Key to Species Macleania was described by W. Hooker on the basis of one collection from Peru. He distinguished Macleania from the other genera of Andean Vaccinieae known to him by its 5-winged and truncate calyx limb not conspicuously lobed , long corolla with comparatively very short stamens, connate staminal filaments, and anthers produced into a single tubule. In , Klotzsch recognized ten species in Macleania. In his world-wide revision of generic limits in what he called the Vacciniaceae, J. Hooker characterized Macleania by having stamens shorter than the corolla, with granular thecae, and anther tubules fused but always rigid and narrowed.
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The Ericaceae includes quite a few well-known food plants including blueberries, cranberries and huckleberries Vaccinium , as well as popular ornamental and medicinal genera such as rhododendrons Rhododendron , heathers Erica , manzanitas Arctostaphylos and wintergreens Gaultheria. Showy-flowered ericaceous plants from Asia have been sought after in horticulture both in and outside of their native habitats for centuries, especially rhododendrons incl.
The larger New World members of the family have been somewhat ignored by gardeners until fairly recently, with the notable exception of some North American rhododendrons such as Rhododendron occidentale and R. Other noteworthy U. There is a wide variety of hybrid and species manzanitas now available in nurseries throughout that state, which is also a center for endemism for the genus. View fullsize Cloud forest blueberry Vaccinium sp. True New World cloud forest blueberries Vaccinium grow both fully exposed as shrubs and under canopy as climbers at upper elevations throughout Mesoamerica and the Andean countries.
Several Central American hemiepiphytes have handsome flowers and attractive new foliage e. Manzanita Arctostaphylos sp.
Oddly enough, the beautifully-flowered Mesoamerican and northwest South American species of the family were largely overlooked during the Victorian plant-collecting craze. This species first flowered in cultivation in England in View fullsize Flower detail, Ceratostema amplexicaule, California greenhouse. This species can be trained as an upright shrub and flowers almost year-round when mature. Both flowers and fruit are edible in this species. View fullsize Ceratosteme alatum flowering in a Caifornia greenhouse.
This is a Neotropical blueberry species that performs well both as a pot plant and planted outdoors under cool subtropical conditions. These plants, like some true heathers Erica species in the Old World, can dominate landscapes at high elevations throughout the Neotropics. While many are prostrate or ground hugging at exposed sites, a few are small trees e.
Bejaria while others sprawl up and out from pockets of shade or from roadcuts to present impressive spectacles when in full flower Satyria and Orthaea species. The Neotropical blueberry genera that are most popular and reasonably well-represented in cultivation include alphabetically : Anthopterus, Cavendishia, Ceratostema, Disterigma, Macleania, Psammisia, Satyria and Sphyrospermum. Most of the other genera are still very under-represented in both public gardens and private collections, with approximately species in cultivation and only a few readily available from commercial sources.
Even though many species possess very attractive inflorescences, they are generally not popular garden plants in their countries of origin, with a few exceptions such as Cavendishia callista, C.
A remarkable, apparently undescribed Ecuadoran cloud forest Ceratostema sp. Given that edible Neotropical blueberries including both flowers and fruits in a few species are rather bland in taste and, high levels of antioxidants notwithstanding, I would not expect them to challenge their familiar cultivated relatives - much less mangosteen Garcinia mangostana - as a consumer preference anytime ever.
Caution and common sense should be used when sampling any fruit of an Ericaceae not positively known to be edible. Obviously, fruits from plants recently treated with pesticides should not be eaten at all.
Unfortunately, their imposing size makes them poor candidates for most growers. Cultivated plants are known from public gardens in Canada, Scotland and private collections in Guatemala. Besides their often eccentric, candy-like, striking inflorescences and flowers, many Neotropical blueberries can also exhibit beautiful foliage with heavily embossed leaf veins. This is particularly evident during new leaf flushes in the larger species, which are often bright red, orange or pink with a lacquered appearance.
The very thick-textured, glossy leaves of many of the larger satyrias, psammisias and cavendishias are definitely an added attraction to growers. Large, vividly-colored new leaves and steady growth are indicative of good plant health. Shown above, emergent leaves on two very attractive Panamanian Neotropical blueberries growing outdoors in Guatemala, a Psammisia species on the left and a large Satyria on the right.
Inexplicably, this very attractive species is still rare in cultivation. Some plants grown under this name in the U. Several of the northern ecotypes are relatively compact and can be flowered in fairly small pots. This species is well-suited for cultivation in a hanging pot under warm to intermediate conditions.
Neotropical Blueberries in nature and cultivation