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portia tree

Habit Trees 2–12 m.
Stems

lepidote to glabrate when young.

Leaves

stipules 3–7 mm;

petiole mostly 2/3–1 times length of blade;

blade 6–13 cm, apex acute or acuminate, venation palmate, with nectariferous zone near base of midrib.

Inflorescences

flowers large.

Pedicels

erect, stout, shorter than subtending petiole;

involucellar bractlets irregularly inserted, ligulate.

Flowers

calyx 8–10 mm, subglabrous, minutely lepidote;

petals 4–6 cm, punctate;

staminal column pallid, ca. 1/2 length of petals, apically 5-dentate, glabrous;

style exceeding stamens;

stigmas decurrent.

Capsules

(3–)5-locular, 3–3.5 cm diam..

Seeds

8–9 mm.

2n

= 24, 26.

Thespesia populnea

Phenology Flowering year-round.
Habitat Littoral vegetation
Elevation 0 m [0 ft]
Distribution
from FNA
FL; Asia; Africa; Pacific Islands (New Guinea); Australia [Introduced in North America; introduced also in Mexico (Veracruz), West Indies, n South America]
[BONAP county map]
Discussion

Thespesia populnea is sometimes grown as a shade tree, and has been found in coastal Florida from Brevard and Sarasota counties south to Monroe County, most commonly on the Florida Keys. The species is thought to be native to coastal areas of the Indian and Pacific oceans and widely introduced and naturalized in the New World. The capsules float and have distributed the seeds widely. It has been used widely for food, lumber, fiber, and medicine.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 6, p. 372.
Parent taxa Malvaceae > subfam. Malvoideae > Thespesia
Synonyms Hibiscus populneus
Name authority (Linnaeus) Solander ex Correa: Ann. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 9: 290. (1807)
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