Monographs Details: Cavendishia megabracteata var. attenuata Luteyn
Authority: Luteyn, James L. 1983. Ericaceae--part I. Cavendishia. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 35: 1-290. (Published by NYBG Press)
Description:Latin Diagnosis - A var. megabracteata foliis basi cuneato-attenuatis (non obtusis, rotundatis vel truncatis), floribus magis numerosis, rhachidibus 3.5-6 (non 0.6-3.5) cm longis, bracteis floralibus 30-35 (non 20-70) mm longis, calycis 4-5.5 (non 7-13) mm longis, corollis 17-20 (non 31-43) mm longis, et distributione et elevatione differt.

Variety Description - Leaves lance-elliptic to broadly elliptic, 6.5-10.5 cm long, basally cuneate-attenuate. Inflorescence 10-14-flowered; rachis 3.5-6 cm long and 1.5-1.7 mm diam.; floral bracts 30-35 x 15-26 mm, purple, pink to lavender-pink when fresh. Calyx 4-5.5 mm long; hypanthium 1.5-2.5 mm long, the apophysate base straight, extending to articulation; limb campanulate, ribbed, 2.5-3 mm long; corolla 17-20 mm long; stamens 16 mm long; filaments alternately 3 mm and 6 mm long; anthers alternately 15 mm and 12 mm long; thecae 4.5-5 mm long; style ca. 1820 mm long.

Discussion:Cavendishia megabracteata is characterized by its large, apically emarginate, reddish floral bracts; obconic or spherical inflorescences (when in bud); basically whitish flowers; and glandular-callose calyx lobes. Both the floral bracts and corollas are extremely thin in texture and translucent when dry. The size, shape, and texture of its floral bracts alone serve to distinguish this species from most other Mexican-Central American cavendishias.

The two varieties of C. megabracteata are easily distinguished by the characters given in the key. Additional collections of var. attenuata are sorely needed, however, to determine the extent of its variability and geographical and elevational range.

Within sect. Callista, Cavendishia megabracteata, C. wercklei, C. callista, C. atroviolacea, and C. melastomoides are members of a closely knit group of Costa Rican-Panamanian cavendishias characterized, in general, by plinerved leaves, large floral bracts and corollas, and strongly apophysate calyces which are usually conspicuously lobed or ribbed. It is difficult to say which species are more closely related because each has its own derived features. Cavendishia megabracteata is distinguished from the rest by its emarginate floral bracts; the other species are characterized by features given in the key.
Distribution:Panama Central America| Coclé Panamá Central America|