Monographs Details: Duggena hirsuta (Jacq.) Britton ex R.O.Williams & Cheesman
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - The literature cited above contains only about one half of the botanical names that have been given to this widely distributed, tropical shrub, owing to the diverse opinions by authors relative to its classification. Hans West, in his very rare book enumerating the plants of St. Croix, published in 1793, a photostat copy of which we have consulted, was the first to distinguish it generically. The shrub is frequent in moist or wet parts of Porto Rico, inhabiting woodlands and thickets, ascending to at least 700 meters elevation, ranges west into Santo Domingo and Haiti, through the Lesser Antilles from Saba to Trinidad, and has wide distribution in continental tropical America. Mata de mariposa, and Yerba pelada, are other recorded Spanish names. Its small, berry-like fruits are either white, or blue, strikingly different in color on plants sometimes growing in proximity.
Duggena was named by Hans West in honor of Duggen, but he did not record his reason for the designation, and we have found no record of Mr. Duggen's life. The genus includes about 25 species of tropical shrubs and small trees, the one here illustrated typical, and the only one growing in Porto Rico. They have opposite, stalked, untoothed leaves, and small, regular flowers in terminal clusters. The calyx, attached to the ovary, has 4, persistent lobes; the salverform, hairy corolla is usually 4-lobed, the lobed spreading; there are 4, rarely 5, short stamens; the ovary is 2-celled, or 4-celled, containing many ovules; the slender style is 2-cleft, or 4-cleft. The small, globose, fleshy fruits are 2-lobed, or 4-lobed, or grooved, and many-seeded.
Duggena hirsuta (hirsute, but the name is not definitive) is a shrub from 1 to 3 meters high, with long, slender branches appressed-hairy when young. The thin, pointed, slender-stalked leaves vary from ovate to lance-shaped, from smooth to quite hairy, and from 6 to 18 centimeters long; the long-pointed stipules are from 4 to 12 millimeters long. The slender flower-clusters are from 10 to 40 centimeters long, the individual flowers on very short stalks; the tube of the hairy calyx is about 2 millimeters long, the narrow lobes about as long; the white corolla is from 10 to 15 millimeters long, with lobes about one-half as long as the tube; there are 4 stamens, and the style is 2-cleft. The berry-like fruits are 3 or 4 millimeters in diameter, and 2-lobed.
Discussion:Rabo de raton
Justicia hirsuta Jacquin, Enumeratio Systematica Plantarum 11. 1760.
Lygistum spicatum Lamarck, Tableaux Encyclopedique et Methodique 1: 286. 1791.
Duggena Richardii West, Bidrag til Bes[k]erivelse over Ste. Croix 269. 1793.
Conzalagunia hirsuta Schuman, in Martius, Flora Brasiliensis 66: 291. 1889.
Duggena hirsuta Britton; Britton & Wilson, Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands 6: 229. 1925.