Phyllonoma ruscifolia is a very unusual plant, as its flower clusters are formed directly from the upper surface of the leaf.
Phyllonoma ruscifolia was collected by Museum scientists in La Amistad national park in Costa Rica and Panama (2003-2008) as part of a Defra-funded conservation project in the area.
Phyllonoma ruscifolia was designated a keystone species for the park but is threatened as agriculture and logging in the area are destroying its habitat.
Phyllonoma is a very unusual genus of small trees, shrubs and woody epiphytes found in cloud forest from Mexico (Durango) to North Western Bolivia.
What makes these plants very unusual is the fact that the flower clusters are formed directly from the upper surface of the leaf, giving the appearance that somebody has sprinkled flowers over the whole plant!
There are four species within this genus, P. ruscifolia being the most common.
Phyllonoma ruscifolia is one of nearly 3,000 species of plants collected during exploration of La Amistad national park in Costa Rica and Panama (2003- 2008) as part of a Museum-led project funded by Defra to support the conservation of this area. It has been designated as one of 200 keystone species (a species that has a notable effect on its environment) for the Park.
Conservation assessment has been undertaken and it was established that, according to IUCN criteria, P. ruscifolia is Near Threatened.
Learn about the shape, size and colour of Phyllonoma ruscifolia and what distinguishes it from other members of the genus.
Discover where Phyllonoma ruscifolia can be found, the altitude it grows at and how its seeds are believed to be dispersed.
Find out why Phyllonoma ruscifolia has been classified as Near Threatened and the process that led to this conservation status.
Get reference material for Phyllonoma ruscifolia.
Phyllonoma ruscifolia showing the dark green, shiny, narrow egg-shaped to elliptic leaves with flower clusters at their very pronounced tips.The flower clusters develop from flower bud tissue which during plant growth becomes displaced attaching to the main vein of the upper leaf surface.© A Munro
Phyllonoma ruscifolia showing flower clusters at the base of the leaf-tip. formed directly from the upper surface of the leaf.© A Munro
The bisexual flowers of Phyllonoma ruscifolia are usually white to pale green and sometimes tinged orange© A Munro
Unripened green fruit of Phyllonoma ruscifoliaare spherical and cherry-like, these ripen to white or bright red.© A Munro
Ripening spherical and cherry-like Phyllonoma ruscifolia fruit borne of the flower cluster at the base of the leaf-tip.© A Munro
A ripe white Phyllonoma ruscifolia fruit, spherical and cherry-like and borne of the flower cluster at the base of the leaf-tip.© A Munro
Phyllonoma ruscifolia showing ripe white fruits at the tips of leaves that developed from the flower clusters.© A Munro