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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 22 | Commelinaceae

4. Callisia Loefling, Iter Hispanicum. 305. 1758.

[Greek kallos, beauty, referring to the attractive leaves]

Cuthbertia Small; Leiandra Rafinesque; Phyodina Rafinesque; Tradescantella Small

Herbs, perennial or rarely annual. Roots thin, rarely tuberous. Leaves spirally arranged or 2-ranked; blade sessile. Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary, cyme pairs (often aggregated into larger spikelike or paniclelike units), cymes sessile, umbel-like, contracted, subtended by bracts; bracts inconspicuous, less than 1 cm; spathaceous bracts absent; bracteoles persistent. Flowers bisexual (bisexual and pistillate in C. repens), radially symmetric; pedicels very short or well developed; sepals distinct, subequal; petals distinct, white or pink to rose [rarely blue], equal, not clawed; stamens 6 or 0--3, all fertile, equal; filaments glabrous or bearded; ovary 2--3-locular, ovules [1--]2 per locule, 1-seriate. Capsules 2--3-valved, 2--3-locular. Seeds [1-]2 per locule; hilum punctiform; embryotega abaxial. x = 6--8.

Species ca. 20 (7 in the flora): se United States, tropical America; major center of distribution in Mexico.


Anderson, E. and R. E. Woodson Jr. 1935. The species of Tradescantia indigenous to the United States. Contr. Arnold Arbor. 9: 1--132. Lakela, O. 1972. Field observations of Cuthbertia (Commelinaceae) with description of a new form. Sida 5: 26--32.

1 Flowers white, filaments glabrous; plants creeping, or ascending and stoloniferous.   (2)
+ Flowers pink to rose, filaments bearded; plants erect to ascending, or creeping.   (4)
2 (1) Robust, stoloniferous plants to 1 m; leaves oblong to lanceolate-oblong, 15--30 cm; flowers fragrant   5 Callisia fragrans
+ Weak, mat-forming plants; leaves lanceolate to ovate, 1--3.5 cm; flowers odorless.   (3)
3 (2) Inflorescences sessile in distal leaf axils; flowers sessile or subsessile; petals inconspicuous; stamens 0--6; ovary and capsule 2-locular   6 Callisia repens
+ Inflorescences pedunculate; flowers distinctly pedicellate; petals conspicuous; stamens 6; ovary and capsule 3-locular   7 Callisia cordifolia
4 (1) Plants creeping; leaves oblong-elliptic to lanceolate-oblong, 1--3.5 cm   4 Callisia micrantha
+ Plants erect to ascending; leaves linear, mainly 5--25 cm.   (5)
5 (4) Distal leaf blades as wide as opened, flattened sheaths or wider, 0.4--1.5 cm wide   1 Callisia rosea
+ Distal leaf blades much narrower than opened, flattened sheaths, 0.1--0.5 mm wide.   (6)
6 (5) Plants not cespitose or scarcely so; roots persistently woolly; bracts usually minute, scarious, 1--3(--7) mm   2 Callisia ornata
+ Plants cespitose; roots glabrous to sparsely puberulent; bracts often elongate, ± herbaceous, 2--14 mm   3 Callisia graminea

Lower Taxa


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