Taxon Details: Lecythis lurida (Miers) S.A.Mori
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Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Lecythis lurida (Miers) S.A.Mori
Primary Citation:

Brittonia 33: 362. 1981
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.

Author: Scott A. Mori & Nathan P. Smith

Type: Same as for Eschweilera lurida Miers.

Description: Trees, to 35 m tall, some individuals reported to flower when 1.5-4 m tall (e.g, Henriques P29883, Prance 28155), these usually growing in disturbed habitats, the trunk not buttressed. Bark gray, fissured when mature, the outer bark laminated, with maroon-colored layer between outer and inner barks, the inner bark not known. Stems 2.5-3.5 mm diam., glabrous. Leaves deciduous; petioles 4–14 mm long, glabrous, slightly canaliculate; blades narrowly ovate to ovate, elliptic to widely elliptic, or oblong to widely oblong, 7-22 x 4.5-9 cm, chartaceous to coriaceous, glabrous, the abaxial surface often papillate, sometimes dark reddish-brown when dry, the base obtuse, narrowly decurrent onto petiole, the margins nearly entire, crenulate, or crenate, the apex short acuminate to acuminate; venation brochidodromous to weakly eucamptodromous, the midrib prominant adaxially, salient abaxially, glabrous, the secondary veins in 11-20 pairs, intersecondary veins present, the tertiary veins reticulate. Inflorescences axillary or terminal, racemose, unbranched, the rachis 1.5–10 cm long, glabrous, lenticellate, with 1-20 flowers; pedicel/hypanthium nearly absent to 2 mm long below articulation, 4–8 mm long above articulation, the bract oblong, 10 x 2 mm, the bracteoles not known. Flowers when leaves present, 3–4 cm diam.; hypanthium truncate to tapered, often sulcate and sometimes finely rugose when dry, glabrous, color not known (probably green), longitudinally oriented mucilage-bearing ducts present; calyx-lobes 6, widely ovate to ovate, imbricate, 8-13 x 7-11 mm, glabrous, green, often with reddish streaks or dots on exterior; petals 6, widely to narrowly obovate, vertically oriented and tightly appressed to androecium for lower 1/2 of length, the upper half curled under, 21-33 x 16-20 mm, red or pink in bud, often at least tinged with pink abaxially, white adaxially at anthesis (a few specimens report completely white petals); androecium zygomorphic, a staminal lip present, the staminal ring with 160-200(-260) stamens, the filaments 2.5-3 mm long, nearly unidimensional to clavate, light yellow, the anthers 0.7 mm long, yellow, the hood curved, 16-20 x 16-20 mm, the outer surface wrinkled, light (or less often dark) yellow, with numerous vestigial stamens, the distal vestigial stamens curved inward, usually forming a partial coil, yellow, staminodes absent, anterior hood extension present; ovary 4(-5)-locular, the ovary summit truncate, the ovules 6–12 per locule, inserted from above base to apex of lower septum, erect to oblique, the style tapering to apex, oblique, 4–6 mm long, stylar collar absent. Fruits indehiscent, depressed globose, 6-9 x 7-11 cm, falling from tree at maturity, the calyx-lobes sometimes persistent, woody and not reflexed when present, the infracalycine zone 5–7 cm long, rounded to pedicel, the supracalycine zone 1.5–4 cm long, erect to slightly slanted inward, the pericarp 3–4 mm thick, leathery, brown. Seeds 2–7 per fruit, triangular or semicircular in cross section, large, 5-6 x 4-5 cm, the testa less than 1 mm thick, brown, the veins reticulate, whte, plane, the intervenal areas reddish-brown; aril vestigial and basal when seeds immature, absent when mature.

Common names: Brazil: Inhaiba and inhaiba-gigante (eastern coastal forest), jarana (Amazonia).

Distribution: Lecythis lurida is distributed from Rio de Janeiro to Pernambuco in eastern coastal Brazil and in eastern Amazonia as far S as NW Piauí.

Ecology: Lecythis lurida is a very small to large tree found in non-flooded moist forests, secondary vegetation, and savanna-like habitats. Plants growing in disturbed sites and savannas tend to be much reduced in stature. This species is classified as a late secondary species by restoration ecologists (pers. comm. R. A. Sartori to S. A. Mori, Oct. 2013).

