Jaltomata darcyana Mione
Mexico to Costa Rica
revised March 2021
Link to Jaltomata homepage The information on this page may be cited as a communication with
professor Thomas Mione, Central Connecticut State University,
Biology Department, Copernicus Hall, 1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050-4010.
Link to Jaltomata of Mexico and Central America
 Link to list of Jaltomata species having edible fruit
Link to chromosome count
Link to the local name(s) reported for this species
Mione, T. & L. Yacher. 2005. Jaltomata (Solanaceae) of Costa Rica. In: A Festschrift for William G. D'Arcy, The Legacy of a Taxonomist. Edited by R. C. Keating, V. C. Hollowell and T. B. Croat. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden Press, volume 104. ISBN 1-930723-45-8.

Figure 1. Flowers of J. darycana last one day. Note that the curved style orients the stigma (at white arrow) to the side. We can see that the corolla is adaxially densely pilosulose with erect, gland-tipped (droplet-tipped on fresh flowers) finger hairs; these are (4) 5—6 celled and 210—290 µm long. Note the drop of nectar between two stamens where the androecium meets the corolla. This species lacks a pistillate phase: anthers open and present pollen when the flower opens. We can see in the above photo that all anthers have dehisced.

Look at the calyx in the upper left corner of the above photo, the corolla-androecium dropped, and this means that the flower in the upper left corner was open yesterday or the day before this photo was taken.

Plant grown and photo by Thomas Mione, J. D. Amith et al. 1858 grown as Mione 313

ripe fruit of Jaltomata darcyana
Figure 2. Ripe (black) and unripe (green) fruits of Jaltomata darcyana
(smallest units are mm, Mione & Yacher 694; plant grown and photo by Thomas Mione)




left: Two inflorescences, each with one open flower.

lower left: Overhead view of flower. Shape of the base of the stamen is evident, as are corolla maculae and curved style.

lower right: One stamen was removed to reveal style and ovary of a flower. Droplets of clear nectar are evident on the corolla where the corolla meets the expanded bases of the stamens. Anthers have all dehisced.

These photos are of plants grown from seeds of the type collection Mione & Yacher 694, and were taken in Connecticut by Thomas Mione

When Jaltomata darcyana was named (described) it was known only from the seasonally dry Pacific Coast of Costa Rica where it grows at lower elevations than the other Jaltomata species of Costa Rica. Now (2014) it is also known from Nicaragua (specimen studied by Jamie Kostyun, see below), and Mexico for certain (I grew plants from seeds) .

Reproductive Biology of Jaltomata darcyana

J. darcyana has a curved style orienting the stigma to the side (J. procumbens, a more common and more commonly collected species has a straight style)

The curved style may increase the chances of delayed self-pollination after an opportunity for outcrossing.

Day 1: dehisced anthers are several mm away from the stigma (no self-pollination going on during this phase).

Then, at the end of the first and only day the corolla closes.

Two possibilities that are not mutually exclusive:

A) when the corolla closes (at the end of the first day) pollen comes in contact with the stigma,

B) when the corolla abscises (the next day) the stamens (attached to the corolla) drop with the corolla, causing pollen to come in contact with the stigma

Two collections from two different countries have been studied to date.

Prior to the recognition of J. darcyana as a distinct species collections were annotated by previous workers as J. procumbens. The latter not only has straight styles, but it also has a day of protogyny during which the flowers are functionally pistillate. J. darcyana lacks protogyny: the flowers are functionally hermaphroditic within an hour of opening.

J. darcyana is self-compatible and autogamous, based on abundant fruit production by spatially isolated plants grown for study in 2000, 2001, 2002.  Translucent nectar droplets were observed where the corolla and androecium meet (the base of the corolla). This nectar might be produced by the ovarian disk and then, taking the path of least resistance, seep through the bases of the stamens on to the corolla.

Flowers of this species last only a single day during which they are functionally hermaphroditic. The flowers of all other Jaltomata of the black-purple fruited clade studied to date last at least two days and are always pistillate for a day prior to filament elongation and anther dehiscence. In contrast, J. darcyana has lost this initial period during which the flower cannot self-pollinate. To date, this is the only Jaltomata species of the black-purple fruited clade that is not protogynous. Link to floral phenology of Jaltomata darcyana.

