Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dotted Lancepod - Lonchocarpus punctatus

Dotted Lancepod - Lonchocarpus punctatus, which is recognized by the combination of pinnate leaves and purple to white flowers and flattened and pointed legumes. It is a deciduous tree to evergreen shrub that reaches heights of only 60 feet tall. Growing primarily in an erect form with a single trunk and dense rounded crown. The Dotted Lancepod was introduced from South America and has escaped cultivation and has become established in Southern Florida. The genus Lonchocarpus only includes about 150 species which are distributed in tropical or subtropical regions of America, Africa and Australia the Dotted Lancepod (Lonchocarpus punctatus) is the only species that has been successfully introduced and established in North America.

Image Citation:  Pancrat (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The leaves of the Dotted Lancepod are alternate, pinnate with blades reaching up to 16 cm long and 12 cm long. The leaflets occur in 2-8 pairs on each leaf in an opposite form, oval or oblong. The upper leaf surface is a medium to dark green while the lower surface is a paler green. The flowers are bisexual, pink, purple or white in color and 10-15 mm long the petals are upright and finely haired. The flower produce conspicuous axillary racemes about 9 cm long with stalks ranging from 2-3 cm long. The flowers occur year round. The fruit is a flattened brown legume that can reach lengths of 15 cm long, tapering to a point at both ends, usually enclosing only a single seed, sometimes several, more or less flat in form.  

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