Monographs Details: Palicourea riparia Benth. ex Müll.Arg.
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - Frequent in thickets, woodlands, and on hillsides, sometimes on river-banks, this shrub or small tree grows in moist or wet districts in Porto Rico, from sea-level up to at least 650 meters elevation; its distribution includes Jamaica, Cuba, Tortola, the Lesser Antilles from St. Kitts to Trinidad, and from British Guiana to Brazil. We have found no popular names in use.
Palicourea (a Guiana name) is a genus established by the French botanist Aublet, in the important work describing and illustrating plants of French Guiana, published in 1775, and now rare; about 125 species are known, all natives of tropical America; besides the species here illustrated, there are 5 others in Porto Rico. The genus is closely related to psychotria, differing in the long corolla-tube, that Psychotria being short. Palicoureas are shrubs or trees, with opposite, untoothed leaves, their flowers in terminal clusters, the individual ones short-stalked, or stalkless. The top-shaped, or hemispheric calyx-tube is attached to the ovary; the corolla is elongated, with a nearly cylindric, or funnelform tube, often swollen at the base, the 5 lobes not overlapping, the throat often hairy within; the 5 stamens are borne on the throat of the corolla; the usually 2-celled ovary has only 1 ovule in each cell; the style is topped by a 2-lobed stigma. The small, fleshy fruit contains 2, angled, or crested pyrenes, each 1-seeded.
Palicourea riparia (of river-banks, where it sometimes grows) may form a small tree about 6 meters high, but is usually a branched shrub, with round, smooth twigs. The stalked, elliptic or ovate, rather thin leaves are pointed, from 6 to 20 centimeters long, smooth above, with tufts of hairs in the axils of the veins beneath. The numerous flowers form clusters about as broad as long, or broader, their branches and the short flower-stalks red; the calyx is about 1.5 millimeters long, the yellow corolla about 12 millimeters long. The black, compressed, ovate fruit is about 5 millimeters long.
Palicourea riparia Bentham, in Hooker's Journal of Botany 3: 224. 1841.