Phenology: It flowers most profusely from Sep through Feb.

Pollination: No observations recorded but large-bodied bees have been seen is species of Lecythis with a similar floral structure.

Dispersal: The fruits of at least some of the collections drop to the ground with the seeds trapped in the inside. See "Taxonomic Notes."

Predation: No observations recorded.

Field characters: This species is characterized by markedly fissure bark; flowers with the petals with tinges of pink or purple abaxially; petals that are tightly pressed against the androecium for their lower part and often enrolled at the apices; and relatively large, indehiscent fruits that fall to the ground the large seeds trapped inside.

Taxonomic notes: Although this entity has long carried the epithet, jarana, the earlier name, Eschweilera lurida Miers, is the first for the species. Ducke (1925) established the genus Holopyxidium based on his observation that two species possess indehiscent fruits. He included H. retusum (Spruce ex Berg) Ducke and what he felt to be a new species H. jarana Huber ex Ducke, in his new genus. He later transferred both species to Eschweilera (Ducke, 1930) because according to him "Le genre Holopyxidium doit être supprimé: les pyxides des dites espèces ne sont pas indéhiscents comme je les jugeais, mais la déhiscence de l'opercule se produit après la chute du fruit mur, dans Ie cas où celui-ci ne se casse pas en tombent sur Ie sol. II s'agit, en réalité, d'une espèce du genre Eschweilera section Chytroma, ou déjà Miers constaté la déhiscence souvent rétardé ('when the fruit ripens, the operculum does not fall off immediately, but remains for some time, until the membraneous dissipiments become lacerated by decay' [Miers, 1874])." Smith (1933) correctly transferred Eschweilera jarana to Lecythis. However, he made the transfer based on a study of KrukofJ 1213 which he thought to represent the species here under consideration but which, in fact, is Lecythis chartaceaBerg. Nevertheless, all features (androecial type, truncate ovary summit, 4-locular ovary, and ovule attachment) are those of Lecythis. Therefore this species is best treated as Lecythis rather than as Holopyxidium. Knuth (1939) reinstated the genus Holopyxidium, separating it from Lecythis by its sessile seeds, thin pericarp, and scarcely dehiscent fruits. In his key to genera he claims that Holopyxidium has a short style, but, in his figure 12D, he clearly and correctly illustrates H. jarana with a long style. We believe that Ducke's original observation that the fruits of Lecythis lurida (his Holopyxidium jarana) are indehiscent is correct. Mori has observed fruits of this species on the ground with no sign of opercular dehiscence. The thin-walled pericarp was broken open and the seeds were germinating inside the fruit. Consequently, there is no doubt that the fruits fall intact. Nevertheless, they may give the impression of dehiscence because the opercular area rots away more readily than the rest of the fruit or, in some cases, the operculum may shed after the fruits are on the ground. A collection from the Tucurui Dam project on the Rio Tocantins (N. A. Rosa et al. 4095) is provisionally placed here but probably represents a new species. This taxonomy of this group of Lecythis is unsettled and awaits very detailed field study.

Conservation: IUCN Red List: Lower Risk/conservation dependent ver 2.3 (Pires O'Brien, J. 1998. Lecythis lurida. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Downloaded on 21 March 2014.).

Uses: The common name, "jarana," is widely applied in eastern Amazonian Brazil where its lumber is used for making railroad ties. Lobato (1976) has written that so many ties were made from it for the construction of the Belém-Bragança railroad that the species was nearly eliminated from the area.

Etymology: The protologue states that the leaves are "luride viridibus" adaxially which implies that Miers dedected some kind of dirty brown or yellow cast to them.

Source: Based on Mori 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):

Lecythis lurida (Miers) S.A.Mori: [Article] Prance, Ghillean T. & Mori, S. A. 1979. Lecythidaceae - Part I. The actinomorphic-flowered New World Lecythidaceae (Asteranthos, Gustavia, Grias, Allantoma & Cariniana). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21: 1-270.
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