Monographs Details: Jacquinia barbasco (Loefl.) Mez
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Coastal thickets, composed of several different kinds of shrubs and small trees, growing under saline influence, within the reach of salt water spray or spume, are features of tropical vegetation, scarcely known in the temperate zones, where the maritime plants are nearly all herbaceous, their formation, may, be due to the continuous growth of woody, tropical plants throughout the year. Most of the species concerned are evidently unable to survive long beyond their natural habitat; this physiological adaptation is a of much interest and the reasons why they came by it are obscure; for the most part they are quite different from the apparently nearest related species of upland soils watered only by rainfall, and thus are unlikely to have been derived from them by any gradual process of evolution; a suggestion that they originated as mutants, induced by salt, may be worthy of consideration. Barbasco is a frequent element of coastal thickets in Porto Rico, and is widely distributed nearly throughout the West Indies.
The genus Jacquinia of Linnaeus was named in honor of Nicholas Joseph von Jacquin, a distinguished Austrian botanist, who lived from 1727 to 1817, and was the author of several rare and precious illustrated folio volumes describing plants grown in the imperial gardens near Vienna. It consists of about 25 species of tropical American trees and shrubs, 4 of them inhabiting Porto Rico. They have leathery, or stiff, opposite or verticillate, short-stalked leaves and small, clusterd flowers. The calyx is composed of 5, overlapping sepals; the corolla is usually salverform or bell-shaped, with 5 spreading lobes, there are 5 perfect stamens and 5 imperfect ones (staminodes), borne on the corolla-tube; the ovary contains several or many ovules, the style is short and the stigma small. The globose or ovoid fruit is leathery, and does not open to release the seeds.
Jacquina Barbasco is a shrub or a small tree, (Barbasco is its aboriginal name in Spanish America), occasionally 5 meters high, with rather stout, finely scaly twigs. Its leaves are broad, usually wider above the middle than below it, minutely scaly, somewhat fleshy, blunt, or notched, clustered, from 4 to 10 centimeters long, with a prominent midvein, but the lateral ventation is obscure. The white flowers are borne on slender stalks in clusters from 4 to 12 centimeters long, at the ends of the twigs; the round sepals are smooth and 2 or 3 millimeters long; the corolla is about 6 millimeters long. The nearly globular, orange fruit is 8 to 12 millimeters in diameter.
Chrysophyllum Barbasco Loefling, Iter Hispanicum 204. 277. 1758.
Jacquinia Barbasco Nez, Pflanzenreich 15: 32. 1903.