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   Index



 

LOASACEAE

(Blazing Star or Loasa family)

 

• Medicinal / Folk-medicinal aspects: •
• Adverse effects: Many species possess stinging hairs; others bear grapnel and other types of coarse silicified, calcified, and/or barbed hairs capable of inflicting mechanical damage on contact with human skin. •
• Veterinary aspects: •

According to Mabberley (2008), the family comprises 300 species of herbs, shrubs, and also some small trees in 18 genera found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of America. An earlier consideration of the family by Weigend (2000) placed 325 species in 20 genera. The principal genera are Caiophora C. Presl (34 spp.), Loasa Adans. (36 spp.), Mentzelia L. (80 spp.), and Nasa Weigend (100 spp.). Many possess grapnel and/or stinging hairs.

Some are cultivated for their ornamental flowers (Hunt 1968/70).



Aosa Weigend

This recently described genus comprises 7 species found mainly in eastern Brazil, most of which were formerly considered to belong to the genus Loasa Adans. The plants bear stinging hairs. In addition to the species considered separately below, the following may be listed (Weigend 1997, Weigend et al. 2006, Weigend 2006):

Aosa gilgiana Weigend
(syn. Loasa gilgiana Urban)
Aosa plumieri Weigend
(syn. Loasa plumieri Urban)
Aosa rostrata Weigend
(syn. Loasa rostrata Urban)
Aosa rupestris Weigend
(syn. Loasa rupestris Gardner)
Aosa sigmoidea Weigend
Aosa uleana Weigend
(syn. Loasa uleana Urban & Gilg) 


Aosa parviflora Weigend
(syn. Loasa parviflora Schrader)

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Blumenbachia Schrader
Sting Lily

This genus comprises 12 species, six of which until recently were regarded as belonging to the genus Caiophora C. Presl (Weigend 1997, Mabberley 2008). They are native to temperate South America. All bear stinging hairs (Hjelmqvist 1964, Thurston & Lersten 1969, Weigend 1997). The following species are representative:

Blumenbachia dissecta Weigend
(syn. Loasa dissecta Hook. & Arn.)
Blumenbachia prietea Gay — Stinging Golf Ball Plant
(syn. Caiophora prietea Urban & Gilg)
Blumenbachia scabra Urban
(syn. Gripidea scabra Miers)
Blumenbachia sylvestris Poeppig — Ortiga Caballuna
(syn. Caiophora silvestris Urban & Gilg) 

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Blumenbachia hieronymi Urban
(syn. Saloa hieronymi Stuntz)
Sting Lily

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Blumenbachia insignis Schrader
(syns Loasa palmata Sprengel, Saloa insignis Stuntz)
Brave Nettle, Brennwinde

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Caiophora C. Presl
(syn. Cajophora Endl.)

Weigend (1997) recognised 56 species whereas Mabberley (2008) noted that the genus comprises only 34 species. The taxonomy is complicated by the readiness with which interspecific hybrids are produced. All members of the genus bear stinging hairs. The plants are native to South America, being found mostly in the high Andes. Hjelmqvist (1964) and Thurston & Lersten (1969) also referred to the occurrence of stinging hairs in this genus.

The following species are representative:

Caiophora andina Urban & Gilg
Caiophora carduifolia C. Presl
(syns Blumenbachia sepiaria Ruíz & Pavón ex G. Don, Caiophora sepiaria J.F. Macbr., Loasa sepiaria Ruíz & Pavón)
Caiophora chuquitensis Urban & Gilg
(syns Blumenbachia chuquitensis Hook. f., Caiophora horrida Urban & Gilg, Loasa chuquitensis Meyen)
Caiophora cirsiifolia C. Presl
(syns Blumenbachia punicea Ruíz & Pavón ex G. Don, Caiophora cinerea Urban & Gilg, Loasa punicea Ruíz & Pavón ex A. López)
Caiophora coronata Hook. & Arn. — Ortiguilla, Clavel-Ortiga, Rupa Chica
(syn. Loasa coronata Gillies ex Arn.)
Caiophora superba Phil. 

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Caiophora lateritia Klotzsch
(syns Blumenbachia lateritia Griseb., Caiophora platyphylla Urb. & Gilg, Loasa lateritia Hook., Raphisanthe lateritia Lilja)
Brick-Red Caiophora, Chile Nettle, Chili Nettle, Red-Flowered Loasa, Argentinisches Brennkraut

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Cevallia sinuata Lag.
Ortega, Stinging Serpent, Stingleaf

The genus Cevallia Lag. is monotypic. This single species is found in the south-western United States and Mexico. It possesses stinging hairs (Thurston & Lersten 1969). Some authorities have in the past placed this plant in its own family, namely the Cevalliaceae and more recently (see Weigend et al. 2000) have placed this plant in the Gronoviaceae together with Fuertesia Urban, Gronovia L., and Petalonyx A. Gray.

