Taxon Details: Eschweilera tetrapetala S.A.Mori
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Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Eschweilera tetrapetala S.A.Mori
Primary Citation:

Brittonia 33: 467. 1981
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Type Specimens:

Specimen 1: Isotype -- S. A. Mori

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

Type: Brazil. Bahia: Mun. of Andaraí, 3 km NE of Andaraí, ca. 400 m alt., 5 Mar 1980 (fl), Mori & Funch 13421 (holotype, CEPEC; isotypes, INPA, K, MG, MO, NY, P, RB, US).

Description: Trees, to 15 m x 50 cm, flowering as small as 3 m tall. Bark nearly smooth with reticulate pattern of lenticels when young, deeply fissured in adult trees, the inner bark red in adults. Leaves and flowers present at same time: petioles 8-17 mm long, ca. 2.5 mm diam. at middle; blades elliptic to narrowly ovate, 11-20 x 6-9 cm, glabrous, coriaceous, the base obtuse, very narrowly decurrent, the margins entire to minutely crenulate, slightly revolute when dry, the apex acuminate, the acumen greater than 5 mm long; venation eucamptodromous toward base weakly brochidodromous toward apex, the midrib slightly carinate throughout length adaxially, salient abaxially, the secondary veins in 10-15 pairs, plane adaxially, prominent abaxially, intersecondary veins present, the higher order venation plane adaxially, prominulous abaxially, visible on both surfaces. Inflorescences usually 1-branched, less frequently unbranched, axillary or terminal, the rachises 9-15 cm long, with horizontally oriented squamae; pedicel tapered to articulation, ca. 5 mm long; bract and bracteoles caducous. Flowers ca. 4 cm diam.; calyx with six imbricate lobes, the lobes very widely ovate, 3-5 x 6-9 mm, imbricate at bases (calycine rim absent), the apices obuse to rounded; petals four, the laterals and posterior larger and more cucullate than anterior, orbicular to oblong, 16-29 x 19-23 mm, white; androecium with staminal ring with 100-170 stamens, the filaments slightly clavate, ca. 2 mm long, the anthers white, ca. 0.7 mm long; staminal ring lip present, erect; the hood shorter than wide, white with yellow apically, with single coil bearing vestigial stamens on exterior surface and angular staminodes and vestigial stamens to 12 mm long on interior surface; anterior hood extension absent; ovary 2-locular, with 9-12 ovules per locule, inserted on floor of locule, the summit of ovary not seen, the style obconical, 1.5-2 mm long, the orientation not seen.. Fruits broadly turbinate, ca. 8 x 11 cm, the calycine ring inserted near or above middle of fruit base, the infrcalycine zone tapered to pedicel, the supracalycine zone erect to slightly tapered inward to operecular opening, the pericarp thick. Seeds 3 x 2.5 cm, angular in cross-section, reddish to chesnut-colored, the veins impressed, lighter in color than surface of test, the areas between veins smooth (i.e., higher order veins not visible); aril subbasal, small, ca. 5 mm long, cream-colored.

Common names: None recorded.

Distribution: Only known from interior Bahia, Brazil in the vicinity of Lençois.

Ecology: A small to medium-sized tree usually found in liana forest or semi-deciduous forest.

Phenology: Flowers have been collected in Dec, Apr, Mar, and Jun. Fruits with mature seeds have been collected in Feb.

Pollination: No observations recorded but the flowers are most likely visited by bees seeking nectar.

Dispersal: No observations recorded but the arils are most likely eaten and the seeds disperseb by mammals such as bats.

Predation: No observations recorded.

Field characters: This species is characterized by its semi-deciduous forest habitat; fissured outer bark and red inner bark in adult trees; usually 1-branched inflorescences with long, horizontally squamate rachises; imbricate calyx-lobes; 4 white petals; stamens over 100; andoecial hood with a single coil; and very broadly turbinate fruits with a thick pericarp.

Taxonomic notes: This species forms a group of Eschweilera recognised as sect. tetatrapetala by Mori and Prance (1990) that differs from other species of Lecythidaceae, including Eschweilera, by its androecial hood with a single coil that bears staminally derived appendices on both the exterior and interior surfaces, of the coil and the presence of a small basal or subbasal aril. Most other species of Eschweilera have a double or triple coiled androecial hood and a lateral aril or an aril that spreads over the entire surface of the seed. The ovary is 2-locular which is common in species of Eschweilera. Huang (2010) recovered this clade in her phylogenetic studies based on morphological (Huang et al. 2011) and molecular (Huang et al., in press) data. This clade did not nest with the Eschweilera clades.

Conservation: IUCN Red List: vulnerable D2, ver 2.3 (Pires O'Brien, J. 1998. Eschweilera tetrapetala. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Downloaded on 14 March 2014.). Plantas Raras do Brasil: rare (Giulietti et al., 2009).

Uses: The fruits have been used to pave muddy roads (pers. comm., R. Funch, see image).

Etymology: The species epithet alludes to the four petals, a feature found in only a few species of Eschweilera.

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

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Eschweilera tetrapetala S.A.Mori: [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.