Full name and orig. publication: Reldia Wiehler, Selbyana 2: 124 (20 Aug.1977).
Etymology: Named for Robert Louis Dressler (1927-), an eminent American orchidologist and floral biologist, interested also in Gesneriaceae.
Infrafamilial position: Gesnerioid Gesneriaceae (Gesnerioideae) - Beslerieae.
Description: Terrestrial herbs with creeping rhizomes. Stem terete. Leaves alternate, often tufted near stem apex. Inflorescences axillary, often several in a leaf axil, epedunculate (?), ebracteate. Sepals free nearly to base. Corolla small, funnel-shaped, usually white, often yellow in the throat; tube dorsally spurred; limb unequal. Stamens 4, didynamous, slightly exsert; filaments adnate to corolla base; anthers coherent. Nectary usually a dorsal, bilobed gland. Ovary superior, stigma capitate. Fruit a dry, bivalved capsule, surrounded by the persistent calyx. Seeds striate-reticulate.
Chromosome number: Unknown.
Species number: 5.
Type species: Reldia alternifolia Wiehler
Species names (incl. publication and synonyms): See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005: World checklist of Gesneriaceae: http://persoon.si.edu/Gesneriaceae/Checklist.
Distribution: From Panama to northern Peru, growing in montane (more rarely lowland) rainforests.
Ecology: In humid, shaded ravines along streams or close to waterfalls.
Notes: From Gasteranthus and Cremosperma the genus is mainly distinguished by the alternate leaves, the small, white flowers, and the nectary reduced to a single, bilobed dorsal gland. The inflorescences are said to be epedunculate, but this and the range of forms sketched by Kvist & Skog (1989) need critical re-examination. The type species, R. alternifolia Wiehler, is remarkable for the cristate, epipetiolar inflorescences.
Selected references: Wiehler, Selbyana 6: 198 (1983); Kvist & Skog, Nord. J. Bot. 8: 601-611 (1989), rev.
Bibliography: See Skog, L.E. & J.K. Boggan. 2005. Bibliography of the Gesneriaceae. 2nd edition: http://persoon.si.edu/Gesneriaceae/Bibliography.
Reldia alternifolia Wiehler
Left: Selbyana 2/1, fig. 35a (1977)
Phot. L.E. Skog 4189
Reldia multiflora L.P.Kvist & L.E.Skog
Neotropical Life Plant Photos, The Field Museum, Chicago
last modified: 2007-07-13