Taxon Details: Lecythis schwackei (R.Knuth) S.A.Mori
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Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)
Scientific Name:

Lecythis schwackei (R.Knuth) S.A.Mori
Primary Citation:

Brittonia 33: 359. 1981
Accepted Name:

This name is currently accepted.
Common Names:


Author: Scott A. Mori & Nathan P. Smith

Type: Brazil. Minas Gerais: Virgem da Lapa, 9 Apr 1959 (fr), Magalhães 15322 (neotype, IAN, designated Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21(11). 1990).

Description: Small trees. Stems reddish-brown, with vertically oriented lenticels, ca. 4 mm diam. Leaves not known to flush just before flowering; petioles 8-15 mm long, glabrous; blades elliptic to oblong, 8-1 7 x 5-7 cm, glabrous, the abaxial surface whitish, with cuticular papillae, coriaceous, the base obtuses, the margins serrulate, revolute, the apex obtuse to short acuminate; secondary veins in 12-15 pairs, impressed adaxially, salient abaxially. Inflorescences racemose, terminal, unbranched, the rachis 4-10 cm long, with 2-10 flowers, glabrous; pedicels 4 mm long. Flowers 3.5-4 cm diam.; calyx with 6 widely ovate to ovate lobes, 8-11 x 5.5-8 mm, with longitudinally oriented mucilage bearing ducts; petals 6, widely obovate, 18-30 x 14-20 mm, yellow; androecium with staminal ring with filaments 2.5-3 mm long, dilated at apex, the anthers 0.7-0.8 mm long, the hood 17-20 x 15 mm, the appendages swept inwards, antherless; hypanthium glabrous, truncate at base; ovary 4- or 6-locular, with 4-6 ovules attached toward base of septum, the summit truncate, the style geniculate, 4-5 mm long. Fruits depressed globose, the base truncate, 4 x 5.5 cm (immature fruit, Araujo & Maciel 4307 at GUA), the style persisting in fruit. Seeds ca. 2.5 x 2-3 cm (from immature fruit, Araujo & Maciel 4307 at GUA).

Common names: Brazil: sapucaiú (Costa s.n. BHCB 13186).

Distribution: This species is known only from the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Ecology: Lecythis schwackei is a small tree of secondary deciduous forest (fide Magalhães 15322) and savanna-like vegetation (i.e., cerrado). This species is classified as a late secondary species by restoration ecologists (pers. comm. R. A. Sartori to S. A. Mori, Oct. 2013).

Phenology: Flowers of L. schwackei have been collected in Feb and Apr and the only collection of mature fruits was gathered in Jan.

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

Dispersal: No observations recorded and a description of the aril, if present, is lacking.

Predation: No observations recorded.

Field characters: Lecythis schwackei is characterized by growing in drier habits; small stature; impressed adaxial secondary venation; and papillate abaxial leaf blade surface.

Taxonomic notes: Because the holotype (Brazil. Minas Gerais: Rio Novo, no date (fr), Schwacke 8906) originally deposited at B or duplicates of this collection have not been found, Mori in Mori & Mori (1990) designated a neotype. Although Knuth identified Glaziou 14847 as Eschweilera blanchetiana (a synonym of E. ovata), it clearly represents Lecythis schwackei. The ovary is 6-locular, the leaves have distinctly serrulate margins, and the inflorescence is terminal, all of which are features of L. schwackei. The 6-locular ovary described by Knuth is not sufficient to allow recognition of Sapucaya as a distinct genus. Magalhães 15322 collection possesses 4-locular ovaries and therefore it appears that locule number may vary in this species, as it does in almost all species of plants. This species is related to a group of species informally called the "jarana" group of Lecythis which was at one time recognized as the genus Holopyxidium and to which L. gracieana, L. lurida, L. parvifructa, L. prancei, and several other undescribed species belong. Species of the "jarana" group have what appear to be either tardily dehiscent or completely indehiscent fruits. The relationship of this group with other species of Lecythis has not yet been resolved (Mori et al., 2007).

Conservation: IUCN Red List: vulnerable D2, ver 2.3 (assessed in 1998) (IUCN, 2009). Plantas Raras do Brasil: not on list (Giulietti et al., 2009).

Uses: None recorded.

Etymology: The species epithet refers to the collector of the type.

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

Flora and Monograph Treatment(s):

Lecythis schwackei (R.Knuth) 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.