Species Details

Details of Golden Dewdrop will be displayed below

Golden Dewdrop   

Common Name: Pigeon Berry, Skyflower
Scientific Name: Duranta erecta
Local Name: Handhuvaree Maa
Dhivehi Name: ހަނދުވަރީ މާ
Plantae  (Kingdom)
Tracheophyta  (Plylum)
Magnoliopsida  (Class)
Lamiales  (Order)
Verbenaceae  (Family)
Duranta   (Genus)

Golden Dewdrop's description

Distinguishing Features

  • a slightly spiny upright shrub with drooping branches.

  • its oppositely arranged leaves are sometimes toothed towards their tips.

  • its blue or light purple (occasionally white) tubular flowers are borne in elongated clusters.

  • it is most easily distinguished by its large clusters of yellow-orange mature fruit.

Stems and Leaves

The branches can are often drooping in nature, especially when carrying large numbers of mature fruit. There are usually at least some pairs of spines along the stems, one located at the base of each of the leaf stalks (i.e. they are axillary spines). Younger stems are green in colour and sparsely covered in close-lying (i.e. appressed) hairs.

The leaves are simple and paired (i.e. oppositely arranged) or occasionally borne in whorls of three. They have short leaf stalks (i.e. petioles) up to 1 cm long and are oval (i.e. elliptic) to egg-shaped in outline (i.e. ovate). The leaf blades (15-90 mm long and 12-60 mm wide) usually have entire margins, but sometimes they are slightly toothed (i.e. serrated) towards the pointed or rounded tips (i.e. acute or obtuse apices). These leaves are sometimes sparsely covered in close-lying (i.e. appressed) hairs when they are young, but they quickly becomes hairless (i.e. glabrous).

Flowers and Fruit

The blue or pale purple flowers (occasionally white) are borne in elongated clusters (5-30 cm long) at the tips of the branches and in the upper leaf stalks (i.e. in terminal and axillary racemes). These flowers (9-18 mm long) are borne on short stalks (i.e. they are sub-sessile) and each flower consists of a thin tube (about 1 cm long), made up of the fused petals, which opens into five distinct lobes (i.e. corolla lobes). The two lower petal lobes are slightly smaller and both of these has a darker stripe down its centre. Each flower also has five small green sepals (3-7 mm long), that are also fused together at the base, and four stamens. Flowering mostly occurs during summer and autumn.

The fruit are rounded (i.e. globose) 'berries' (i.e. drupes) and are usually borne in large clusters. These glossy fruit (5-14 mm across) turn from green to orange or yellow in colour as they mature.

 

Golden Dewdrop's facts

Did You Know?

  • The genus "Duranta" was named after Castore Durantes, a 16th century Italian botanist and physician.
  • Mature duranta have thorns and bloom light blue, violet or white coloured flowers.
  • The berries and leaves of duranta are poisonous, and have killed children, cats and dogs.
  • Duranta is known as a weed in Australia, South Africa and China.

Golden Dewdrop's Reproduction

This species reproduces mainly by seed, which are most commonly dispersed by birds that eat the brightly coloured fruit. It also spread in dumped garden waste.

Golden Dewdrop's Relationship with Humans

The plant has been identified as an environmental weed in Australia, South Africa, and China, and is described as invasive in Hawaii, Fiji and French Polynesia. It has been introduced to other habitats but has not become invasive.

The leaves and 'berries' (i.e. drupes) are poisonous to people and animals, and are reported to have caused numerous deaths in domestic pets. If eaten by human, the fruit can cause gastro-intestinal irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea. Dense thickets can restrict access and reduce the productivity of pastures.