Taxon Details: Couratari asterotricha Prance
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Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Couratari asterotricha Prance
Primary Citation:

Brittonia 33: 17. 1981
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Type Specimens:

Specimen 1: Isotype -- A. M. Lino

Author: Ghillean T. Prance, Scott A. Mori & Nathan P. Smith

Type: Brazil. Espírito Santo: Reserva Florestal de Linhares, 26 May 1972 (buds), A. M. Lino 65 (holotype, RB; isotype, NY).

Description: Large trees, to 31 m tall, the trunk cylindric (fide Silva 001). Bark shallowly fissured (fide Silva 001). Stems glabrous when young. Leaves: petioles 5-9 mm long, glabrous, canaliculate above, not or only slightly winged; blades oblong, 9-11.5 x 3-4.5 cm, coriaceous, glabrous, the base cuneate to subcuneate, the margins undulate to slightly crenate, the apex acuminate, the acumen 4-; midrib prominulous adaxially, prominent, glabrous abaxially, the secondary veins in 14-17 pairs, prominulous on both surfaces; apex acuminate, the acumen 4-5 mm long. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, unbrached or once-branched racemes, the rachis stellate pubescent; pedicels 4-5 mm long, densely stellate tomentose, articulate at or near rachis. Flowers: hypanthium campanulate, ca. 4 mm long, with conspicuous, tufted, stellate tomentose indumentum abaxially; calyx-lobes ovate, ca. 5 mm long, stellate tomentose on abaxially, the margins irregularly fimbriate; petals ovate, shortly stellate pubescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially, yellow; androecium yellow, glabrous, the exterior of hood with numerous, dense, echinate appendages, the stamens ca. 40, inserted around staminal ring in several rows; ovary 3-locular. Fruits narrowly campanulate, slightly asymmetrical at base, the calycine ring prominent, inserted 1 cm below rim. Seeds not seen.

Common names: Brazil. Imbirema (Mori 22630), a name applied to several species of Couratari.

Distribution: Known only from collections from Espirito Santo.

Ecology: Canopy trees of moist forests.

Phenology: Flowers have been collected in May and fruits with nearly mature seeds in Oct.

Pollination: No observations recorded but bees have been observed visiting the flowers of the closely related Couratari stellata (Mori & Boeke, 1987).

Dispersal: The circumferentially winged seeds are dispersed by the wind.

Predation: No observations recorded.

Field characters: This species has very dense stellate pubescence on the hypantium and the leaves are relatively small with undulate to crenate margins. The secondary venation appears to be brochidodromous throughout the length of the blade and the connecting loops are several millimeters from the margin of the blade. Venation features need to be studied for all species of Couratari sect. Echinata before this feature can be used to delimit species. The fruits (Mori 22630) are similar in shape and size to those of C. stellata but this fruit collections did not have accompanying leaf collections.

Taxonomic notes: This species belongs to Couratari sect. Echinata which includes the following species: C. asterophora, C. asterotricha, C. macrosperma, C. pyramidata, C. scottmorii, and C. stellata. This section is characterized by an echinate androecial hood (see images of the androecium on the species pages of C. macrosperma, C. scottmorii, and C. stellata). Prance also notes that the species possess short pedicels and sessile fruits with well developed calyx scars. In addition, the flowers of these species are not produced when the trees are leafless, have white petals, white to yellowish androecial hoods, and the pubescence of the inflorescence rachises and hypanthia are yellowish-brown in color. There is no sign of the pink to purple flower coloration and leaf fall just before flowering found in the other two sections of the genus (sects. Couratari and microcarpa). The pubescence of species of sect. Couratari is purple tinged and the species of sect. microcarpa are glabrous. The species of sect. Echinata form a superspecies (Prance in Mori & Prance, 1990) and are difficult to distinguish from one another. In addition, Several of the species, especially those from eastern Brazil, where four of the six species occur, are known from relatively few collections; thus, it is not yet possible to say if the differences among them provided in their protologues merit recognition at the species level.

Uses: The wood is used for plywood (Prance in Mori & Prance, 1990).

Etymology: The species epithet refers to the star-like trichomes of this species.

Conservation: IUCN Red List: critically endangered B1+2d, ver 2.3 (assessed in 1998) (IUCN, 2009). Plantas Raras do Brasil: rare (Giulietti et al., 2009).

Source: Based on Prance in Mori and Prance (1990).

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to B. Angell for allowing us to use her line drawing to illustrate the characters of this species.

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Couratari asterotricha Prance: [Article] Mori, S. A. & Prance, Ghillean T. 1990. Lecythidaceae - Part II: The zygomorphic-flowered New World genera (Couroupita, Corythophora, Bertholletia, Couratari, Eschweilera, & Lecythis). With a study of secondary xylem of Neotropical Lecythidaceae by Carl de Zeeuw. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21: 1-376.