Chelonanthus grandiflorus

Primary tabs

Chelonanthus grandiflorus


Herb to subshrub, up to 2.5 m high, unbranched, sometimes sparsely branched. Stems and branches up to 1.1 cm in diam., quadrangular with wings on lower 3-4 internodes then abruptly becoming terete without wings, wings 0.1-1.8 mm wide; internodes 2.3-27.2 cm long. Leaves sessile, sometimes petiolate, cauline evenly; petiole 0-0.5 cm long; blade membranaceous, ovate to elliptic, 2.0-23.9 x 0.9-11.7 cm, margin not thickened, flat, apex acute, base attenuate (obtuse just below inflorescence). Inflorescence 5-45-flowered; bracts ovate with acuminate (obtuse or acute) apex, 1.3-9.3 mm long; pedicel 4-11 mm long. Flowers horizontal; calyx green, 5-11 x 5-9 mm, lobes ovate, 3-6 x 3-5 mm, margin membranaceous, apex obtuse; corolla cream, pale green, yellow-green to yellow, with dark green spot on apex of each corolla lobe, funnel-shaped, 21-44 mm long, 13-27 mm wide at mouth, lobes ovate, 5-10 x 6-8 mm, apex obtuse; stamens not exserted, filaments 12-18 mm long, staminal pockets +/- present at insertion point, curved downward close to anther, anthers white, elliptic to ovate, 2.4-3.6 mm long, straight after anthesis; pollen exine differentially reticulated with muri thickend at poles (see Nilsson, 1970, 2002); pistil 21-27 mm long, ovary 5.9-7.9 x 2.7-3.1 mm, style (9-)14-20 mm long, stigma lobe elliptic, 2.5-5.4 x 1.5-2.4 mm. Fruit nodding, brown, ellipsoid, 9-20 x 4-9 mm; seeds brown, 0.1-0.4 mm in diam.


Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Grenada present, Guianas present present, Southern America: Colombia (Colombia present); Venezuela (Venezuela present)
Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Grenada, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil; 316 collections studied, of which 128 from the Guianas (GU: 70; SU: 29; FG: 29).

Common Name

English (French Guiana): dankuna tabaka; English (Guyana): aha, amerindian tobacco, salidore, wild tobacco, yuriballi, yuroballi; English (Suriname): dia tabaka, joelieballi, koeraja, kwasi-bita, sabana tabak, sabana-tabacca, sabana-tabaka


Flowering and fruiting .


In Guyana, the leaves are boiled for ‘bowels’ (Görts-van Rijn et al. 434), and for 'clean out of dirty tummy', and malaria (Reinders & Torres 29).


Aubl. 1775 – In: Hist. Pl. Guiane: tab. 81


Chelonanthus grandiflorus is not a name recognized in recent taxonomic treatments (Maas, 1985; Pringle, 1995; Struwe et al., 1999). It is recognized here as a result of revisionary work on the genus (Lepis, 2009). For details about the data supporting the resurrection of this name, see notes under C. alatus.