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Cantua quercifolia

Cantua quercifolia Juss., Ann. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 3: 118, 1804.—Type: de Jussieu 4932, Peru, Dept. Cajamarca, Cajamarca, (holotype: P).

Erect, branching shrub or small tree, 1.4–4 m tall, glandular villous throughout. Leaves alternate, the axillary shoots appearing fascicled prior to elongation, blades sub-coriaceous to soft and herbaceous, variable in size, 3–9.2 cm long, 1–4.0 cm broad, elliptic, lanceolate obovate, sinuate crenate, with an acute apex, cuneate at base, sessile (rarely clasping) to short petioled, the petiole 2–10 mm long, glandular villous. Inflorescences composed of few- to many-flowered, erect, cymose, corymbs, terminating lateral shoots. Peduncles variable in length, 1–8 mm long, erect, villous glandular.  Calyx hyaline and herbaceous only along primary vasculature, tubular-campanulate, 1.8–2.6 cm long, more or less radially symmetric, tube 10–16 mm long, 4–8 mm in diameter, lobes 5, triangular-acute to attenuate, 8–12 mm long, 2–3 mm broad at base of lobe, external calyx glandular villous.  Corolla salverform, 3.2–4.2 cm long, the tube 2.3–3.0 cm long, 4–8 mm in diameter, white, cream or yellow, glabrous, corolla lobes suborbicular to ovate, 10–11 mm long and 7.5–8.5 mm wide, white, margin not ciliate hairy; more or less radially symmetrical.  Stamens exserted, adnate to and inserted well below the mid-tube, filaments 2.5–4.8 cm long, glabrous, white to cream in color, subequal in length; anthers versatile, cordate to sagittate, 3.5–7 mm long, yellow, pollen pantoporate, reticulate exine, with insulae (verrucae).  Nectary disc cup-shaped, surrounding the lower ovary but free from it, 5-fluted, the basal region smooth, the upper region rough.  Ovary glabrous, oblong to pyriform, 5–9 mm long, 1–4 mm wide at base, with about 10–12 ovules per locule; style simple, exserted, stigma lobes 1–5 mm long.  Fruit an oblong, loculicidally dehiscing capsule, 1.0–2.0 cm long, with three valves.  Seeds small, flattened, orbicilar to ovate, 3–5 mm long and 2–4 mm wide, with a more or less broad, encircling wing.

            Occurring in the mountains and valleys of northern Peru (Prov. Amazonas, Cajamarca, Lambayeque, Lima, Piura), Ecuador (Prov. Azuay, Loja) and reported from Brazil (but no specimens seen) at 1000–2800 m elevation.  Flowering in April through August, and rarely throughout the remainder of the year.  The local common name is pipiso or pepiso.

Inflorescence and floral morphology of Cantua quercifolia, in Prov. Loja, Ecuador (Porter & Prather 14322).

Holotype specimen of Cantua quercifolia Juss. (P), de Jussieu 4932, Peru, Dept. Cajamarca, Cajamarca.