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Origin and Habitat: Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil.
- Portulaca werdermannii Poelln.
PORTUGUESE (Português): onze horas
Description: Portulaca werdermannii is a prostrate succulent species with oblong cylindrical leaves, set alternate, having many hairs in the leaf axils. The flowers are terminal, purplish-red. The usually mucronate leaf tips helps distinguish this species from other Brazilian species.
Derivation of specific name: The specific name “werdermannii” honours Prof. Dr. Erich Werdermann (1892-1959), a German botanist in Berlin, specialist on cacti and former director of the Botanischer Garten and Museum Berlin.
Roots: The roots are tuberous, the main axis is elongated and very thickened, from which originate secondary thinner roots. In P. werdermannii the main root measures 5-10 cm in length.
Stems: 15-20 cm long, green, branched. The stem nodes besides the leaves produce abundant axillary white trichomes (woolly hairs) 15-20 mm long.
Stem leaves: Sessile to sub-sessile, petiole 0.5-0.6 mm long, cylindrical. Blade 10-20 mm long, 2-5 mm wide, oblong-lanceolate, subcilindrical. The adaxial side of the leaf blade is generally convex, while the abaxial face have a small central depression visible only under the microscope and occur from the base to the apex of the leaf blade. Base rounded. Apex mucronate.
Involucral leaves: 5-10 per inflorescence. Blade 10-18 mm long, 2-4 mm wide, oblong, with a whitish cartilaginous margin, glabrous. Base rounded. Apex mucronate. Persistent.
Inflorescences: Terminal, 2-4 flowered.
Flowers: The flowers are actinomorphic, sessile, bisexual and large up to 20-30(-40) mm. They are ephemeral, usually with a single flower at a time. Sepals 8 -10 mm long, glabrous, backside concave, tip acuminate. Petals 5, inversely heart shaped, magenta, 1.5-2 cm long, 1-2 cm wide. The androecium has numerous stamens (20-35). Filaments 6-9 mm long; Anthers 1.5-2 mm long. Styles 2-4 mm long, attached at the base, forming a column; stigmatic branches 5-7, 1.5-2 mm long. In Brazil the flowers of this genus open between 10-12 AM and remain open until 2-4 PM, hence the popular name of "onze horas" (eleven hours).
Fruit: The fruit called pixidium is a sessile, pod 3-5 mm long which divides circularly into an upper and lower half, of which the former acts as a kind of hemispherical lid (aka operculum) 1-2 mm in diameter.
Seeds: 15-20 per fruit, small (0.5-0.7 mm), black, opaque.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Alexa Araujo de Oliveira Paes Coelho; Ana Maria Giulietti “O gênero Portulaca L. (Portulacaceae) no Brasil - The genus Portulaca L. (Portulacaceae) in Brazil” Acta Botanica Brasilica Acta Bot. Bras. vol.24 no.3 São Paulo July/Sept. 2010 http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-33062010000300009
2) Clive Innes “Complete Handbook of Cacti and Succulents” Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 01 December 1981
3) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer Science & Business Media, 29 June 2013
Portulaca werdermannii Photo by: © Plantemania
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