Shrubs with unlobed leaves, mostly cordate based and attenuate apices. Margins are entire, except for a group of Andean species which are serrate. Epicalyx absent. Calyx is small (less than half the length of the mature fruit), and without costae. Corollas are mostly yellow. The stamens are terminal on a short, included staminal column, which is filamentiferous at its apex. The ovary is of 3-6 carpels, with 5 being most common. Fruit a schizocarp with distinctive mericarps which are bulbous – apiculate. They are smooth-walled, with two seeds in the upper bulbous, dehiscent portion, and a solitary seed below in the lower constricted, indehiscent portion. Variations on this can extend to a one seeded form. Fruits minutely glandular-puberulent to nearly glabrous.
Abutilon: Carpel characters: mericarps are not divided into upper and lower cells, often apiculate or spined at the apex.
Sida: Carpel characters: mericarps 5 – many, not divided into upper and lower cells, 1 seeded, usually with two apical spines more or less well developed.
Bastardiastrum: All have serrate leaves, calyces are larger and have raised costae, corollas are mostly white, staminal column is greatly reduced. The ovary has only 3-4 carpels, the mericarps are slightly woody and not bulbous. A Mexican genus.
Pseudoabutilon: Leaf margins crenate-serrate. Carpel characters: mericarps apically acute to spinescent, not bulbous. Presence or absence of an endoglossum.
Allowissadula: 3 lobed leaves, serrate or toothed margins, inflorescenses borne on stout branches (slender in Wissadula), corolla 8 – 25 mm, white to yellow; mericarps are thick walled and not inflated. May have an endoglossum.
Mostly native to the American tropics and subtropics, with several species in tropical Asia and Africa.
Status in Neotropics (Native, Cultivated, Naturalised, Endemic): Mostly native. Several species are endemic to Peru. Some species endemic to Ecuador, are considered endangered. Two species W. periplocifolia (L.) C. Presl Ex Thwaites) and W. amplissima (L.) R.E. Fr. are pantropical weeds.
Central America (5)
French Guiana (2)
Erect herb or subshrubs. Commonly in secondary regrowth stands, roadsides and disturbed ground generally. Sea level to 1500m elevation. Night flowering (W. periplocifolia, Colombia. Allen, No. 89. 1924 (K).)
Tropical and subtropical moist evergreen forests (Moist dense thickets and forests.)
Tropical and subtropical dry forests (Tropical and subtropical dry forests and dry shrubland.)
Deserts and xeric shrublands (Dry caatinga woodland.)
Materials: Stems contain a tough, fine fibre.
Medicines: Wissadula amplissima – leaves have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Wissadula periplocifolia var. gracillima is anti-inflammatory. Wissadula periplocifolia – Leaves are pectoral, and used in gargles against laryngitis. Heated on a fire and applied as a poultice, the leaves are considered helpful in treating wounds, cuts, boils and tumors.
Vernacular name: Mexico: R. cordata: jonote, R. lindeniana ssp. lindeniana: chaqueta de novia, mano de leon, manzanillo, R. lindeniana ssp. divergens: chabelita. Mexico: R. cordata: jonote, R. lindeniana ssp. lindeniana: chaqueta de novia, mano de leon, manzanillo, R. lindeniana ssp. divergens: chabelita
In 1978, D.M.Bates established Bastardiastrum, and Allowissadula, and segregated six Wissadula species into each of these new genera based on morphological, cytological and geographical similarities.