Named after Castor Durantes, a physician and
botanist, died 1590.
Verbenaceae. About 10 species of tropical American shrubs, of which 2 kinds are cultivated outdoors in Florida and California, and in a few northern greenhouses. The best known kind has long racemes of blue, 5-lobed flowers, followed by yellow berries which remain all winter. It is said to be used for ornamental hedges in warm regions. Shrubs, glabrous or woolly, often armed with axillary spines. Leaves opposite or in whorls, entire or toothed. Racemes are long and terminal or short and axillary. Flowers small, short-pedicelled in the axis of a small bract; corolla limb of 5 spreading oblique or equal lobes; stamens 4, didynamous.
A. Stems without prickles.
Plumieri, Jacq. Golden Dew Drop. Shrub, 6-15 ft. high: branches ash-colored, villous: leaves. opposite, elliptic, acute. entire or obtusely and unequally saw-toothed above the middle. Flowers are pale blue or lilac, with 2 purple streaks down the middle of the 2 smaller and narrower lobes. The above description is from B.R. 3:244, where it is said that another plant was cultivated which had long lanceolate leaves, with deep, close saw-teeth and green branches. There is a white-fld. variety.
AA. Stems with a low prickles or spines.
Ellisia, Jacq. This is at least horticulturally distinct from the above by reason of the lighter color of its flowers, but it has been lately referred to D. Plumieri. B.M. 1759 shows the lower half of each lobe white, and a few short spines on the stem. It adds, “two kinds [of
Duranta], one with thorns and one constantly without,are cultivated. The leaves of the smooth are larger and more coarsely serrated, and the branches more
rounded than in the prickly Duranta."