Taxon Details: Eschweilera nana (O.Berg) Miers
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Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Eschweilera nana (O.Berg) Miers
Primary Citation:

Trans. Linn. Soc. London 30: 261. 1874
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Common Names:

sapucaia, tucuri

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

Type: Brazil. Mato Grosso: In sandy savanna nr. Camapuan, Oct (fl), Riedel s. n. (holotype, LE fide Berg, n.v.; isotypes, P, photo P at NY).

Description: Small trees or shrubs, 2-15 m tall. Bark thick, corky, rough in adults. Twigs robust, 5-6 diam. Leaves and flowers present at same time: petioles 5-7 mm long, 2-4 mm diam.; blades usually widely oblong, less frequently widely elliptic or ovate, 8-21 x 6-15 cm, glabrous, coriaceous, the base commonly rounded but also obtuse or cordate, sometimes doubled inward when dried, the margins entire, not or only slightly revolute when dry, the apex usually rounded, infrequenly acute or acuminate, the acumen when present less than 5 mm long; venation eucamptodromous, the midrib slightly carinate adaxially, salient abaxially, the secondary veins in 8-15 pairs, often impressed adaxially, salient abaxially, intersecondary veins present, the higher order venation plane, scarcely visible adaxially, prominent abaxially when dry. Inflorescences usually unbranched, infrequently 1-branched, terminal or in axils of uppermost leaves, the main rachis 4-27 cm long, sometimes zig-zagged, with horizontally elongated squamae; pedicels 5-7 mm long, 4-5 mm diam. at middle; bracts and bracteoles caducous. Flowers ca. 5-6 cm diam.; calyx with (5-)6 lobes, the lobes very widely ovate, 9-12 x 8-13 mm, imbricate at bases (calycine rim absent), the apcies rounded; petals six, widely obovate, 23-40 x 17-31 mm, white, less frequently light yellow; androecium with staminal ring with 600-700 stamens, the filaments, clavate, 1.5-2.5 mm long, white, the anthers yellow, ca. 0.5 mm long, staminal ring lip erect, ca. 0.7 mm wide, the hood ca. 20 x 20 mm, yellow, with single coil bearing vestigial stamens on exterior surface and angular, longer staminodes and vestigial stamens on interior surface, anterior hood extension absent; ovary 2-locular, with 2-8 ovules per locule, inserted on floor of locule, the summit of ovary long umbonate, the style obconical, 3-4.5 mm long, slightly obliquely oriented toward anterior end of flower, not well differentiated from summit of ovary. Fruits turbinate or globose, 4.6 x 5-7.5 cm, the calycine ring inserted near or slightly above middle of fruit base, the infracalycine zone tapered or rounded to pedicel, the supracalycine zone erect, sometimes flared outward near opercular opening, the pericarp 10-15 mm thick, the operculum with or without umbo. Seeds fusiform, circular in cross-section, 3 x 2-2.5 cm, the testa chestnut colored, the veins impressed, lighter colored than surface of testa, the areas between veins smooth, (i.e. higher order veins not visible); aril subbasal, as wide or wider than long, ca. 10 x 10 mm, usually restricted to basal part of seed, but sometimes extended onto veins (see image of Queiroz 4144).

Common names: Brazil: tucari, tucari do campo. Sapucaia (Walter et al. 455) is sometimes applied to this species but that name is more commonly used for Lecythis pisonis and species related to it.

Distribution: Endemic to Brazil where it is widely distributed in the Planalto into northeastern Brazil and into southwestern Amazonia.

Ecology: A common shrub or small tree found in cerrado (= savanna) vegetation from 400 to 800 m alt. It often grows on sandy soils.

Phenology: Flowering collections have been gathered from Jan to Aug and from Sept to Nov throughout its range. Flowering collections can most commonly be found in Jan. In the Parque Estadual da Serra Azul in the municipality of Barra do Garças, Mato Grosso Eschweilera nana flowers profusely from January to August (Potascheff, 2010). Flowers and mature fruits can be found on trees in the same population and even on the same trees.

Pollination: This species has an androecial hood with a single coil and staminal appendices on both the exterior and interior of the coil. Nectar is produced from non-differentiated tissue on the interior of the coil at the bases of the appendices. The flowers begin to open between 0800 and 0900 h and stay open for an average of 35 hours with the shortest lived flowers open for only 22 and the longest lived ones for 46 hours. Anther dehiscence started at 0800 h but some anthers dehisced as early as 0700 h and some as late as 1000 h. Pollen viability, which was tested by staining it with aceto carmine, revealed that 97.92% of the grains took up the stain. Average nectar production for a flower open for 35 hours was 196.55 microliters (minimum and maximum nectar production was 38 and 388 microliters, respectively). The average sugar concentration was 30.7% (minimum and maximum concentrations were 27.4 and 32%, respectively). Bees, with 14 species, were the most frequent visitors. The most efficient bee pollinators were Bombus atratus, Centris collaris, C. denudans, C. dorsata, C. longimana, C. scopipes, Epicharis flava, Eufriesea auriceps, Eulaema cingulata, E. nigrita, and Xylcopa frontalis. Centris denudans and C. longimana were observed entering flowers only four and two times, respectively. The most frequent visitors were Centris scopipes, Epicharis flava, Eufriesia auriceps, Eulaema cingulata, E. nigrita, and Xylocopa frontalis. The bees entered the flowers with their dorsal sides against the staminal ring while they collected nectar. A wasp, Campsomeris sp., displayed the same behavior as the bees and is considered a potential pollinator. Smaller bees (e.g., species of Trigona), beetles, a grasshopper, etc. visited the flowers but are considered to be flower robbers or accidental visitors. No potential pollinators were seen entering the flowers at night (Potascheff et al., 2013).

Dispersal: This species has a basal aril which may be sought after by bats for food. Potascheff (2010) observed that ants carried away seeds with an attached aril to their nest, apparently to consume the aril, but ants are probably not the main dispersers of the seeds of this species.

Predation: Potascheff (2010) noted that unknow psittacids opened the fruits and consumed the seeds of this species.

Field characters: Eschweilera nana is characterized by its cerrado habitat; very thick, rough, and corky bark; robust twigs; often more-or-less oblong shaped leaf blades with adaxially impressed secondary veins; inflorescences that are usually unbranched; infructescences sometime very long and pendent; imbricate calyx lobes; 6 usually white petals (sometimes reported as pale yellow); large number of stamens; androecial hood that coils once inward but does not form a double coil; appendices (staminodes and vestigial stamens) on both the exterior and interior surfaces of the coil; seeds with impressed nerves and smooth intervenal areas; and subbasal aril equal in length and width.

Taxonomic notes: This species belongs to Eschweilera sect. Tetrapetala but this was not recognized by Mori and Prance in Mori and Prance (1990). A feature unique to Eschweilera sect. tetrapetala is the presence of staminodes and/or vestigial stamens on both the exterior and interior surfaces of the coil and basal or subbasal arils, features that do not occur in species of Eschweilera. Huang (2010) was the first to show that sect. Tetrapetala forms a clade based on molecular data. Queiroz & Nascimento 4144 has a very unusual aril in that it is not restricted to the subbasal part of the seed but also extends onto the major veins.

Conservation: IUCN Red List: not on list (IUCN, 2009): Plantas Raras do Brasil: not on list (Giulietti et al., 2009).

Uses: None recorded.

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the small stature of this species compared to most other species of the family.

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

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to Carolina Potascheff for allowing us to use her images of this species.

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Eschweilera nana (O.Berg) 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.
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