Cleistogamy: Plants grown in Connecticut showed self-pollination in the bud! The above bud (left) would open for the first time the day after this photo was taken (note small slit beginning to appear where corolla lobes meet). When I opened the bud (with fine forceps) I found (flower above right) that all five anthers had dehisced. Now we can see (above right) that the style curves slightly, and pollen is present on the stigma; the curve of the style seems to facilitate self-pollination. WE CAN SEE POLLEN ON THE STIGMA in the above right photo, pollen that either got there prior to my opening the bud, or during the opening of the corolla (by me). Given the curve of the style, it is entirely possible that the pollen got on the stigma (pollination took place) prior to the bud being manually opened.

In both of these photos two mm were cut from a plastic ruler, taped to the plant, and can be seen in the photos.

The combination of large somewhat coriaceous leaves, and flowers that lack protogyny, last only a single day and have curved styles, contributed to the recognition of this taxon as a distinct species.

In this description trichomes are not gland-tipped unless indicated as such. Finger hairs are uniseriate, unbranched and multicellular. Branchlet hairs have multiple termini (Seithe, 1979). Gland-tipped finger hairs (on the Jaltomata of Costa Rica found only on the adaxial face of the corolla) have an expanded terminal cell that stains densely with neutral red. As well, the multicellular head of the stalked glands (common on the abaxial faces of the perianth) also stains densely with neutral red. Pollen grain diameter was measured after staining pollen 30 minutes in "cotton blue" stain; anthers were stored in 70% ethanol prior to staining. Floral phenology was observed in the field, and on healthy plants grown for study both outdoors, and indoors under lights. Pollen grains were counted using the method of Anderson and Symon (1989).

Habit & Height Erect glabrous herb to 1.17 m high x 0.91 m across.  
Stems Stems hollow, green to purple, strongly angulate with 4 to 5 raised longitudinal ridges, to 3.5 cm diameter at or just above base.  
Older Branches different from younger?  
Leaf Size alternate, often geminate, to 30 cm long, , the margin entire or nearly so and on smaller, younger leaves sparsely ciliolate with finger hairs to 0.1 mm long; petiole to 2.5 cm long.  
Leaf Shape the blade elliptic, the proximal most 13—16% of the blade cuneate, the tip usually acuminate, the length to width ratio 1.5 to 1.8, the margin entire or nearly so  
Leaf texture and hairs the faces glabrous and lustrous, somewhat coriaceous, younger leaves sparsely ciliolate with finger hairs to 0.1 mm long  
Inflorescence axillary or arising from a stem dichotomy, umbellate, to 41-flowered (including very small buds) on plants cultivated for research  
Peduncle & Pedicel Peduncle to 2.1 cm long and pedicel to 2.3 cm long; both green, glabrous, and having raised longitudinal ridges.  
Calyx at Flowering green, 5.2—7.4 mm from pedicel to tip of lobe, 12--14 mm in diameter, the midrib raised, ciliolate near apex with 1 to 3 celled finger hairs 38—138 µm long, the hairs usually simple but occasionally with more than one terminus, abaxially with abundant stalked glands 60—75 µm long.  
Corolla shape and size rotate, 17—20 mm (-25 mm, cultivated) in diameter 1
Corolla lobes/lobules 5-lobed, 1
Corolla color and hairs light-green with dark-green maculae collectively stellate in outline, the margin ciliolate with branchlet hairs to 190 µm long, adaxially densely pilosulose with erect, gland-tipped (droplet-tipped on fresh flowers) finger hairs, (4) 5—6 celled and 210—290 µm long, abaxially with abundant stalked glands 70—80 µm long. 1
Stamens 4.5—5 mm long; filaments straight or nearly so, nearly glabrous with unpigmented finger hairs to 0.3 mm long only on expanded base 1
Anther length & color anthers1.4—1.9 x 1.0—1.8 mm, yellow  
anthers of a flower open simultaneously? yes  
Pollen Grains 25—27.5 µm in diameter (n = 59 grains);
74,000—149,000 grains per androecium (n = 2 androecia)
42,500 grains per androecium (n = 1 androecium, 2011)
The 2011 pollen count was done by CCSU student Elisabeth dos Santos
Stigma green, capitate,with a shallow medial groove (when living), 0.33—0.51 mm wide (when pressed), the papillae to 28 µm long (living)  
Disk around ovary off-white to light orange disk girdling the base of the dark green ovary  
Style length style 4.2—5.1 mm long, curving and therefore orienting the stigma to the side (see photos above)  
Ovules per ovary 158—168 per ovary (n = 2 ovaries) The ovule count of one locule was doubled to obtain the total ovules per ovary.
Nectar Translucent nectar droplets form where the corolla and androecium meet. This nectar is likely produced by the ovarian disk and then, taking the path of least resistance, seeps through the bases of the stamens on to the corolla.  
Herkogamy? Yes, the dehsiced anthers and stigma are about 4 mm away from each other during the first and only day the flower is open  
Protogyny No  
Fruits dark black-blue at maturity, subspherical, to 14 mm in diameter, remaining attached to parent plant (not dropping at maturity).  
Calyx at fruit maturity to 26 mm in diameter, stellate, green, rotate to slightly reflexed, not hiding fruit in side view.  
Seeds subovate, alveolate,1.8—1.98 X 1.41—1.62 X 0.45—0.54 mm thick,
to 146 per fruit.
Seedlings have gland-tipped stem hairs (2009).
2010: All hairs uniseriate unpigmented. I don't see droplets of fluid or viscous secretion at the tips of the hairs (dissecting microscope), but I do see that some seedling hairs have a terminal, bulbous cell that has a nucleus and other hairs taper to a point (compound microscope, 200X)
Chromosome number 2n = 24. Chromosomes were counted with the method of Bernardello & Anderson (1990); to obtain root tips seeds were sown on wet filter paper in a petri dish at room temperature under ambient light.  
Growability in Connecticut, USA, outdoors Easy  


