Monographs Details: Cavendishia melastomoides var. albiflora Luteyn
Authority: Luteyn, James L. 1983. Ericaceae--part I. Cavendishia. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 35: 1-290. (Published by NYBG Press)
Description:Variety Description - Rachis (2-)3-4(-6) cm long, eglandular; floral bracts caducous, oblong, elliptic or rarely semiorbicular, 4-7.5(-10.5) mm long, apically rounded and usually slightly emarginate; pedicels 9-13(-15) mm long, eglandular; bracteoles lanceolate to narrowly ovate-lanceolate, glandular-callose in distal 1/3-½. Corolla not viscid, 16-20 mm long, glabrous, distally straight not arcuate, white; stamens 16-18 mm long; filaments glabrous, alternately 2.5-3 mm and 5.5-7 mm long; anthers alternately 14.5-15.5 mm and 11.5-12 mm long; style ca. 18.5 mm long.

Discussion:Cavendishia melastomoides is separable into three morphologically distinct and geographically isolated varieties differing by the characters given in the key and descriptions. Varieties melastomoides and albiflora from Costa Rica are relatively stable morphologically but do show some minor convergence in leaf size and shape, and in corolla length and color in the area between Zarcero and Quesada (Alajuela Prov.) where their ranges meet. Nevertheless, I have experienced no difficulties in keying them. Variety coloradensis was described from Cerro Colorado (Chiriqui Prov.), Panama, where it resembles the Costa Rican taxa in overall facies. A recent collection from the Fortuna dam site (western Chiriquí Prov., Panama) differs from the collections at Cerro Colorado by its eglandular rachis and pedicels, larger floral bracts which are persistent (not caducous) and apically notched, and by distally pilose corollas. Further collections from western Chiriquí are needed before the variation in var. coloradensis is fully understood.

Within sect. Callista, C. melastomoides is probably most closely related to C. wercklei through var. melastomoides, which resembles C. wercklei in glandular-fimbriate rachises and pedicels, lanceolate bracteoles glandular-callose in the distal 1/3 to 1/2, and often caducous floral bracts. It differs by its thinner rachis (1-1.5 not 2-4 mm diam.), smaller floral bracts (4-22 X 3—12 not 20-30 X 10-20 mm), distally curved corolla, and apophysis deeply 5-lobed (not merely undulate) at base.
Distribution:Costa Rica South America| Alajuela Costa Rica Central America| Puntarenas Costa Rica Central America|