Desmanthus virgatus (L.) Willd.

  • Authority

    Acevedo-Rodríguez, Pedro & collaborators. 1996. Flora of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 78: 1-581.

  • Family


  • Scientific Name

    Desmanthus virgatus (L.) Willd.

  • Description

    Species Description - Erect or decumbent herb or subshrub, 0.5-2 m tall, few branched from a taprooted base; branches angled, with corky ridges, reddish or green, sparsely pubescent. Leaves 4.4-11 cm long; pinnae 2-4 pairs; rachis canaliculate, sparsely pubescent, with an annular gland at base of lowest pair of pinnae; leaflets opposite, 9-21 pairs, 5-10 X 1.2-3.3 mm , oblong to linear, chartaceous, the apex rounded and mucronate, the base roundedacute, asymmetrical, the margins ciliate; stipules 3-6 mm long, bristle-like, auriculate at base^ usually pubescent. Inflorescences (heads) axillary, on peduncles 1-4.5 cm long, with bisexual, male and sterile, sessile flowers; bracts triangular. Calyx 1-3 mm long, glabrous, with white margins; petals oblanceolate, 3-4 mm long, white; stamens 10, 5-7 mm long; ovary glabrous, linear. Legume 4.5-8.5 x 0.3-4 cm, linear, flattened, the valves brown, lighter along the margins, dehiscent with the sutures curling back over the valves. Seeds 13-22 per pod, transversally inserted, 2.4-3.2 mm long, flattened, black or reddish brown.

  • Discussion

    Acuan bahamense Britton & Rose, N. Amer. Fl. 23: 132. 1928.

    Desmanthus depressus Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd., Sp. PL 4: 1046. 1806.

    The material herein recognized under D. virgatus has recently been annotated by Dr. Denton as D. leptophylus Kunth, D. pernambucanus (L.) Thell., and D. virgatus. In reexamining this material, I could see no strong differences that would lead me to recognize three species rather than just D. virgatus. The only character that would separate the St. Johnian material into more than one species is the habit, a rather variable feature that seems to be related to habitat

  • Distribution

    Common in open and disturbed areas. Cruz Bay (A2316), Fish Bay (A3904), Reef Bay Trail (A2722). Also on Anegada, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda; throughout the West Indies, Guyana, and Surinam to the coast of northeastern Brazil.

    Suriname South America| Guyana South America| West Indies| Virgin Gorda Virgin Islands South America| Tortola Virgin Islands South America| Saint Thomas Virgin Islands of the United States South America| Saint Croix Virgin Islands of the United States South America| Anegada Virgin Islands South America|