sometimes even lobate, but it is entire in the two other species.

The inflorescences in Clarisia biflora are usually borne in the axils of the leaves, but in the other species normally on leafless shoots either with long intemodes in (C. racemosa) or with short intemodes in (C. ilicifolia). On these shoots, the inflorescences occur in pairs and are subtended by scale-like bracts (= fused stipules). As the inflorescences of C. biflora and C. racemosa are usually uniflorous, the leafless shoot with the inflorescences, paired or solitary, forms a racemose structure, in descriptions often indicated as a raceme, although it is a compound inflorescence.

The staminate inflorescences are spicate, short, often subclavate or sometimes even subcapitate in Clarisia ilicifolia. The flowers are arranged in longitudinal rows, alternated with rows of bracts. At anthesis, the floral structure is ± obscure, especially in C. biflora and C. racemosa in which the tepals are usually free. The number of stamens is mostly reduced to one, but flowers with two stamens are not uncommon, and even flowers with three stamens can be sometimes found. The pollen grains of all Clarisia species have been described by Niezgoda and Nowaczyk (1976).

The pistillate inflorescences are discoid-capitate in Clarisia ilicifolia. Those of C. biflora and C. racemosa are usually uniflorous, but a second flower is sometimes present. The single flower is subtended by a small involucre consisting of 3-7 bracts. The ovary is adnate to the perianth in C. biflora and C. racemosa. It is almost free in C. ilicifolia at anthesis, but the fruit is adnate to the perianth. The endocarp varies considerably; it is coriaceous in C. biflora, thinly crustaceous in C. ilicifolia, and woody in C. racemosa. The vascularization is not confined to a thicker part of the testa. In Clarisia biflora, the perianth, the connective, the bracts, and the cotyledons have very small embedded 'glands" containing a yellow to orange dye.

Clarisia biflora and C. racemosa can be regarded as rather closely related species. The differences between these two species and C. ilicifolia occur, e.g., in the size of the plant, in the spinulose leaf margin and apex, and in the multiflorous pistillate inflorescences. Considering the occurrence of similar differences in other genera, none of them justifies separation at the generic level (cf. Burger, 1962). Separation at the section level is proposed herewith.