Blastania Kotschy & Peyritsch
Blastania Kotschy & Peyritsch, Pl. Tinn. 15. 1867 [July].
Type: Blastania cerasiformis (Stocks) A. Meeuse, Bothalia 8: 12. 1962; basionym: Zehneria cerasiformis Stocks, J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 4: 149. 1852; C.G.T. Kotschy 205 (BR, HAL, HBG, L, M, S, WAG (isosyntypes)), Sudan. 1839.
Ctenolepis Hook. f., Gen. Pl. 1: 832. 1867 [Sept.].
Zombitsia Keraudren, Adansonia ser. II, 3: 167. 1963.
Herbaceous or woody climber or trailer with monoecious or dioecious sex system. The leaves are simple, entire to palmately 3-5-lobed, petiolate, with a conspicuous persistent fimbriate probract at the base of the petiole. The tendrils are simple and can reach up to 30 cm. The flowers are small, greenish or yellow. Male flowers are produced in pedunculate racemes, female flowers solitary or in groups of 4-6, often coaxillary with a male raceme. The receptacle-tube is obconic or campanulate. The five sepals are narrowly triangular, to 3 mm long. The five yellowish petals are c. 1 mm long, united at base, sometimes reflexed. The three stamens are inserted in lower half or near mouth of the tube on free filaments. Two anthers are bithecous, one monothecous, or three bithecous (B. lucorum) with short, straight thecae or thecae duplicate and coherent in the center of the flower (B. lucorum). The pollen is tricolporate, reticulate, small to medium-sized (polar axis 45-52 µm, equatorial axis 45-53 µm (Khunwasi 1998)). The ovary is ellipsoid and smooth with cylindric style, 2- or 3-lobed stigma and horizontal ovules. The fruit is a smooth, more or less globose berry, up to 5 cm in diameter, ripening red with mostly 2 (or in B. lucorum many) ovoid, plano-convex or compressed seeds with distinct margin and smooth, cream-coloured testa. The chromosome number is n = 12 in B. garcinii (Beevy & Kuriachan 1996).
Of the three species, only B. cerasiformis is widespread from tropical and subtropical Africa to India and Pakistan. Blastania garcinii is endemic in India and Sri Lanka, where it grows on lake shores and river margins, in wood- and grassland, mostly at low altitudes. The third species, B. lucorum, is endemic in lowland forests of Madagascar.
In phylogeny estimates, Blastania groups with the African genera Trochomeria and Dactyliandra (Schaefer et al. 2009; Schaefer & Renner 2011; Lindner et al. 2017).
Blastania cerasiformis (Stocks) A. Meeuse, Bothalia 8: 12. 1962.
Blastania garcinii (Burm. f.) Cogn., Monogr. Phan. 3: 629. 1881.
Blastania lucorum (Keraudren) H. Schaef., Syst. Bot. 42: 70. 2017.
Beevy, S.S. and P. Kuriachan. 1996. Chromosome numbers of South Indian Cucurbitaceae and a note on the cytological evolution in the family. J. Cytol. Genet. 31: 65-71.
Kartesz, J.T. and K. Gandhi. 1994. Nomenclatural notes for the North American flora XIII, Cucurbitaceae. Phytologia 76: 441-457.
Khunwasi, C. 1998. Palynology of the Cucurbitaceae. Doctoral Dissertation Naturwiss. Fak., University of Innsbruck.
Lindner, K., Hu, Y., Pandey, A.K. and H. Schaefer. 2017. The Namib-Thar desert disjunction in Dactyliandra (Cucurbitaceae) is the result of a recent introduction to India. Systematic Botany 42:63-72.
Schaefer, H. and S.S. Renner. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships in the order Cucurbitales and a new classification of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae). Taxon 60: 122-138.
Schaefer, H., Heibl, C., and S.S. Renner. 2009. Gourds afloat: a dated phylogeny reveals an Asian origin of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae) and numerous oversea dispersal events. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276: 843-851.