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Rivina humilis

Rivina humilis, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Petiveriaceae
Genus: Rivina
Species: Rivina humilis

Rivina humilis L., Sp. Pl. 1: 121(–122). 1753.

Solanoides pubescens Moench, Methodus (Moench): 307. 1794, nom. illeg. superfl.
Rivina pallida Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 67. 1796, nom. illeg. superfl. (as Pallida)
Tithonia humilis (L.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 552. 1891.

Rivina humilis var. canescens L., Sp. Pl. 1: 122. 1753.
Rivina humilis var. glabra L., Sp. Pl. 1: 122. 1753.
Rivina laevis L., Mant. 1: 41. 1767. (as lævis)
Piercea glabra Mill., Gard. Dict., ed. 8., Piercea no. 1. 1768. (as Glabra)
Piercea tomentosa Mill., Gard. Dict., ed. 8., Piercea no. 2. 1768. (as Tomentosa)
Rivina viridis F.W.Schmidt in J.Mayer, Samml. Phys. Aufsätze 1: 185(–187). 1791.
Rivina brasiliensis Nocca, Ann. Bot. (Usteri) 6: 63(–64). 1793.
Solanoides laevis (L.) Moench, Methodus (Moench): 307. 1794. (as levis)
Rivina gracilis Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 67. 1796, nom. illeg. superfl. (as Gracilis)
Rivina purpurascens Schrad., Commentat. Soc. Regiae Sci. Gott. 16: 137(–138), t. 5. 1808.
Rivina laevis var. acuminata Moq., Prodr. [A. P. de Candolle] 13(2): 12. 1849. (as β acuminata)
Rivina brasiliensis var. viridis (F.W.Schmidt) Moq., Prodr. [A. P. de Candolle] 13(2): 12. 1849. (as β viridis)
Rivina laevis var. pubescens Griseb., Fl. Brit. W.I.: 59. 1864 [1859].
Rivina paraguayensis D.Parodi, Anales Soc. Ci. Argent. 5(4): 206. 1878.
Rivina viridiflora Bello, Anales Soc. Esp. Hist. Nat. 12: 105. 1883.
Tithonia humilis var. canescens (L.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 552. 1891.
Tithonia humilis f. albiflora Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 552. 1891.
Tithonia humilis f. purpurascens (Schrad.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 552. 1891.
Tithonia humilis var. glabra (L.) Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 2: 552. 1891.
Rivina laevis f. viridiflora (Bello) Voss in Siebert & Voss, Vilm. Blumengärtn., ed. 3., 1: 877. 1895.
Rivina humilis var. laevis (L.) Millsp., Publ. Field Columb. Mus., Bot. Ser. 2(1): 41. 1900. (as Rivina humilis lævis)

Native distribution areas:

Northern America
North-Central U.S.A.
Southwestern U.S.A.
South-Central U.S.A.
New Mexico, Texas.
Southeastern U.S.A.
Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana.
Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest.
Southern America
Central America
Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama.
Aruba, Bahamas, Cayman Is., Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Leeward Is., Netherlands Antilles, Puerto Rico, Southwest Caribbean, Trinidad-Tobago, Venezuelan Antilles, Windward Is.
Northern South America
French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela.
Western South America
Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru.
Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central.
Southern South America
Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Paraguay, Uruguay.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Grisebach, A.H.R. 1859. XXI. Phytolacceae. Pp. 58–59 in Flora of the British West Indian Islands. Lovell, Reeve & Co., London. BHL Reference page.
Kuntze, O. 1891. Revisio generum plantarum vascularium omnium atque cellularium multarum secundum leges nomenclaturae internationales cum enumeratione plantarum exoticarum in itinere mundi collectarum. Pars II. Pp. 377–1011. Arthur Felix, Leipzig [etc.]. BHL Reference page.
Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum, exhibentes plantas rite cognitas, ad genera relatas, cum differentiis specificis, nominibus trivialibus, synonymis selectis, locis natalibus, secundum systema sexuale digestas. Tomus I. Pp. [I–XII], 1–560. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae [Stockholm]. BHL Reference page.
Salisbury, R.A. 1796. Prodromus stirpium in horto ad Chapel Allerton vigentium. VIII + 422 pp. Londini [London]. BHL Reference page.
Siebert, A. & Voss, A. 1894–1896. Vilmorin’s Blumengärtnerei. Beschreibung, Kultur und Verwendung des gesamten Pflanzenmaterials für deutsche Gärten. Dritte Aufl. [3rd ed.] Band I. VIII+78+1264 pp. Verlagsbuchhandlung Paul Parey, Berlin. German. BHL Reference page.

Additional references

Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. 2012. Phytolaccaceae. In Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 688–689. BHL Reference page.
Aymard C., G.A. & Cuello A., N.L. 2003. Phytolaccaceae. Pp. 672–680 in Steyermark, J.A. (†), Berry, P.E., Yatskievych, K. & Holst, B.K. (eds.), Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, Vol. 7, Myrtaceae–Plumbaginaceae. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. ISBN 0-930723-13-9. Reference page.
Morales, J.F. 2007. Phytolaccaceae. Pp. 894–902 in Hammel, B.E., Grayum, M.H., Herrera, C. & Zamora, N. (eds.), Manual de plantas de Costa Rica, Vol. VI, Dicotiledóneas (Haloragaceae–Phytolaccaceae). Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. ISBN 978-1-930723-60-3. Reference page.
Nowicke, J.W. 1968. Palynotaxonomic study of the Phytolaccaceae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 55: 294–364. DOI: 10.2307/2395128 BHL JSTOR Reference page.
Raeder, K. 1961. Phytolaccaceae. In Woodson, R.E., Jr., Schery, R.W. & Collaborators, Flora of Panama, part IV, Fascicle 4. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 48: 66–79. BHL Reference page.
Villaseñor, J.L. 2016. Checklist of the native vascular plants of Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 87: 559–902. DOI: 10.1016/j.rmb.2016.06.017 Online PDF Reference page.


