Saturday, 21 June 2014

Astrocasia, Chascotheca and Chinese Lantern

Flowers without petals
Family: EUPHORBIACEAE (subfamily Phyllanthoideae) / PHYLLANTHACEAE 

Astrocasia tremula (Griseb.) G.L. Webster 

Dioecious arborescent glabrous shrub or small tree. 

Leaves Alternate, membranous, on long slender petioles, pinnate-veined, whitish-glaucous on the underside, often deciduous before flowering. 

Flowers clustered in the leaf-axils 

Pistillate flowers and fruits very long-stalked, ovary 3-celled

Staminate flowers on short pedicels

Fruit an explosively dehiscent, 3-grooved capsule
Distribution: Grand Cayman and Jamaica, in rocky woodlands, Central America, northern South America

The Plant List 

Chascotheca neopeltandra (Griseb.) Urb. synonym C. domingensis  

Dioecious shrub, branchlets with horizontal frond-like habit 
 Chascotheca on Jasmin Lane, Spotts, Grand Cayman,  Sept. 3, 2006
by Sling-shot, Wild Jasmine - Tabernaemontana laurifolia
 Leaves 3 veined from the base, petioles 2-6mm long, blades 1-4cm long, pale or glaucous beneath
Ironwood Forest, Grand Cayman
Cayman HERBARIUM images
Distribution: Grand Cayman, Cuba and Hispaniola in rocky limestone thickets
Roger's Wreck Trail, East End, Grand Cayman, Sept. 7, 2003
Chascotheca neopeltandra - pistillate - fruiting, Ironwood Forest, George Town,
exceedingly rocky woodland.
Old George - Hohenbergia caymanensis Britton ex.L. B. Smith
Grand Cayman endemic giant Bromeliad, centre background,
6 months after Category 5 Hurricane Ivan hit Grand Cayman
P. Ann van B. Stafford, March 25, 2005.

Click here for maps and pictures from 2002
Ironwood Forest, Grand Cayman 

Chascotheca on Jasmin Lane at Spotts, Grand Cayman, June 22, 2014
by Jasmine - Plumeria obtusa

Phyllanthus nutans ssp. nutans Sw. Chinese Lantern

Monoecious shrub
Old Robin Road, Grand Cayman, June 17, 2002
CaymANNature FLORA_2 images

Roger's Wreck Trail, East End, Grand Cayman
Adrian's Cave, George Town, Grand Cayman
 Adrian's Cave, George Town, Grand Cayman
Ironwood Forest - maps and photos
Leaf blades up to 8 cm long, always pinnate-veined

Colliers Wilderness Road, East End, Grand Cayman, Nov. 6, 2011
Leaves short-petiolate, blades usually elliptic or ovate, mostly 2–8 cm long, obtuse or rarely acute at the apex, often somewhat glaucous or purple-tinged beneath
 Colliers Wilderness Road, East End, Grand Cayman, Nov. 6, 2011
Old Robin Road, Grand Cayman, June 17, 2002

Distribution: Grand Cayman, Jamaica and the Swan Islands, in various habitats, the Cayman plants in dry, rocky woodlands

Phyllanthus nutans ssp grisebachianus (Müll.Arg.) G.L.Webster  

Data deficient
Little Cayman, Eastern Cuba p.442
Phyllanthus nutans ssp. grisebachianus (Müll.Arg.) G.L.Webster  Cuba, 1957

Phyllanthus caymanensis Webster & Proctor  

Phyllanthus caymanensis - IUCN Red List
 This species is a low shrub growing up to 2.5 metres tall but often much less. It is a facultatively drought-deciduous species, shedding leaves and branchlets in the dry season to a varying degree, depending on rainfall patterns each year. It is highly restricted to shrubland habitats on soil or pavement limestone rock which itself is a restricted habitat within the Cayman Islands, having been very heavily impacted by agriculture. 

Cayman Islands endemic – Little Cayman, Cayman Brac and more recently it has been found in two areas of dry shrubland in the east interior of Grand Cayman

Monoecious shrub up to 2.5 m tall

Leaf blades not over 2.5 cm long, always pinnate-veined

Leaves membranous, short-petiolate, the blades ovate or rhombic-ovate, mostly 1.5–2.5 cm long, obtusely to acutely pointed at the apex, somewhat pale or subglaucous beneath;

Stipules 1.2–1.5 mm long.

Flowers in axillary cymules, each cluster with one central female flower and several lateral male flowers

Female flowers with filiform pedicels becoming 8–12 mm long in fruit

Capsules oblate, prominently veiny, greenish; seeds angled 

Phyllanthus caymanensis
 shrub 2.5m tall, Cayman Brac,
Collector: George R. Proctor  Aug.7, 1975
Institute of Jamaica
TROPICOS image No. 04662091
Cayman Brac Nature Notes  Scroll down to photo of Phyllanthus caymanensis

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