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Chichicaste grandis Weigend
(syn. Loasa grandis Standley)
Chichicaste

Referring to Loasa grandis, Allen (1943) noted that all parts of the plant are covered with intensely stinging hairs, adding that this is among the most painful of nettles to be met with in Panama. It is a tall rain-forest herb (up to 4 m) found from NW Colombia to Costa Rica, which is sometimes grown as a hedging plant. The genus Chichicaste Weigend is monotypic.



Eucnide Zucc.
Stingbush

According to Weigend (1997), the genus comprises 12 species; Mabberley (2008) recognises 13 species. The plants are found in the south-western United States and Mexico. Stinging hairs are known in species of this genus (Hjelmqvist 1964, Thurston & Lersten 1969). The following list is representative:

Eucnide aurea H.J. Thompson & W.R. Ernst — Pega Pega
(syn. Sympetaleia aurea A. Gray)
Eucnide bartonioides Zucc. — Warnock's Rock Nettle, Yellow Rock Nettle, Yellow Stingbush
(syns Mentzelia gronoviaefolia Fischer & C. Meyer, Microsperma bartonioides Walp.)
Eucnide rupestris H.J. Thompson & W.R. Ernst — Rock Nettle, Rock Stingbush
(syns Loasella rupestris Baillon, Sympetaleia rupestris S. Watson)
Eucnide urens Parry — Desert Rock Nettle, Desert Stingbush
(syn. Mentzelia urens Parry ex A. Gray) 

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Fuertesia domingensis Urban
Mala Mujer

This liana occurs naturally on the island of Hispaniola (Santo Domingo Island) in the West Indies (Mabberley 2008). It bears stinging hairs (Thurston & Lersten 1969). The genus Fuertesia Urban is monotypic. It is considered to be in danger of extinction. Some authorities (see Weigend et al. 2000) now place this plant in a separate family, namely the Gronoviaceae, along with Cevallia Lagasca, Gronovia L., and Petalonyx A. Gray.

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Gronovia L.

Two species, native to Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador possess grapnel or stinging hairs. Some authorities (see Weigend 2000) now place these plants in a separate family, namely the Gronoviaceae, together with Cevallia Lagasca, Fuertesia Urban, and Petalonyx A. Gray.

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Gronovia longiflora Rose
Pega Pega

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Gronovia scandens L.
(syns Gronovia humboldtiana Schult., Gronovia jacquiniana M. Roem.)
Chichicaste, Pica Pica

This is a herb with winding stems adorned with stiff stinging hairs (Allen 1943).

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Huidobria Gay

Two species are to be found in the deserts of Chile, one an annual species, the other being shrubby. Both bear stinging hairs (Weigend 1997):

Huidobria chilensis Gay
(syn. Loasa chilensis Urban & Gilg in Urban)
Huidobria fruticosa Phil.
(syn. Loasa fruticosa Urban & Gilg) 


Loasa Adans.

The genus comprises about 36 species native to Mexico and temperate South America, all bearing stinging hairs although some bearing very few (Weigend 1997, Mabberley 2008). The following list of species is representative; others are considered separately below:

Loasa acanthifolia Desr.
Loasa acerifolia Dombey ex Juss.
Loasa argentina Urban & Gilg
Loasa longiseta Phil.
Loasa sclareifolia Juss. — Ortiga Brava 

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Loasa bryoniifolia Schrader ex DC.

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Loasa tricolor Ker-Gawler
Cardito, Ortiga Caballuna

A patch test to this plant in a 67-year old gardener who had developed dermatitis of the hands and face from chrysanthemums (fam. Compositae) and primulas (fam. Primulaceae), produced a negative reaction (Leipold 1938).

[Further information available but not yet included in database]



Mentzelia L.

The genus comprises about 80 species (Weigend 1997, Mabberley 2008). The plants are native to tropical and subtropical America and the West Indies. Stinging hairs are absent from this genus.



Mentzelia aspera L.
Tropical Blazingstar, Tropical Stickleaf

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Mentzelia decapetala Urban & Gilg ex Gilg
(syns Bartonia decapetala Pursh ex Sims, Mentzelia ornata Torrey & A. Gray)
Evening Starflower, Showy Mentzelia, Tenpetal Blazingstar, Tenpetal Stickleaf

The hooked hairs of Mentzelia ornata cause the leaves to stick to sheep, clothing etc. and are quite irritating to human skin (Pammel 1911).



