Couratari pyramidata (Vell.) R.Knuth
This name is currently accepted.
Author: Ghillean T. Prance, Scott A. Mori & Nathan P. Smith
Type: Same as for Lecythis pyramidata Vellozo. Brazil. Plate 86 in Vellozo, Fl. Flumin., Ie. 5. 1837 (lectotype).
Description: Trees, to 20 m tall. Stems tomentellous when young, becoming glabrous with age. Leaves: petioles 3-10 mm long, tomentellous when young, slightly canaliculate, slightly winged or not winged; blades oblong or rarely elliptic, 9-17 x 3-9 cm, coriaceous, glabrous adaxially except for a few scattered stiff hairs on venation, scattered pilose abaxially, the hairs simple and stellate, the base rouinded to subcuneate, the margins undulate to slightly crenate, the apex retuse to acute ; midrib prominulous and almost glabrous adaxially, prominent abaxially, the secondary veins 13-17 pairs, prominent on both surfaces, the tertiary venation prominently reticulate on both surfaces. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, racemes or once branched paniculate arrangement of racemes, the rachis and rachillae densely tomentellous; pedicels ca. 2 mm long, densely tomentellous. Flowers with hypanthium campanulate, ca. 4 mm long; calyx-lobes ca. 5 mm long, tomentellous on both surfaces, the margins ciliate; petals oblong-ovate, ca. 3 cm long, puberulous abaxially, glabrous adaxially, yellow; androecium with double coil and external flap, ca. 4 cm long, yellow, glabrous, the staminal ring ca. 8 mm diam., the exterior of hood with numerous, dense, echinate appendages, the staminal ring with ca. 45 stamens inserted around ring with greater number towards ligule; ovary 3-locular. Fruit cylindrical, rounded in cross section, broadest at calycine ring, 7-7.5 x up to 4 cm broad, the pericapr ca. 3 mm thick, hard and woody, the calycine ring inserted 10-15 mm below apex, forming an almost unbroken ridge 1 mm tall around perimeter; operculum not radially grooved, centrally convex or concave, the columella triangular. Seeds oblong to lanceolate, to 5 cm long.
Common names: None recorded.
Distribution: Eastern-central coastal Brazil around Rio de Janeiro.
Ecology: A small to large tree in low coastal scrub and and adjacent Atlantic coastal forest. This species is classified as a late secondary species by restoration ecologists (pers. comm. R. A. Sartori to S. A. Mori, Oct. 2013).
Phenology: Collected in flower from Apr to Jul.
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: The small size of this species and its occurence in low, coastal scrub forest distinguishes this species from the large stature and moist to wet forest habitats of the other species of Couratari sect. Echinata.
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. Because type herbarium material of Couratari pyramidata has not been found, Prance (Prance in Mori & Prance, 1990) designated the Vellozo plate as the lectotype.
Conservation: IUCN Red List: endangered B1+2c, ver 2.3 (assessed in 1998) (IUCN, 2009). Plantas Raras do Brasil: rare (Giulietti et al., 2009).
Uses: None recorded
Etymology: It is not known what the specific epithet of this species refers to.
Source: Based on Prance in Mori and Prance (1990).
Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):Couratari pyramidata (Vell.) R.Knuth
: [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.