A new species record of Melastomataceae for Costa Rica – Un nuevo registro de especie de Melastomataceae para Costa Rica

(Sí tenés problemas leyendo inglés, hásmelo saber y haré la traducción)

Blakea gregii was described not that long ago from Cerro Pate Macho in Chiriquí, Panama (Almeda, 1990). Since then, it was reported to be known from less than five collections, all from the type locality and nearby Cerro Horqueta also in Chiriquí (Almeda, 2000). Blakea gregii belongs to a group of species with green petals that includes B. austin-smithii, B. chlorantha, B. penduliflora, and B. purpusii, and can be distinguished from these species by “having uppermost internodes and elevated primary veins on abaxial leaf surfaces that are densely covered with appressed brown hairs 1-2.5 mm long, leaves that lack the saccate pseudoformicarial pouches at the petiole laminar junction, and outer and inner floral bracts that are shorter than the combined length of the hypanthium and calyx lobes” (Almeda, 2000).
During a series of expeditions led by Dr. Alex Monro of the Natural History Museum, London, with funding by the Darwin Initiative, and in collaboration with botanists from the National Institute for Biodiversity (INBio) of Costa Rica, the under collected locality of Fila Matama was visited. Fila Matama is located on the Caribbean slope of the Talamanca mountain range in the province of Limon in Costa Rica. Expeditions to this area usually result in interesting finds.
On October 29, 2007, botanists mainly from INBio collected specimens 11 km SW of the town of Aguas Zarcas in Fila Matama at an elevation between 1400 and 1500 meters above sea level. One of the plants they collected and photographed (see live pictures below) was an unusual species of Blakea with green petals. After studying the specimens, D. Santamaría and myself have come to the conclusion that it closely matches the type of B. gregii in the dense reddish indument of the leaf underside and small outer floral bracts (see images of the type of B. gregii below). The possibility remains that the Costa Rican material corresponds to a new species because of its longer peduncles and geographic disjunctive location. The fact that so few specimens of B. gregii and the recently discovered Costa Rican population exist, including the lack of good flowering specimens fo the Costa Rican population, precludes a better assessment and possible separation of the Costa Rican population as a new species.

Blakea_gregiiFigure 1. A. Abaxial surface of the leaf. B. Habit (note pendulous flowers). C. Flower buds to the left, and apparently eaten up older flower to the right. Photographs by Daniel Solano from specimen vouchered D. Santamaría et al. 6703 with at least one duplicate at INB.

type_comparisonFigure 2. A. Holotype of Blakea gregii. B. Specimen vouchered D. Santamaría et al. 6703 collected in Fila Matama, Limón, Costs Rica.

References

Almeda, F. 1990. New species and new combinations in Blakea and Topobea (Melastomataceae), with an historical perspective on generic limits in the tribe Blakeeae. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 46: 299-326.

Almeda, F. 2000. A Synopsis of the Genus Blakea (Melastomataceae) in Mexico and Central America. Novon 10(4): 299-319.

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