Epirixanthes

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Epirixanthes

Description

Echlorophyllous, small, erect, little-branched herbs with small, bract-like, erect leaves; Leaves sessile, erect, up to 4 mm long, glabrous or minutely ciliate, l-nerved. Inflorescences terminal, spike-like, very dense, the axes without nodal glands, terete; Sepals 5, unequal, distinctly shorter than the petals, free or variously connate, persistent in fruit, glabrous to minutely ciliate. Petals 3, unequal, glabrous or apically papillose, asymmetric, halfway adnate to the staminal tube, the upper ones halfway connate to the lower one (keel) and about as long as this; Stamens 2, 3 or 5, rarely 4, filaments completely connate or partly free; Ovary 2-locular, orbicular to elliptic and laterally slightly flattened, glabrous, each locule with a single apical epitropous ovule; Fruit indehiscent, largely enclosed by the sepals, broadly ellipsoid, apically rounded or faintly bilobed, with a fleshy pericarp. Seeds ± ellipsoid, glabrous, with a soft, thickened tissue at micropylar side (aril?), along the raphe, and most distinctly so at chalazal side;

Distribution

Asia-Temperate, Asia-Tropical, E. India present, San Cristobal present, Solomon Is present
E. India to China and throughout Malesia as far as the Solomon Is. (San Cristobal); rare but very locally abundant. In all 5 spp.

Pollination

At the beginning of flowering cross-pollination seems to be possible, because the stigma is then out of reach of the anthers. In later stages, however, either the filaments stretch a little so that the anthers surround the stigma (E. elongala), or (in the other species) ovary and style grow out a little so that the stigma is situated just at the base of the bursting anthers. At that time self-pollination is likely to occur. WIRZ () recorded that pollen grains germinated in the anthers, and directly grew into the stigma.

Taxonomy

Allied to Salomonia; see there.

Notes

1. There is much more in a name than Shakespeare's Julia could suppose. Epirixanthes means flower growing on roots. BLUME described Epirixanthes as 'radicibus arborum innascentes'. Though ZOLLINGER in 1854 already wrote 'inter folia emortua', MIQUEL in 1858 called the Epirixanthes species 'rhizoparasitae', CHODAT in 1896 wrote 'schmarotzende Pflanzen', HENDERSON in 1949 described them as 'parasitic plants' and even in 1967 HUTCHINSON is misled by the name by calling it 'parasitic' on roots.
2. The spelling of the name Epirixanthes could be one for a crossword puzzle. BLUME started with Epiri-xanthus, which is thus the correct spelling. Later, however, he spelled the name Epirhizanthes on herbarium sheets. Ever since we can find all sorts of etymological variants: Epirrhizanthes, Epirrhizanthe, Epirizanthes, Hyperixanthes and Epicryanthes. In this revision only the correct spelling is used (H.M.Y.J. ANDRE DE LA PORTE-JANSS).

Citation

JOHOW - in in Pringsh. Bot. Jahrb. 1889: 479
BENTH. & HOOK. - in Gen. Pl. 1862: 135
STEEN. - in Trop. Natuur. 1934: f. 10
MIQ. - in Fl. Ind. Bat. 1858: 127
KING - in J. As. Soc. Beng. 1890: 132
BACKER & BAKH.f. - in Fl. Java. 1963: 200
CHODAT - in E. & P., Nat. Pfl. Fam. 3. 1896: 342
PENZIG - in Ann. Jard. Bot. Btzg. 1901: t. 20-26
ENDL., Gen. Pl. 1839: 728
NEES - in Flora. 1825: 133
BLUME - in Bull. Bot. Gard. Btzg. 1948: 461
HASSK. - in Miq., Ann. Mus. Bot. Lugd.-Bat. 1. 1863: 143
REUTER - in DC., Prod. 11. 1847: 44