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Four species of Hermannia are recognised from North America, these being Hermannia inflata, Hermannia palmeri, Hermannia pauciflora and Hermannia texana. There is also a reference in Asa Gray's Genera of Plants of the United States to a Hermannia brasiliensis Delile, which may represent Hermannia inflata.
Hermannia inflata Link & Otto
Hermannia inflata is found in southern Mexico (Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas). It is a shrub growing to 4 to 6 feet in height, with densely stellate tomentose branches, with ovate, broadly cuneate, obtuse, shortly petiolate leaves up to 1½ inches long and linear-lanceolate stipules. The flowers are borne in leafy racemes, on short peduncles. The calyx is purplish, inflated and strongly veined, about a ¼ inch long, and divided into broadly ovate lobes. The 5 petals are purple, nearly orbicular, but with a slender claw with strongly incurved margins at the base. The 5 stamens are place opposite to the petals. They have broad filaments with ciliate margins, and ciliate anther loculi with acuminate tips. There are 5 styles. The fruit is composed of 5 locules, each of which normally contains 5 seeds. It is densely stellate, but unlike the remaining species the apex does not possess spines nor bristles.
Hermannia palmeri Vasey & Rose
Hermannia palmeri is found in Baja California. Its flowers have reflexed or spreading petals, and subsessile anthers. The apex of the fruit possesses long, hooked, spines.
Hermannia pauciflora S. Watson
Santa Catalina Burstwort, Sparseleaf hermannia
hierba del soldado
Hermannia pauciflora is a rare herbaceous perennial found in the Santa Catalina and Tuscon mountains of Arizona's Pima County, and in a number of locations in Sonora. It has a woody rootstock, and reddish-brown ascending stems up to 1 ft in height. The leaves are triangular or oblong-ovate and toothed. The flowers are yellow, or less commonly, orange, borne pendulously in the leaf axils, in early spring. They are about ¼" long. They have 5 stamens and 5 styles, as well as 5 sepals and 5 petals. The calyx is about half the length of the petals, and is 5-cleft, the lobes being longer than the conjoined section. The fruit is ovoid and somewhat inflated, with five ridges bearing stout 1-2 mm teeth.
Hermannia texana A. Gray
Texas Burstwort, Texas Hermannia
Hermannia texana is found on rocky prairies in southern and western Texas, in New Mexico, and also in Nueva Leon and Coahuila in northeastern Mexico. It is also a multi-stemmed plant growing from a woody rootstock. The leaves are ovate or oblong, and toothed. The flowers are borne singly and pendulously in the leaf axils, between late spring and late autumn. The petals are reddish-orange on the outside and yellowish within, and are otherwise similar to those of H. pauciflora. The fruit is a somewhat inflated, bristly-hairy capsule, with 5 spiny-toothed ridges. The whole plant has a covering of stellate hairs.
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© 2003, 2006 Stewart Robert Hinsley