Mentzelia oligosperma Nutt. ex Sims
Chickenthief, Stick-Leaf

The rough barbed hairs of the plant can irritate the skin (White 1887).



Nasa Weigend

This recently described genus comprises about 100 species of herbs and shrubs found in Central and South America, over half of these occurring in Peru. Most were formerly considered to belong to the genus Loasa Adans. All bear stinging hairs (Weigend 1997). In addition to the taxa considered separately below, the following may be listed as representative — see Weigend et al. (2006) for a full list:

Nasa callacallensis Weigend & E. Rodr.
Nasa ferox Weigend
Nasa grandiflora Weigend
(syns Loasa grandiflora Desr., Loasa aurantiaca Urban & Gilg)
Nasa modesta Weigend
Nasa rugosa Weigend
(syn. Loasa rugosa Killip) 


Nasa ranunculifolia Weigend
(syn. Loasa ranunculifolia Kunth)

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Nasa speciosa Weigend
(syn. Loasa speciosa Donn. Sm.)
Campana, Ortiga Veinticuatro

Allen (1943) noted that Loasa speciosa has similar stinging properties to Loasa grandis (see Chichicaste grandis Weigend above).



Nasa triphylla Weigend
(syns Loasa triphylla Juss., Loasa triphylla Juss. var vulcanica Urban & Gilg, Loasa vulcanica André)
Whorled Chilean Nettle, Schönnessel

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Nasa triphylla Weigend ssp papaverifolia Weigend
(syns Loasa chelidoniifolia Benth., Loasa papaverifolia Kunth)

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Nasa triphylla Weigend ssp rudis Weigend
(syns Loasa bipinnata Donn. Sm., Loasa rudis Benth., Loasa triphylla Juss. var rudis Urban & Gilg)
Ortiga, Pringamoza

Allen (1943) noted that Loasa triphylla var rudis has similar stinging properties to Loasa grandis (see Chichicaste grandis Weigend above).



Nasa tulipadiaboli Henning & Weigend
Devil's Tulip

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Nasa urens Weigend
(syns Loasa bipinnatifida Ruíz & Pavón ex A. López, Loasa hispida L., Loasa urens Jacq.)

[Information available but not yet included in database]



Nasa venezuelensis Weigend
(syns Caiophora larensis Steyerm, Caiophora venezuelensis Steyerm., Loasa venezuelensis Weigend)
Pringamoza

[Information available but not yet included in database]


References

  • Allen PH (1943) Poisonous and injurious plants of Panama. American Journal of Tropical Medicine 23(Suppl): 3-76
  • Hunt P (Ed.) (1968/70) The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Gardening. London: Marshall Cavendish [WorldCat]
  • Leipold (1938) Dermatitis der Hände und des Gesichts infolge von Überempfindlichkeit gegen Chrysanthemen und Kamillen. [Dermatitis of the hands and face due to hypersensitivity to chrysanthemum and camomile]. Zentralblatt für Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten 57(4): 248-249
  • Mabberley DJ (2008) Mabberley's Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses, 3rd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Pammel LH (1911) A Manual of Poisonous Plants. Chiefly of North America, with Brief Notes on Economic and Medicinal Plants, and Numerous Illustrations. Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch Press [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • Thurston EL, Lersten NR (1969) The morphology and toxicology of plant stinging hairs. Botanical Review 35(4): 393-412
  • Weigend M (1997) Nasa and the conquest of South America — Systematic Rearrangements in Loasaceae Juss. PhD Thesis, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München
  • Weigend M, Kufer J, Müller AA (2000) Phytochemistry and the systematics and ecology of Loasaceae and Gronoviaceae (Loasales). American Journal of Botany 87(8): 1202-1210 [doi] [url] [url-2]
  • Weigend M, Dostert N, Henning T, Schneider C, Rodríguez EF (2006) Valid publication for 101 species and subspecies names of the genera Nasa and Aosa (Loasaceae: Cornales) / Publicación válida de 101 nombres de especies y subspecies de los generos Nasa y Aosa (Loasaceae: Cornales). Revista Peruana de Biología 13(1): 71-84
  • Weigend M (2006) Validating subfamily, genus and species names in Loasaceae (Cornales). Taxon 55(2): 463-468
  • White JC (1887) Dermatitis Venenata: An Account of the Action of External Irritants upon the Skin. Boston: Cupples and Hurd
  • [ + 10 further references not yet included in database]



Richard J. Schmidt [Valid HTML 4.01!]



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