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Oreopolus Schltdl. (Rubiaceae: Coussareae)
Charlotte M. Taylor [webpage]
Missouri Botanical Garden
P.O. Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166
Oreopolus Schltdl. includes one South American species of
rather succulent, hemicryptophytic shrubs with well developed
rootstocks. Oreopolus glacialis (Poepp. & Endl.) Ricardi is
found in the southern Andes from central Chile and Argentina south
to Tierra del Fuego. It can be recognized by its ternate leaves, its
triangular stipules that are interpetiolar and fused to the petiole
bases on each side, its flowers that are solitary or few in terminal
and axillary clusters, its yellow salverform corollas with slender
long tubes, and its papery loculicidal capsules. The flowers are
diurnal and distylous. The tissues do contain raphides, although
these may be difficult to observe.
Oreopolus glacialis, from Ricardi (1963)
Oreopolus has been confused with another genus of southern
South America, Cruckshanksia Hook. &
Arn. However these genera differ in several characters, as summarized
in the key below. Oreopolus and its relationship to
Cruckshanksia have been studied by Ricardi (1963) and Taylor
(1996), and Oreopolus has been treated floristically recently
by Moore (1983) and Bacigalupo (1999).
Oreopolus was previously included in the Hedyotideae by many
authors, although Bremekamp and later Anderson & Rova (1999) placed it
in the Cruckshanksieae. More recently, based on molecular data Bremer
& Manen (2000) transferred both Oreopolus and Cruckshanksia
to the neotropical tribe Coussareae. In their expanded circumscription
Coussareae comprises a notable range of fruit types, from single- to
multi-seeded, fleshy, indehiscent fruits (Coussarea, Coccocypselum)
to leathery schizocarps (Declieuxia) and dry multi-seeded capsules
(Heterophyllaea); it is not yet clear what morphological features
unite the genera now placed in this tribe.
Key to Oreopolus and Cruckshanksia
- 1. Leaves opposite or occasionally subalternate; stipules triangular
to bilobed or
- erose, usually separated along the stems due to good
development of the internodes that separate the leaves; calyx lobes not
enlarged or often one or several of them prolonged into white or colored,
petaloid appendages (i.e., calycophylls); capsules dehiscent from the
base into 2-5 valves...Cruckshanksia
- 1. Leaves ternate or occasionally opposite; stipules triangular and
- imbricated due to the limited development of the internodes, so
the leaves are hardly separated; calyx lobes never enlarged into petaloid
appendages; capsules dehiscent from the apex into 2 valves...Oreopolus
- Andersson, L. & J.H.E. Rova. 1999. The rps16 intron and the
phylogeny of the Ruboideae (Rubiaceae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 214: 161-186.
- Bacigalupo, N.M. 1999. Rubiaceae. In: M. N. Correa, Flora Patagonica
Parte 6: 423-443.
- Bremer, B. & J.-F. Manen. 2000. Phylogeny and classification of the
subfamily Rubioideae (Rubiaceae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 225: 43-72.
- Moore, D.M. 1983. Flora of Tierra del Fuego.
- Ricardi, M. 1963. Rehabilitación del género Oreopolus
Schlecht. Gayana, Bot. 7: 3-7.
- Taylor, C.M. 1996. Taxonomic revision of Cruckshanksia and
Oreopolus (Rubiaceae: Hedyotideae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 83:
List of Names and Synonyms of Oreopolus
Accepted names are presented in bold; synonymous names appear
with an equals sign. Further information on these names can be found in
the TROPICOS database [http://www.tropicos.org/].
Cruckshanksia glacialis Poepp. & Endl. = Oreopolus glacialis
Oreopolus citrinus Shldtl. = Oreopolus glacialis
Tierra del Fuego
Oreopolus glacialis (Poepp. & Endl.) Ricardi, central Chile
and Argentina to
Oreopolus glacialis var. pilosus Ricardi = Oreopolus glacialis
Oreopolus macrantha (Phil.) Ricardi = Cruckshanksia macrantha
Oreopolus palmae (Clos) Ricardi = Cruckshanksia palmae
Oreopolus patagonicus Speg. = Oreopolus glacialis
Text and Images, unless otherwise indicated, Copyright © by Charlotte M. Taylor. All rights reserved.
This page was revised on April 8, 2008.