Nyctaginaceae

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Bougainvillea Family

Neea laetevirens Standl., an understory tree in the Nyctaginaceae. Note the irregular shapes and positions of the leaves. Un árbol del subdosel. Note la forma y posición irregular de las hojas.


Description: A family of soft-wooded shrubs and small trees with simple, opposite or subopposite leaves that are usually somewhat thick and fleshy. The leaves dry blackish or grayish. The smaller veins are often immersed (i.e., difficult to distinguish). One of the most evident characteristics of this family is the presence of betalain pigments, the bright pink and magenta colors found in beets. The terminal bud usually has a coating of rust-colored fuzz.

Economic uses: Bougainvillea, a sprawling shrub in the Nyctaginaceae, is a popular ornamental in the tropics.


Descripción: Una familia de arbustos y árboles pequeños con madera suave y hojas simples, opuestas o subopuestas, y usualmente levemente suculentas. Las hojas secas son grisáceas o negruzcas. Las venas más pequeñas usualmente son dificiles de ver. Una característica llamativa de esta familia es la presencia de betalaínas, pigmentos que dan orígen a los colores fuertes rosados y violados de las remolachas. El botón terminal de las Nyctaginaceas usualmente lleva vello rojizo.

Usos económicos: El arbusto trepador Bougainvillea es una planta ornamental de gran popularidad en las zonas tropicales.


Genera/species at La Selva: 3/8 Herbs/ hierbas: Mirabilis (1) Trees or shrubs/ árboles o arbustos: Neea (6), Pisonia (1)


Neea psychotriodes with fruit and leaf veins showing the distinctive reddish-purple color of betalain pigments. Photo by R. Aguilar courtesy of La Flora Digital de la Selva.
Neea laetevirins is a small tree with leaves that are opposite or both opposite and alternate on the same plant.
The reddish-purple coloration on the leaf veins and petiole of Neea laetevirins are due to betalain pigments, the same compounds that give beets their characteristic color.
When crushed, the leaves of Neea crumble into small pieces, much like spinach leaves.


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Next family: Olacaceae > >
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