Taxon Details: Eschweilera compressa (Vell.) Miers
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Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Eschweilera compressa (Vell.) Miers
Primary Citation:

Trans. Linn. Soc. London 30: 248. 1874
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Common Names:


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

Type: Same as for Lecythis compress Vell.

Description: Small trees, 3-10 m tall. Bark unknown. Twigs slender, 2(3) mm diam. Leaves and flowers present at same time; petioles 4-8 mm long, 1-1.5 mm diam.; blades elliptic, 5.5-10 x 2.5-4 cm, glabrous, chartaceous, the base acute, the margins crenulate, especially toward apex, not revolute when dry, the apex acuminate, the acumen greater than 5 mm long; venation eucamptodromous toward base, brochidodromous toward apex, the midrib plane at very base, slightly carinate for remainder of length adaxially, salient abaxially, the secondary veins in 9-12 pairs, plane adaxially, prominulous abaxially, intersecondary veins present, the higher order venation plane to prominulous adaxially, prominulous abaxially, visible on both surfaces when dry. Inflorescences unbranched, usually in axils of uppermost leaves, sometimes terminal, the rachis often poorly developed, 0.5-2.5 cm long, with horizontally oriented squamae but this difficult to see on older rachises; pedicels tapered to articulation, 3-6 mm long, 1-1.5 mm diam. at middle, bract and bracteoles caducous. Flowers ca. 2.5 cm diam.; calyx with 5-6 lobes, the lobes triangular or not visible, unequal, not imbricate, fused at bases to form calycine rim, glabrous; petals 4, the posterior one cucullate, conforming to androecium in bud, the remaining three very widely obovate, 10-18 x 12-15 mm, white; androecium with staminal ring with 170-190 stamens, the filaments 1-1.5 mm long, clavate, yellow, the anthers 0.5 mm long, white, staminal ring lip unknown but probably present, the hood 14-17 x 12 mm, yellow, with single coil bearing vestigial stamens on exterior surface and longer, angular staminodes and vestigial stamens on inner surface, anterior hood extension absent; ovary 2-locular, each locule with 4-6 basally attached ovules, the summit of ovary plateau-like, the style obconical, ca. 1 mm long, orientation erect poorly differentiated from summit of ovary. Fruits depressed globose, 4.5-6 cm diam., the calycine ring inserted near or above middle of fruit base, the infracalycine zone rounded or tapered to pedicel, the supracalycine zone erect or slightly flared outward ; operculum markedly umbonate in young fruit, less so in older fruit. Seeds 8-10 per fruit, globose, circular in cross-section, 2.5 x 1.5-2 cm, the testa and veins unknown; arils small, basal.

Common names: Brazil: ibiriba-rana fide Berg (1858), sapucaia miuda (fide J. G. Kuhlmann RB 136148). sapucaípe (fide Siqueira & Pretti 1055).

Distribution: Found in the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro, Brazi and in northern Espírito Santo, Brazil. Most of the collections have been made in the forests around Rio de Janeiro, such as the Tijuca National forest where it has been collected in the forest of of the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden. In Espirito Santo it has been collected in tabuleiro forest.

Ecology: Small tree of non-flooded moist forests. This species is classified as an old growth forest species by restoration ecologists (pers. comm. R. A. Sartori to S. A. Mori, Oct. 2013).

Phenology: Flowers have been collected in Jan and Nov and immature fruit has been collected in May.

Pollination: No observations recorded but most likely pollinated by bees.

Dispersal: No observations recorded but the small aril may attract animals that carry the fruit away to eat it.

Predation: The label of Sucre 9158 states that the fallen fruits are eaten apparently by rodents. Because the fruits are woody, this observation most likely indicates that the seeds and/or the arils are consumed because the fruits are woody.

Field Characters: This species is easily recognized by its small stature; slender twigs; small, narrowlly elliptic, chartaceous leaf blades with crenulate margins (a feature not found in other species of Eschweilera sect. Tetrapetala); unbranched, poorly developed inflorescence rachises; unique calyx which forms a calycine rim 1 mm high (also found in several other species of this section); four white petals; yellow androecial hood with a single coil with vestigial stamens on both the exterior and interior surfaces (common to this section); depressed globose fruits; and seeds with small basal arils.

Taxonomic notes: This species belongs to a group of Eschweilera recognised as sect. tetatrapetala by Mori and Prance (1990). See the species page of Eschweilera teterapetala for a description of this group. We have not seen mature fruits and seed for this species, thus our description is based on immature fruits and the protologue drawing for the basionym Lecythis compressa.a basal aril is illustrated by Velloso (see attached>) and Miers (1874) mentions and illustrates a basal scar. Miers (1874) reports that this species has six petals but our limited observations indicate that there are four and this is substantiated by a note on the Graham s.n. collection of this species.

Conservation: IUCN Red List: critically endangered B1+2cd, ver 2.3 (Pires O'Brien, J. 1998. Eschweilera compressa. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Downloaded on 13 March 2014.).

Uses: None recorded.

Etymology: The species epithet may refer to the somewhat compressed shape of the fruit.

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

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Eschweilera compressa (Vell.) Miers: [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.