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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae

19. Prosartes D. Don, Proc. Linn. Soc. London. 1: 48. 1839.

[Greek prosarto, to append, alluding to the pendulous ovules in the type species]

Frederick H. Utech

Disporum Salisbury sect. Prosartes (D. Don) Q. Jones

Herbs, from slender, knotty rhizomes with fibrous roots, generally pubescent throughout. Stems branched distally, with 2–5 papery bracts sheathing proximally. Leaves sessile or subsessile; blade broadly ovate to oblanceolate, veinlets forming loose reticulum. Inflorescences strictly terminal. Flowers 1–4(–7) in a cluster, nodding, pedicellate; tepals deciduous, distinct, weakly gibbous proximally; stamens hypogynous, basally adnate to tepals; filaments filiform to basally dilated; anthers linear-oblong, extrorse; ovary superior, sessile, 3-locular, narrowly ellipsoid to obovoid, ovules 2–6 per locule, pendulous or horizontal; style included or exserted, filiform; stigma not lobed or weakly 3-lobed; pedicel slender. Fruits baccate, straw-colored to red, ± fleshy. Seeds light yellow to orangish brown, ellipsoid to oblong, smooth. x = 6, 8, 9, 11.

Species 5 (5 in the flora): North America.

The American species have long been treated as section Prosartes of the otherwise Asian genus Disporum (H. Hara 1988; Q. Jones 1951). However, cytological, morphological, and molecular evidence indicates a degree of difference that justifies generic status for this group (M. N. Tamura et al. 1992; Z. K. Shinwari et al. 1994; T. Fukuhara and Z. K. Shinwari 1994). Within Prosartes there are two disjunct, east-west pairs: P. lanuginosa and P. hookeri, and P. trachycarpa and P. maculata (F. H. Utech et al. 1995; C. E. Wood Jr. 1970).


Jones, Q. 1951. A cytotaxonomic study of the genus Disporum in North America. Contr. Gray Herb. 173: 1–39. Shinwari, Z. K. et al. 1994. Recognition of the New World Disporum section Prosartes as Prosartes (Liliaceae) based on the sequence of the rbcL gene. Taxon 43: 353–366. Utech, F. H., Z. K. Shinwari, and S. Kawano. 1995. Biosystematic studies in Disporum (Liliaceae-Asparagoideae-Polygonateae). VI. Recognition of the North American section Prosartes as an autonomous genus. Mem. Fac. Sci. Kyoto Univ., Ser. Biol. 16: 1–41.

1 Ovary broadly ovoid to obovoid or obconic to obpyriform, becoming 3-lobed after anthesis, papillose, sometimes also with ascending, stellate glandular hairs; ovules horizontal; leaf margins moderately pubescent, hairs scattered, flattened.   (2)
+ Ovary ellipsoid or ovoid to obovoid, glabrous or somewhat pubescent; ovules pendulous; leaf margins glabrous or short-pubescent.   (3)
2 (1) Leaf apex acute, with 7–9 prominent veins; tepals lacking purple spots and basal claws, 8–15 mm; ovary finely papillose; berries reddish orange to bright red; cordilleran and interior North America.   4 Prosartes trachycarpa
+ Leaf apex acuminate, with (3–)5 prominent veins; tepals spotted with purple, narrowly clawed basally, 15–25 mm; ovary papillose with stellate glandular hairs; berries pale straw-colored; e North America.   5 Prosartes maculata
3 (1) Stems freely branched; leaf margins glabrous or sparsely pubescent; perianth cylindrical, truncate basally; tepals 15–28 mm; berries 3–6-seeded; coastal w North America.   3 Prosartes smithii
+ Stems sparingly branched; leaf margins short-pubescent, hairs pointed sharply forward; perianth turbinate, narrowed basally; tepals 8–22 mm; berries 1–4(–6)-seeded; e, w North America.   (4)
4 (3) Tepals greenish yellow, linear-lanceolate, apex long-acuminate; ovary glabrous; stigma weakly 3-lobed; abaxial leaf surface lanulose, densely so on veins; e North America.   1 Prosartes lanuginosa
+ Tepals creamy white, oblanceolate, apex short-acuminate; ovary glabrous or somewhat pubescent; stigma unlobed or rarely 3-lobed; abaxial leaf surface scabrous or puberulent, especially on veins; w North America.   2 Prosartes hookeri

Lower Taxa


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