Two ‘bird-catcher trees’ from Puerto Rico

Main report: Two Caribbean bird-catcher trees named after two women with overlooked botanical work
(Pensoft Blog)
Other Reporting:, EurekAlert!
Scientific Paper: Phytokeys    (Plazi Treatment)
New Taxa: Pisonia horneae, Pisonia roqueae
Species named for: Frances W. Horne , Dr. Ana Roqué de Duprey
Categories: New Species | Plants

The two new trees belong to an extraordinary genus (Pisonia), containing rare plants mainly known for the ability to tangle birds with their sticky fruits, which inspired the common name “bird-catcher”.  The trees are from the four-o’clock family (Nyctaginaceae) and only found in Puerto Rico.   Pensoft Blog interviewed lead author Caraballo-Ortiz. He remarked that “Birds are the main dispersal agents for Pisonia trees, carrying the sticky fruits glued to their feathers to distant islands. However, sometimes these fruits can trap too tightly and even kills birds, as seen in documentaries. So far, we do not know of cases where birds have been trapped by the sticky fruits of the new species, but future studies will explore this possibility.”  The species have been named for two extraordinary women who spent decades on large educational projects aimed to divulge botanical knowledge in Puerto Rico.

Pisonia horneae, named after Frances W. Horne (1873-1967), an American illustrator who spent 45 years painting 750 watercolors of plants from Puerto Rico. Credit: Rosimar Rivera Colón

Pisonia_roqueae fruits. Pensoft Blog




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