Full name and orig. publication: Mitraria Cav., Anales Ci. Nat. 3: 230, t. 31 (March 1801), nom. cons., non Mitraria J.F.Gmel. (1791).

Etymology: From the Greek μιτρα, mitra = mitre, in reference to the mitre-formed bracteoles covering the calyx. 

Synonym: Diplocalyx Presl. (1844).

Infrafamilial position: Coronantheroid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae Coronanthereae).

Description: Straggling or epiphytic subshrub. Stem and branches softly woody, obscurely tetragonous. Leaves rather small, opposite or rarely ternate, petiole short, lamina ovate-acute, coarsely crenate-serrate, nearly glabrous. Flowers axillary, solitary, pendulous; bracts large, ovate, connate or one side, embracing the calyx on one side. Sepals free, unequal (one larger, four smaller). Corolla bright scarlet; tube curved, constricted at the base, ventricose above, mouth slightly contracted; limb obscurely bilabiate, lobes subequal, obtuse, spreading. Stamens 4, didynamous, slightly exserted; filaments subulate; anthers free. Disc large, cupular, completely adnate to ovary. Ovary ovoid, superior, unilocular; style long, slightly exserted; stigma inconspicuous. Fruit a fleshy berry.

Chromosome number: 2n = 74.

Type and only species: Mitraria coccinea Cav.

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

Distribution: Chile and adjacent Argentina. 

Ecology: Occurring in cool temperate rain forest.

Notes: The red solitary pendent flowers, the calyx of which is embraced by spathaceous, enlarged prophylls (cf. synonym), are apparently bird-pollinated.

Selected references: Wiehler, Selbyana 6: 160 (1983); Zollner, Palmengarten 55: 25-27 (1991).

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


Mitraria coccinea Cav., only species

Cav., Anales Ci. Nat. 3: 230, t. 31 (1801), original illustration

Mitraria coccinea Cav.

Left: Rev. Hort., ser. 3/3: 441, fig. 25 (1849)
Right: Bot. Mag., t. 4462 (1849)

Mitraria coccinea Cav.

Cult. RBG Edinburgh, phot. A.Weber (1975)


last modified: 2007-01-05