Collections of Jaltomata darcyana including Geographic Distribution and Altitudes (chronological order)
Country Primary Political Region Locality



habitat date collector data entry
Costa Rica Guanacaste Santa Rosa
no data
in shade
Sept 1971
Callaway 294 (US)
August 2010
Costa Rica Puntarenas TYPE SPECIMEN. Nicoya Peninsula, Curú, 90 46’ 50” N, 840 56’ 05” W,
edge of pasture
11 Jan. 2000
T. Mione & L. Yacher 694 (holotype, NY!; isotypes: CONN!, CR!, MO!)
August 2011
Nicaragua Esteli Salto de Estanzuela
no data
humid canyon
13 Aug 1976
J. S. Hall 7685 (CR); Jamie Kostyun wrote (personal communication 2014) "definitely looked like J. darcyana"
July 2014
Mexico Guerrero San Luis Acatlán, Yoloxóchitl, eastern edge of town
alongside main road
18 Oct 2010
J. D. Amith et al. 1858,
grown as Mione 313
August 2011
Mexico Jalisco 19 39' N, 104 04' W. Tuxcacuesco, Centro de asistencia del LNLJ Zenzontla
820 m
Veg. sec. de bosque tropical subcaducifolio
9 Aug 1988
L. Robles 600 (WIS)
Apr 2014
United States Illinois, Chicago Little Village neighborhood, part of South Lawndale (41° 50' N, 87° 42 W)
home garden of a woman who brought the seeds with her from Michoacán at least 20 years earlier, and grows it every year
John Taylor (without collection number), grown by T. Mione as FIX
Oct 2018

The following information will be organized into the table above
. COSTA RICA. Guanacaste: Santa Rosa National Park, ca. 10 50’ N., 85 37’ W., 0--320 m, 16 July 1981, Janzen 12113 (MO), and 10 50’ N., 85 35’ W., 8 Nov. 1981, Janzen 12125 (F);
Nicoya Peninsula, Cantón Nandayure, Pilas de Bejuco, Quebrada Seca, 9o 52’ 01” N., 85o 20’ 45” W., 40 m, 15 Oct. 1994, Estrada & Rodríguez 242 (CR, INB).
Puntarenas: Reserva Biológica Carara Estación Quebrada Bonita, 9 46’ N., 84 36’ W., 30 m, 26 June 1990, Bello & Rojas 2295 (CR, F, INB);

Nicoya Peninsula, Curú, pastures S of entrance road, mouth of Marianas Canyon, 50 m, 13 Sep. 1995, Sanders & Baker 17892 (F, NY).

