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Duranta erecta

Family

Verbenaceae

Botanical Name

Duranta erecta L.

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 637. Type: Plumiers plate under Castorea (Library, University Groningen) Manuscript 98a, Dept Old & Rare Books lectotype). Photo AD.

Synonyms

Duranta repens var. normalis (Bailey) Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1107(1928), Type: ?. Duranta plumieri f. variegata F.M.Bailey, Comprehensive Catalogue of Queensland Plants: 380(1913), Type: (none cited). Duranta repens var. ellisia (Bailey) Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1107(1928), Type: ?. Duranta plumieri var. ellisia F.M.Bailey, The Weeds and Suspected Poisonous Plants of Queensland: 142(1906), Type: (none cited). Duranta repens var. alba Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1107(1928), Type: ?. Duranta repens f. variegata (Bailey) Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1107(1928), Type: ?. Duranta repens L., Species Plantarum 2: 637(1753), Type: Jamaica, Patrick Browne s.n.; holo: Herb. LINN No. 806.2 (LINN)). Fide R. W. Sanders, Regnum Veg. 127(1993) 44. Duranta plumieri var. alba F.M.Bailey, The Weeds and Suspected Poisonous Plants of Queensland: 142(1906), Type: (none cited). Duranta plumieri Jacq., Selectarum Stirpium Americanarum Historiar: 186(1763), Type: Hab. in fruticetis & sepibus arboreis Doming. Duranta plumieri var. normalis F.M.Bailey, Comprehensive Catalogue of Queensland Plants: 382(1913), Type: (none cited).

Common name

Golden Dewdrops; Sky Flower

Weed

*

Stem

Usually grows as a rather weak-stemmed, multistemmed shrub.

Leaves

Leaves sometimes borne in pseudowhorls with groups of 3-4 leaves on each side of the twig. Leaf blades about 2.3-4.5 x 1-2.5 cm, petioles about 0.3-0.8 cm long, grooved on the upper surface. Margins smooth or with a few teeth on each side near the apex. Axillary spines sometimes present.

Flowers

Compound inflorescences about 10-30 cm long, individual racemes many-flowered, about 3-10 cm long. Flowers fragrant. Calyx tubular, about 3-7 mm long, 5-angled with five minute teeth at the apex, each tooth about 0.5-1 mm long. Corolla tube about 6-10 mm long, corolla lobes about 3-5 x 2.5-3.5 mm. Stamens inserted above the middle of the corolla tube, filaments 0.5-1.5 mm long, hairy near the base. Anthers about 1 mm long. Ovary green and glabrous, about 1 mm diam., style glabrous, about 2-3 mm long.

Fruit

Fruits subglobose or obpyriform, about 7-12 mm diam., enclosed in the orange-yellow persistent calyx which ends in a curved beak at the apex. Pyrenes about 3 x 3 mm. Each pyrene containing two seeds, each seed about 2 mm long. Embryo about 1.7 mm long, cotyledons longer than the radicle.

Seedlings

Cotyledons ovate, about 6-10 x 5-6 mm, petioles about 2-3 mm long. First pair of leaves simple with three or four large teeth on each side. Leaf blades about 16-22 x 9-10 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade +/- oblanceolate, base attenuate, margins coarsely serrate towards the apex, petiole very short. Spines about 5-10 mm long, present in most leaf axils or supraxillary.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from tropical America, now naturalized in NT, NEQ and southwards as far as north-eastern New South Wales. Altitudinal range in northern Australia not known but frequently found in the 750-900 m range. Grows in disturbed rain forest or rain forest regrowth.

Natural History

Suspected of being poisonous to pigs. Children who have eaten the fruits have been reported as becoming ill and subsequently dying. Everist (1974).

Commonly cultivated in gardens and as a hedge. The orange fruits are attractive to birds.

This species is poisonous. http://www.health.qld.gov.au/brochure/poison1.htm)

NT

X

NEQ

X

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)

X

RFK Code

3134