Chiococca alba (L.) Hitchc.

  • Authority

    Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.

  • Family


  • Scientific Name

    Chiococca alba (L.) Hitchc.

  • Description

    Species Description - Delicately beautiful through slender clusters of small, yellow flowers among dark green leaves, followed by small, pure white, round fruits, this shrub, or woody vine ranges nearly throughout tropical America, northward into northern Mexico, southern Florida and the Bahama Islands, south to Peru and Brazil. It is common in woodlands and thickets in Porto Rico, growing in both moist and dry districts, from sea-level to higher elevations, variable in the size of flowers and leaves, also inhabits the islands Mona and Vieques, and is the only species of the genus in the Porto Rico Flora. Chiococca (Greek, snowberry) is a genus proposed by Patrick Brown, author of a rare folio volume describing the plants of Jamaica, and accepted by Linnaeus in 1759, who had first classified the typical species here illustrated as a Honeysuckle. About 10 species are known, natives of tropical and subtropical America, all evergreen shrubs or woody vines, with opposite, broad, untoothed leaves, broad stipules, and small, yellow or white flowers, in axillary clusters. The calyx has an ovoid or top-shaped tube and a 5-toothed limb; the corolla is funnelform, or narrowly bell-shaped, with 5, spreading or reflexed lobes, which do not overlap; there are 5, short stamens borne on the corolla-tube, with usually hairy filaments, and narrow anthers; the ovary, adnate to the calyx-tube, is 2-oelled, with only 1 ovule in each cavity, the style very slender. The orbicular, compressed, or at length nearly globular fruits are firm in texture, bright white, capped by the persistent limb of the calyx. Chiococca alba (white) is a smooth shrub from 1 to 3 meters high, with slender, spreading branches, or a vine 5 meters long, or longer. The short-stalked leaves are elliptic, ovate, or lance-shaped, firm in texture, pointed, or blunt, from 2 to 8 centimeters long, the midvein prominent, the lateral veins few and obscure. The flowers are several or many in slender clusters, longer than the leaves, or shorter; the yellow corolla is from 6 to 9 millimeters long, lobed nearly to the middle. The fruits are from 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter.

  • Discussion

    Bejuco de berac West Indian Snowberry Madder Family Lonicera alba Linnaeus, Species Plantarum 175. 1753. Chiococca racemosa Linnaeus, Systems Naturae, edition 10, 917. 1759. Chiococca alba Hitchcock, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 4: 94. 1893.