Monographs Details: Cavendishia atroviolacea var. folsomii 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. atroviolacea costa foliorum in proximali 3-7.5 cm (non 1-2 cm) manifeste elevata, bracteolis ad medium pedicellum (non ad basim), corollis 18-21 (non 23-45) mm longis, et distributione geographica differt.

Variety Description - Leaves ovate- to oblong-lanceolate, or oblong-elliptic, basally rounded to subcordate; midrib conspicuously raised through proximal 3-7.5 cm (proximal 1/3-½ leaf length); petioles 7-10 mm long and 2-3.2 mm diam. Rachis 1.7-2.7 mm diam.; floral bracts 2-2.5 cm long, lavender to purple-lavender; bracteoles located just below middle of pedicels, 1-1.5 mm long. Flowers: calyx 5.5-8.5 mm long; limb 3-5.2 mm long; corolla 18-21 mm long.

Discussion:Cavendishia atroviolacea may be recognized by its violet to very dark maroonish- to lavender-purple floral bracts, purple to lavender corollas which are short-pilose with white trichomes, many-flowered elongate inflorescences which are cylindric to fusiform in bud, conspicuously apophysate hypanthia, and glandular-callose calyx lobes. It is one of the most striking plants of the Chiriqui highlands.

Recent collections from the low-elevation cloud forests along the continental divide in central Panama have yielded several collections of this species which I am calling var. folsomii. Its low-elevation, eastern distribution, contrasted with the more common high-elevation western range of var. atroviolacea, is notable. Also the smaller flowers and different leaf venation serve to separate it from var. atroviolacea. In one case (Maas et al. 2782) the midrib is so prominent that the leaf appears pinnately veined. The two collections from Alajuela Prov., Costa Rica are notable for their low-elevation and western distribution. They differ slightly from the Chiriqui collection in shorter corollas and more bullate leaves, but these differences seemingly fall within the limits of variation in var. atroviolacea.

Cavendishia atroviolacea is most closely allied to the widespread C. callista. They have in common many-flowered, relatively thick, elongate rachises which are cylindric to fusiform when in bud; eglandular rachises and pedicels; deeply lobed calyx apophyses; and persistent floral bracts. They may be distinguished by the features given in the key.
Distribution:Panama Central America| Coclé Panamá Central America| Colón Panama Central America|