Callopsis Engl.
  • Notizbl. Königl. Bot. Gart. Berlin 1: 27 (1895) 

Notes: Distribution: E. Trop. Africa

General Description

Small perennial terrestrial herbs with creeping slender underground rhizome. Leaves several, subtended basally by small cataphylls; petiole lacking apical pulvinus; sheath inconspicuous; blade cordate-ovate; main side veins excurrent into margins, finer venation reticulate. Inflorescence appearing with leaves, longer than petiole; peduncle slender. Spathe simple, broadly ovate-elliptic to subcircular, expanded, arching backwards, persistent in fruit, mucronate to shortly acuminate, decurrent at base. Spadix shorter than spathe, basal pistillate part adnate on one side to spathe and ± contiguous (naked interstice sometimes present) with free apical staminate part. Flowers unisexual, lacking perigon. Stamens free, densely congested, sessile; anthers dehiscing by short apical elliptic pores; connective ± slender. Pistils few, narrowly flask-shaped, ± distant towards base of spadix; ovary unilocular, with single basal ovule; stigma capitate on slender attenuate style. Berries elliptic, 1-seeded. Seed with endosperm; embryo elongate.

Laticifers simple, articulated. HABIT : small evergreen herbs, stem a slender hypogeal rhizome, internodes very short. LEAVES : usually minutely hispid on petiole and abaxial surface of blade. PETIOLE : sheath very short. BLADE : cordate-ovate; primary lateral veins pinnate, running into marginal vein, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 2 in each floral sympodium, appearing with the leaves. PEDUNCLE : slender, equalling or longer than petiole, sometimes exceeding entire leaf. SPATHE : broadly ovate-elliptic to subcircular, acuminate, decurrent, white, ± fully expanded and sometimes arching backwards at anthesis, persistent, closing at fruiting stage. SPADIX : shorter than spathe, female zone entirely adnate to spathe, ± laxly flowered with gynoecia ± biseriately arranged, contiguous with male zone or with short, naked axis in between, male zone equalling female, cylindric, densely flowered, fertile to apex. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigone absent. MALE FLOWER : probably 1-androus (2-3-androus according to Engler 1920a), stamens free, depressed subquadrate, anthers sessile, thecae opposite with subovoid microsporangia dehiscing by single apical pore. POLLEN : inaperturate, spherical to subspheroidal, medium-sized (mean 37 µm.), exine papillate-spinose. FEMALE FLOWER : gynoecium slender, flask-shaped, falcate, yellowish, ovary 1-locular, ovule 1, anatropous, placenta basal, style rather long-attenuate, stigma small, subhemispheric, slightly wider than style. BERRY : ellipsoid and slightly angled, style forming persistent mucro, green. SEED : ellipsoid, testa ± smooth, thin, embryo elongate, straight to slightly curved, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Small rhizomatous geophyte; leaf blade with reticulate fine venation; spadix fertile to apex; flowers unisexual, perigon absent; stamens free; gynoecium slender, flask-shaped with tapering style. Differs from Nephthytis in having cordate-ovate leaves, which are minutely hispid, a pure white spathe and female zone of spadix adnate to the spathe.


Tropical humid forest; creepng, rhizomatous geophytes, in leaf litter.


E. Trop. Africa.


in N.B.G.B. 1:27 (1895) & in E.P. 73 (IV. 23F): 58, fig. 8 (1920)

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon (Doubtful)

Included Species


  • 1 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. Continental Publishing, Deurne.
  • 3 S.J. Mayo (1985) Araceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa
  • 4 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 5 Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. The Genera of Araceae. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 1997).
  • 6 Mayo, S.Joseph, Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.Charles The genera of Araceae. (1997).

 Information From

Flora of Tropical East Africa (FTEA)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2004. eFloras: Iridaceae. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2013-08-02]
  • A All Rights Reserved
  • B
CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • C All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • D Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • E See You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.