Full name and orig. publication: Anetanthus [Hiern ex] Benth., in Benth. & Hook. f., Gen. pl. 2: 1025 (May 1876).

Etymology: From the Greek ανετος, anetos = lax, loose, and άνθος, anthos = flower, referring to the loosely arranged flowers in the inflorescence. Wiehler’s derivation (1976) from the Greek anethon (Latin anethum), the dill plant; and anthos, flower, “probably an allusion to the florescences of Anetanthus, resemling the linear or filiform leaf segments of dill, Anethum graveolens L.“ is erroneous.

Infrafamilial position: Gesneriod Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Beslerieae.

Description: Terrestrial or saxicolous herbs. Stem decumbent or pendent, slender. Leaves opposite, isophyllous, petiolate, lamina membranous, ovate, elliptic or lanceolate-acute. Axillary cymes several-flowered, pedunculate. Sepals shortly connate at base. Corolla white, bluish, violet or red, tube subcylindrical, limb with orbicular, slightly spreading lobes. Stamens 4, didynamous; filaments adnate to corolla base, anthers coherent in two pairs. Nectary cup-shaped, shallowly lobed. Ovary superior, ovoid; stigma stomatomorphic. Fruit an elongate ovoid capsule, 2-valved, dehiscence septicidal (plus short loculicidal slits). Seeds suborbicular, flattened, narrowly winged.

Chromosome number: Unknown.

Species number: 2 [A. gracilis Hiern, A. rubra L.E.Skog].

Species names (incl. publication and synonyms): See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005: World checklist of Gesneriaceae:

Type species: Anetanthus gracilis Hiern

Distribution: Peru, Bolivia, C Colombia and SE Brazil.

Ecology: On banks or rocks in forest.

Notes: While Howard (l.c.) recognized five species, Wiehler (1976) accepted only one (A. gracilis). Skog (1982) added a second species. The genus is exceptional in the Gesneriaceae by the flattened, winged seeds, the nectary (a five-pronged sheath almost surrounding the ovary), and the (otherwise rare) septicidal dehiscence of the fruit. The closest relatives are probably Resia and Reldia.

Selected references: Howard, J. Arnold Arbor. 56: 364-368 (1975), rev.; Wiehler, Selbyana 1: 374-404 (1976); Skog, Selbyana 7: 94-99 (1982), new sp.; Wiehler, Selbyana 6: 196-198 (1983); Fernandez, Caldasia 17: 383-387 (1995); Chautems, in Calvacanti & Ramos, Fl. Distrito Federal, Brazil 3, Brasilia (2003), reg. rev.; Araujo, Chautems & Souza, Bol. Bot. Univ. São Paulo 22(1): 43-51 (2004), reg. rev. (Serro do Cipó, Minas Gerais, Brazil).

Bibliography: See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005. Bibliography of the Gesneriaceae. 2nd edition:


Anetanthus gracilis Hiern

Left: type specimen (iso C)
ight: fruit (from iso C)


last modified: 2007-01-05