Figure . Anthers, outer face. Discoloration of anthers due to storage in 70% ethanol (distance between horizontal lines are mm; photo by T. Mione)
Figure . J. darcyana left, J. procumbens right
(12" ruler horizontal on pot on left, photo by T. Mione)
stem cross section stem cross section
Figure . J. darcyana stem cross section. Secondary xylem is blue
(sectioning by hand by, and photo by, T. Mione).
Figure . Same as at left. Note phloem (purple) both internal to the secondary xylem and external to the secondary xylem.
Figure . J. darcyana stems have raised longitudinal ridges (photo by T. Mione, collection Mione & Yacher 694) Same as at left

Figure . Upper leaves of Jaltomata darcyana serve as a gutter system for water: leaves angle toward stem, directing rain toward stem and down to ground at base of plant. White ruler 18 cm long. J. D. Amith et al. 1858 grown as Mione 313. Plant grown in Connecticut by and photo by Thomas Mione, August 2011


Figure above. Leaves of Jaltomata darcyana (larger) and J. bohsiana (smaller and darker). These leaves were selected because they were among the largest on the plants. Plants cultivated indoors (April and May) and outdoors (June and July) by and scanning done (July 2009) by Thomas Mione. Both of the plants shown were grown from seeds of the type collections. Upper photo shows upper side of leaves; lower photo (Figure below) shows lower side of leaves.
Roots of a Jaltomata darcyana plant cultivated outdoors in Connecticut, USA (collection Mione & Yacher 694, photo by T. Mione, seeds planted spring of 2010 and plant dug from ground for photo early October 2010)


I applied for a National Geographic Grant, years ago, and miraculously enough, was awarded it.  Leon Yacher and I went to Costa Rica and rented a car, and travelled around looking for plants of the genus Jaltomata.

At least one previous researcher had published this contention that there was one species of Jaltomata in all of Costa Rica.  I was a newby, and saw in museum specimens what I thought was more than one species in the country.  Being a newby, I assumed I was wrong and should go to the country and have a look.
I made careful observations: altitude, plant height, flower size (and many many more of these characteristics were recorded for each collection).  My conclusion after dong a quantitative analysis was that there are three species of Jaltomata in Costa Rica. I wrote a book chapter about this, and showed the quantitative analysis.  The work has stood the test of time: 1) I have continued to work with these species and I am still absolutely certain of the analysis in my book chapter, and 2) a younger worker with whom I share seeds agrees with me after doing her doctoral dissertation on Jaltomata

One of the three species of Costa Rica did not have a name.  I had to name it.  I named it Jaltomata darcyana, to honor a man named William D'Arcy who had helped me when I was getting going.  

Years later J. darcyana was found being grown as a source of food in (and I am not kidding) Chicago! 

At the moment I first set eyes on this species monkeys were shouting in nearby trees, in lowland west Costa Rica.  Exact collection locality information is in the book chapter.


Seed Germination Jaltomata darcyana
Seed Germination 2009, Mione & Yacher 694: Seeds planted 1 April germinated sporadically; 5 showed their first above-ground sign of germination on 6 June 2009, over 2 months after being planted! Germination was very poor indoors where there was no natural light, distilled water was used for watering, and a heat mat was used to warm cups holding seeds.
When the cup holding the seeds was placed outdoors (date not recorded, approximately end of May or first few days of June) germination was triggered. Why was germination triggered by the outdoors? Was it natural light, heat, fluctuating temperatures, drying between waterings, or some combination of these?

Seed Germination 2010,
Mione & Yacher 694: On 12th of March seeds were divided into two groups, a) seed coat partially removed with a razor blade (while observing through a dissection microscope), and b) no treatment. Both were planted on potting mix and kept moist, on a heat mat. The first above-ground signs of germination was on 30 April 2010 (group a only). As of 13 May, only two seedlings, both of group a, are present.

Seed Germination 2011
: Mione 313: Seeds planted 20 April showed the first signs of above-ground germination on 2 May (12 days); a heat mat was used under the cups containing the seeds.


Notes from Paul R. Wilson:

A pot contained the roots, during the summer of 2020, of a living J. darcyana plant (accession Mione 313) and on 24 Feb 2021 I removed the contents of the pot. I noticed the taproot felt intact and smelled like the damaged roots do when J. darcyana is alive. I sprayed it with water a couple of times and now there are new shoots beginning to form (buds for new branches that of course will have leaves). The roots spent about a week resting on the soil surface before I noticed new growth. The plant is not dead despite four months without water! Similarly, a specimen (accession Mione 694) that "died" two months ago is also putting out new leaves again.



Literature Cited