Wittsteinia

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Wittsteinia

Description

Small shrubs. Leaves spiral, sometimes some in pairs or in false whorls, entire or dentate, membranous or rather fleshy, exstipulate; Flowers fragrant, actinomorphous, 4-7-merous, usually 5-merous, axillary, solitary or in pauciflorous racemes (up to 5 flowers), sustained by a few bracts, small, often in part cleistogamous. Stamens mostly 5, free, alternipetalous; Ovary inferior, 2-3-celled, with flat apex, style columnar, as long as the corolla, the globular, rugose stigma closely enveloped by the corolla segments. Ovules flattened, attached to the septum, (?1 —)4—6 in each cell.

Distribution

Asia-Tropical: Australasia:, Victoria (Victoria present) New Caledonia: present Papua New Guinea: present
About 3-4 spp., Australia (Victoria), New Caledonia, in Malesia: Papua New Guinea.

Notes

A clearly Australasian, East Gondwanic genus, in which the Papuan species is manifestly allied with the Australian species, not with the New Caledonian one(s).
The occurrence of cleistogamous flowers is highly peculiar and should be more closely studied in the field.
BAILLON (1888) mentioned the occurrence of an orange disk but in herbarium specimens I cannot distinguish this and assume it is the bulging apex of the ovary.
Whether the flowers are always bisexual is also uncertain; there is probably variability and they may appear to be polygamous. This must be checked in the field.

Citation

GUILLAUMIN, Fl. Nouv. Caléd. 1948: 318
STEVENS - in Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 1971: 45
AIRY SHAW - in Kew Bull. 1965: 250
BAILL. - in Hist. Pl. 1888: 85
J.H. WILLIS - in Handb. Pl. Vict. 1973: 497
STEEN. - in Blumea. 1984: 391
BAILL. - in Blumea. 1978: 480
v. ROYEN - in Alp. Fl. New Guinea. 1983: 2659
F.v.M. - in Fragm. Phytogr. Austr. 1863: 166
BAILL. - in Fl. Mal. 1982: 556
GARDN. - in Blumea. 1978: 141
BURTT - in Kew Bull. 1949: 493