Dissotis rotundifolia (Trailing Dissotis)

DissotisDissotis rotundifolia (Trailing Dissotis) Aka Spanish Shawl, Pinklady, or Trailing Tibouchina, comes from a genus of plants in the tibouchina family Melastomataceae. They are distributed in tropical America, as well as the old world. 

Dissotis rotundifolia (Trailing Dissotis)The genus name is based on the Greek word dissos, which means ‘twofold’. This refers to the two types of anthers which are characteristic of this genus. One anther grows upward, and then curves downward to form a hook-like form, just as Tibouchina does.

“Rotundifolia” derives from the Latin rotundus  ‘rolling, round, circular, spherical, like a wheel,’ and refers to the rounded foliage of the plant.

“Melastomataceae” is the family name which has its origin in “Melastoma L.”, which derives from Greek “melas” (black) and “stoma” (black mouth), alluding to the seeds of some species which tend to stain the mouth black after eating or drinking their juice. 

Dissotis rotundifolia (Trailing Dissotis)Dissotis rotundifolia likes to grow on very shallow water and has the look of a ground cover but requires dampened, watery soil. 

DissotisDissotis rotundifolia (Sm.) Triana [as Dissotis prostata Hook.f.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, vol. 29: The botany of the Speke and Grant expedition from Zanzibar to Egypt, t. 39 (1875) [W.H. Fitch]






24 thoughts on “Dissotis rotundifolia (Trailing Dissotis)

  1. Those hooks are quite interesting. They remind me of the curved needles medical personnel use with sutures. It’s a pretty plant. Rotundifolia reminds me of my grandmother — quite rotund herself!


    • They are quite amazing aren’t they? Yet Tibouchina (the cousin) wins the gardener’s heart. It is more like a shrub while this is a trailing plant. Dissotis r. is treated as a weed. These were taken with morning light. These are from about 4 years ago but I realized I had never posted them.


      • When I was in Council Grove, Kansas on my last trip, I happened by the county maintenance buildings, and discovered a building with a large sign that said, “Noxious Weed Department Warehouse. Control Your Noxious Weeds!” I suppose if you’re trying to deal with invasives, that might be the easiest way to get people’s attention. Still, I take your point. Too many people consider anything they haven’t personally planted to be a weed.


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