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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Gesneriaceae

Chirita Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don


Description from Flora of China

Babactes A. P. de Candolle ex Meisner; Ceratoscyphus W. Y. Chun; Deltocheilos W. T. Wang.

Herbs, perennial or rarely annual, terrestrial or epipetric, often rhizomatous, stemless or with simple or branched stems. Leaves few to many, basal or along stem and opposite, seldom in whorls of 3 or alternate, unequal to equal in a pair; leaf blade puberulent to villous or velutinous, rarely glabrous, base cuneate to cordate, rarely attenuate. Inflorescences umbel-like, lax or dense, axillary, 1- to many-flowered cymes; bracts 2, opposite, rarely to 7 and whorled, 1, or absent. Calyx actinomorphic or slightly zygomorphic, 5-sect from base or (3-)5-lobed; segments equal to subequal. Corolla purple to blue or white to yellow, pink or purple-red, rarely flesh colored, zygomorphic, inside puberulent, glandular puberulent, or glabrous; tube funnelform-tubular to campanulate or cylindric, not swollen or gibbous abaxially, longer than limb, 0.2-2 cm in diam.; limb 2-lipped; adaxial lip 2-lobed, slightly to 2-3.5 X shorter than abaxial lip; abaxial lip 3-lobed, lobes equal or central lobe longer, apex rounded, rarely to obtuse. Stamens 2, adnate to abaxial side of corolla tube near or above middle, included; anthers dorsifixed, coherent, thecae divaricate, confluent at apex, dehiscing longitudinally; connective not projecting; staminodes (absent or 1-)3, adnate to adaxial or adaxial and abaxial sides of corolla tube. Disc ringlike. Ovary linear, 1-loculed; placentas 2, parietal, projecting inward, seldom 2-loculed, abaxial locule sterile, or placenta 1, axile, projecting inward, 2-cleft. Stigma 1, abaxial, obtriangular to oblong, flabellate, obtrapeziform, or lamelliform, 2-lobed to undivided. Capsule straight, rarely oblique in relation to pedicel, linear to very narrowly ovoid, much surpassing calyx, dehiscing loculicidally to base, rarely only adaxial locule dehiscing; valves 2 or 4, straight, not twisted. Seeds unappendaged.

About 140 species: Bhutan, Borneo, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam; 99 species in China.

Chirita is divided into three sections: Chirita sect. Gibbosaccus C. B. Clarke (approximately 91 species in China and Vietnam; spp. 1-81 in China), Chirita sect. Chirita (about 39 species in Bhutan, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam; spp. 82-98 in China), and Chirita sect. Microchirita C. B. Clarke (about 18 species in Borneo, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam; sp. 99 in China). The last section consists of annuals (rarely perennials) with peduncles fused to the petiole and anthers fused only by projections on their connectives. The first two sections are usually perennials (rarely annuals) with peduncles free from petioles and anthers fused by their entire adaxial surfaces. Section Gibbosaccus has calyces 5-sect from base or rarely 5-lobed and stigmas 0.5-3 mm wide, while sect. Chirita has 5-lobed calyces and stigmas 2.4-5.8 mm wide. Chirita umbrophila ChiritaumbrophilaC. Y. Wu ex H. W. Li (Bull. Bot. Res., Harbin 3(2): 38. 1983), which is known only from a fruiting specimen without persistent stigma, is impossible to determine whether it belongs in Chirita.

Observations of several cultivated species of Chirita show that the basal leaves may be ternate as well as opposite, and this may be true of others. The margin of calyx lobes, which is of diagnostic significance in several species, varies from entire to denticulate on a single cultivated plant of C. fimbrisepala. Therefore, variation in these characters needs further study to determine their taxonomic value.

After publication of the family treatment for the Flora of China, the genus was revised by A. Weber et al. (Molecular systematics and remodeling of Chirita and associated genera (Gesneriaceae). Taxon 60: 767-790. 2011)

  • List of lower taxa


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