International Plant Names Index. 2018. Rivina humilis. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018.
Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2019. GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset. Taxon: Rivina humilis.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Rivina humilis in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 2018-03-29.
Hassler, M. 2018. Rivina humilis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2018. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2018 June 13. Reference page. 2018. Rivina humilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018. Flora Mesoamericana: Rivina humilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018.
Rivina humilis in Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. Accessed: 14 April 2018. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of the Department of Antioquia (Colombia): Rivina humilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018. Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Ecuador: Rivina humilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018. Peru Checklist: Rivina humilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018. Bolivia Catalogue: Rivina humilis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 29 March 2018.
Rivina humilis in Flora do Brasil 2020 em construção. Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. Accessed: 30 March 2018.
Rivina humilis in Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares del Conosur. Instituto de Botánica Darwinion. Accessed: 21 May 2018.

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Blutbeere
English: Pigeonberry

Rivina humilis is a species of flowering plant in the family Petiveriaceae. It was formerly placed in the pokeweed family, Phytolaccaceae.[2] It can be found in the southern United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and tropical South America. Common names include pigeonberry,[1] rougeplant,[1] baby peppers,[3] bloodberry,[1] and coralito.[1] The specific epithet means "dwarfish" or "lowly" in Latin, referring to the plant's short stature.[4]


Pigeonberry is an erect, vine-like[5] herb,[3] reaching a height of 0.4–2 m (1.3–6.6 ft).[5] The leaves of this evergreen perennial[6] are up to 15 cm (5.9 in) wide and 9 cm (3.5 in), with a petiole 1–11 cm (0.39–4.33 in) in length. Flowers are on racemes 4–15 cm (1.6–5.9 in) long with a peduncle 1–5 cm (0.39–1.97 in) in length and pedicels 2–8 mm (0.079–0.315 in) long. Sepals are 1.5–3.5 mm (0.059–0.138 in) in length and white or green to pink or purplish.[5] The fruit is a glossy, bright red berry[4] 2.5–5 mm (0.098–0.197 in) in diameter.[5]
Rivina humilis plant with fruit and flowers.

Rivina humilis can be found in forests, thickets, shell middens, hammocks, roadsides, and disturbed areas at elevations from sea level to 1,700 m (5,600 ft).[5] It requires less than partial sun and is tolerant of full shade. It is also tolerant of salt spray and saline soils.[6]

It is considered invasive in New Caledonia, where it was likely introduced in 1900.[7] It is considered a weed in Queensland, Australia where it has naturalised, and is also naturalised on Cocos Islands, Réunion, Norfolk Island, Fiji, Tonga, French Polynesia, Hawaii, India and the Galapagos Islands.[8]

Pigeonberry is cultivated as an ornamental in warm regions throughout the world[5] and is valued as a shade-tolerant groundcover.[9] It is also grown as a houseplant[10] and in greenhouses.[5]

The juice made from the berries was used as a dye and ink at one time. The berries contain a pigment known as rivianin or rivinianin,[4] which has the IUPAC name 5-O-β-D-Glucopyranoside, 3-sulfate, CAS number 58115-21-2, and molecular formula C24H26N2O16S.[11] It is very similar to betanin, the pigment found in beets.[4] The fruit also contains the betaxanthin humilixanthin.[12]

The juice of the berries have been tested in male rats and are reported to be safe to consume.[13]

R. humilis is a host plant for the caterpillars of Goodson's greenstreak (Cyanophrys goodsoni)[14]

"Rivina humilis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2009-12-09.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385.
"Rivina humilis L." Native Plant Information Network. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
Nellis, David W (1997). Poisonous Plants and Animals of Florida and the Caribbean. Pineapple Press Inc. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-56164-111-6.
"Rivina humilis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 121. 1753". Flora of North America. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
"Pigeonberry Rivina humilis". Ornamental for the Texas Gulf Coast. Texas A&M University. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
Hequet, Vanessa (2009). Les espèces exotiques envahissantes de Nouvelle-Calédonie (PDF) (in French). pp. 17, 47.
"Coral berry | Weed Identification – Brisbane City Council".
Garrett, Howard (1996). Howard Garrett's Plants for Texas. University of Texas Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-292-72788-5.
"Pigeon Berry Latin Name: Rivina humilis". Plant Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
D. C. Ayres, ed. (1994). Dictionary of Natural Products. Vol. 7. CRC Press. p. 645. ISBN 978-0-412-46620-5.
Humilixanthin a new betaxanthin from Rivina humilis. Dieter Strack, Doris Schmitt, Hans Reznik, Wilhelm Boland, Lutz Grotjahn and Victor Wray, Phytochemistry, 1987, Volume 26, Issue 8, Pages 2285–2287, doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)84702-0
Food Chem. Toxicol., December 2011, volume 49, issue 12, pages 3154-3157
"Goodson's Greenstreak Cyanophrys goodsoni (Clench, 1946)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2010-08-22.

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