Duranta erecta

Duranta erecta.

In Family Verbenaceae there are around 17 species from Central America.
Known just as Duranta or Pigeon berry, is naturalised in Queensland.
Also known as Duranta repens, it is commonly seen in gardens.

They are mostly seen as shrubs or small trees up to 5 m or so high.
They can also grow as scrambling climbers.
The branches droop down, especially when carrying fruit.
Young, green, roughly 4-angled branches have sparse hairs that lie flat.
There may be a some axillary spines that are up to 1 cm long and have a few hairs.

The simple leaves may be in opposite pairs or in opposite pseudo whorls of 3 or 4.
They are on grooved, hairy petioles up to 1 cm long.
The ovate or elliptic blades are up to around 8 cm long and 5 cm wide.
The tips can be round or pointed and the base is wedge-shaped.
There are sometimes teeth near the tip.
Young leaves may have a few hairs on both surfaces.

The terminal or axillary inflorescences are clusters (racemes) up to 50 cm long.
The peduncle (stalk) is around 1 cm long and there are up to 50 flowers.
There are small linear bracts a few mms long.
Each trumpet-shaped flower is on a stalk (pedicel) up to 5 mm long that usually has hairs.

The purplish-green calyx has the bases of the 5 sepals fused into a tube up to 7 mm long.
There are 5 short teeth on the rim.
The calyx persists, and enlarges, on the fruit.

The narrow corolla tube is up to 10 mm long with 5 blunt lobes 5 mm long.
There are hairs on both surfaces of the tube and lobes.
The corolla can be blue, mauve, purple or lavender.
There is a dark stripe on the lower two, smaller petal lobes.

The 4 stamens insert near the top of the corolla tube.
The filaments, around 1 mm long, are hairy and the anthers are dorsifixed.
The roughly spherical, 1 mm ovary is green and hairless.
Of 4 carpels it has 8 locules each with 1 ovule.
The 3 mm long style holds the small 4-lobed, oblique stigma.

The fruit are drupes around 1 cm across.
The fleshy calyx around the fruit changes from green to orange or yellow.
The calyx lobes form a small beak at the end.

Cultivars include:

Duranta erecta ‘Variegata’ has cream edges on the leaves.

Duranta erecta (repens) ‘Geisha Girl’.
A shrub or climber with deep purple flowers.
The petal lobes have white edges.

Duranta erecta (repens) ‘Alba’.
A 3 m shrub with white flowers and yellow fruit.