Monographs Details: Comarostaphylis discolor (Hook.) Diggs subsp. discolor
Authority: Luteyn, James L., et al. 1995. Ericaceae, Part II. The Superior-Ovaried Genera (Monotropoideae, Pyroloideae, Rhododendroideae, and Vaccinioideae P.P.). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 66: 560. (Published by NYBG Press)
Family:Ericaceae
Synonyms:Comarostaphylis arguta Zucc., Arctostaphylos nitida Benth., Arbutus salicifolia Sessé & Moc., Arctostaphylos arguta var. pyrifolia F.Donn.Sm. ex Loes., Comarostaphylis lucida Small, Arctostaphylos lucida (Small) Standl., Arbutus arguta (Zucc.) Zucc. ex Schltdl., Arctostaphylos arguta (Zucc.) DC., Comarostaphylis arguta Zucc., Comarostaphylis pyrifolia (F.Donn.Sm. ex Loes.) Small, Arctostaphylos pyrifolia (F.Donn.Sm. ex Loes.) Standl. & Steyerm.
Description:Subspecies Description - Shrubs to small trees to 10 m tall. Young twigs and petioles glabrous, often glaucous, frequently red or reddish-purple. Leaves plane or slightly re volute, upper surface glabrous, green and shining, lower surface glabrous, usually glaucous, sometimes extremely so. Inflorescences glabrous, or if with trichomes, these usually stalked and glandular. Flowers with corollas glabrous or subglabrous.

Discussion:While of little economic importance, subsp. discolor on occasion has been used medicinally. Standley (1924) states that the fruit or leaves have narcotic properties: children have been poisoned by the fruit, and the plant has been used for inducing sleep or as a purgative. Information on a specimen from Puebla (Boege 1155, MEXU) also notes its use for insomnia, as does Martinez (1944), while label data on Hinton 3474 (F, K, NY) indicates that the fruit is edible.

Subspecies discolor is easily recognized by the combination of its large leaves, glabrous, usually glaucous abaxial leaf surfaces, and glabrous petioles and twigs. Comarostaphylis discolor subsp. discolor has long been recognized as C. arguta, but this epithet must be rejected for the earlier epithet discolor (Diggs, 1982). Two often recognized species, C. lucida and C. pyrifolia, are here put into synonymy with subsp, discolor. The characters traditionally used to separate these taxa from subsp, discolor are leaf size and shape and the degree of glaucousness of the abaxial leaf surfaces. The size and shape characters overlap extensively, the glaucousness of the lower surfaces is not constant, and its preservation on herbarium specimens varies greatly with the method of drying. Numerical analysis (Diggs, 1987) and examination of relevant types and specimens from throughout the range lead to the conclusion that only one rather polymorphic taxon is involved.

Collections from Puebla (Smith et al. 3845, 3864) with very small, minutely serrulate leaves are assigned to subsp. discolor, but more information is needed in order to determine with certainty their proper placement. Another unusual set of collections comes from the areas of Cajones, Crucero, and Cumbre in the state of Mexico (Hinton 3473, 3474, 5930, 7210, 7447). These specimens have narrower and smaller leaves than is usual and are tentatively placed in subsp, discolor pending further investigation.

Some intermediates that are suspected hybrids of subsp. discolor with C. longifolia occur in western Mexico and are discussed in more detail under the latter. Possible hybridization in Oaxaca with C. spinulosa subsp. spinulosa is discussed under that taxon.

Distribution and Ecology: (Fig. 6) and ecology. The range of subsp. discolor is essentially that of the species as a whole, occurring in the mountains from Jalisco to Guatemala at elevations of 2000-3300(-3900) m. Habitats include forests of Abies, Pinus, and Quercus, and the "Bosque Mesofilo de Montana" of Rzedowski (1978). Among its associates are Abies guatemalensis, A. religiosa, Arbutus xalapensis, Buddleja, Clethra sp., Cornus sp., Cupressus lindleyi, Drimys sp., Liquidambar styraciflua, Persea sp., Pinus hartwegii, P. patula, P. pseudostrobus and Quercus acantenangensis. Subspecies discolor is often an understory shrub but can also occupy open or disturbed sites, in some cases forming mixed thickets with other ericads, including Gaultheria, Pernettya, and Vaccinium. It is apparently one of the dominant species in the shrub stage leading to the reestablishment of Abies forests in the Valley of Mexico (Madrigal, cited in Rzedowski, 1978). Field observations show it to be a common species following disturbance. Flowering and fruiting throughout the year but most commonly Mar-Jun and Jun-Nov, respectively.

Distribution:Mexico North America| Chiapas Mexico North America| Distrito Federal Brazil South America| Guerrero Mexico North America| Hidalgo Mexico North America| Jalisco Mexico North America| México Mexico North America| Michoacán Mexico North America| Morelos Mexico North America| Oaxaca Mexico North America| Puebla Mexico North America| Tlaxcala Mexico North America| Guatemala Central America| Quiché Guatemala Central America| Huehuetenango Guatemala Central America| San Marcos Guatemala Central America|

Common Names:caok té, madroño, garambullo, yaga-ya-na, madroño borracho, pingüica, axocopa, fior mayo, shulúp, madrón