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The Misconstrued and Rare Species of Commelina (Commelinaceae) in the Eastern United States

Robert B. Faden
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 80, No. 1 (1993), pp. 208-218
DOI: 10.2307/2399824
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2399824
Page Count: 11
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The Misconstrued and Rare Species of Commelina (Commelinaceae) in the Eastern United States
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Abstract

Five species of Commelina (Commelinaceae), all introduced in the eastern United States, are reviewed and discussed. The widespread but overlooked C. caroliniana is contrasted with the more common C. diffusa, and the species are found to be distinguished best by their seeds. Commelina gigas is determined to be a polyploid of C. diffusa, and the new combination C. diffusa var. gigas is made. Variety gigas is considered likely to have been separately introduced. Commelina benghalensis probably became naturalized in Florida early this century. Of the two recently discovered species, C. forskaolii is known from a single Florida population that may have been eradicated, and C. nigritana var. gambiae is becoming well established along roadsides in Florida. Maps of the eastern North American distributions of C. caroliniana, C. diffusa var. gigas, C. benghalensis, C. forskaolii, and C. nigritana var. gambiae are provided. Chromosome counts are reported for C. caroliniana (2n = ca. 86), C. diffusa var. diffusa (2n = 30), C. diffusa var. gigas (2n = 90), C. benghalensis (2n = 22), C. forskaolii (2n = 30), and C. nigritana var. gambiae (2n = 56), all first reports from the United States.

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