Monographs Details: Chimarrhis cubensis Steyerm.
Authority: Delprete, Piero G. 1999. Rondeletieae (Rubiaceae). Part I. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 77: 1-226. (Published by NYBG Press)
Synonyms:Chimarrhis cymosa var. microcarpa (Urb.) Standl.
Description:Species Description - Trees to 10-20(-30) m tall, without or with very small buttresses; bark light brown, soft; wood yellow, very hard. Leafy branchlets 3-4 mm thick, terete, glabrous; older branches grayish to pale brown; lenticels not found. Stipules free at base, contorted in bud, narrowly triangular, acuminate, glabrous outside, glabrous, with two basal rows of colleters inside, 1525 × 5-8 mm, reddish brown, readily caducous, leaving a whitish scar encircling the stem, 0.5-1 mm wide. Leaves (5-)8-12.5 × 3-5 cm, LAV = (2:1) 2.5:1; elliptic to elliptic-obovate, acute-decurrent at base, acute at apex, with a deltoid acumen ca. 7 mm long; dark green above, pale green below, semi-coriaceous; drying brown above, olive-green below, semi-coriaceous; glabrous above, sparsely yellow-pubescent below; primary and secondary veins erect pubescent to hirsutulous, secondary veins 7-8 each side; tertiary veins mainly reticulate (rarely subparallel); petioles 6-10 mm long, 1-1.5 mm thick, adaxially flattened, minutely winged, glabrous; domatia absent or rarely a few hairs at the axil. Inflorescences 2(-3) per node, corymbose with opposite decussate branches, densely cymose at distal end of each branchlet; 7-10 × 2.5-5 cm, one pair of lateral branches, basal portion of axis not branched 5.5-7.5 cm long; rachis decussately compressed to subterete, reddish brown, rachis and branches yellow short-puberulent; distal bracts absent or reduced to deltoid scales 0.5-1 mm long; bracteoles subtending flowers absent. Flowers sessile to short-pedicellate; pedicels (when present) to 1.5 mm long, minute puberulent; hypanthium turbinate, 1-1.5 mm long, glabrous, reddish brown. Calyx extremely reduced with wavy margin (rarely with 5 minute teeth), 0.5 × 1.5 mm. Corolla funnelform, deeply lobed, 4-5 mm long, cream-white; tube short cylindrical, 1.5-2 × ca. 1.5 mm, glabrous outside and inside; lobes 5, 2-3 × ca. 1 mm, oblong-ovate, rounded to truncate at apex, glabrous outside, white-villous at medial zone, the remaining basal and distal zones glabrous inside. Stamens 5, exserted well above the corolla, equal, attached ca. 2 mm from the base of the tube; filaments 3-4 mm long, terete, basally flattened, connate to throat, densely white-villous at base; anthers narrowly elliptic, rectilinear, 1.5-2 × ca. 0.3 mm, dorsifixed near the base, reversed at maturity, base rounded, truncate apiculate at apex. Pollen exine foveolate-reticulate. Style exserted, 3.5-5 mm long, as long as the corolla, glabrous, minutely costate; style branches extruding as two lips above the corolla before anthesis, rounded, ca. 0.5 mm wide, stigmatic surface microscopically (40×) papillose; ovary-galls not found. Capsules globose to subglobose, obtuse at base, apex shallowly rounded, 2-2.5 × ca. 2 mm, dark brown without lenticels, glabrous throughout; disk black; disk loculicidal dehiscence present in old capsules. Seeds 0.58-0.87 × 0.48-0.77 mm, more or less ungulate, yellow.

Discussion:Roig and Mesa (1928) report the following (free translation from the original): "Cera: so it is called a tree that grows in the mountains of San Cristobal, from which is extracted a hard and valuable wood, of the same intense yellow as wax [cera]" and "Hilacho: a name given to a tree of the Sierra Maestra and of the family Rubiaceae [C. cubensis]"

Of the three species of Chimarrhis endemic to the Caribbean Islands, this is distinct in having smaller leaves, which are yellow erect-pubescent below. The petioles and central veins of this species are minutely winged, forming “pocket-domatia” in the axils of secondary veins, never forming tufted domatia. Because of this I treat this taxon as separate, as did Steyermark (1965).

Grisebach (1862) identified Wright 1262 and 1622 (both from Monte Verde, Cuba) as C. cymosa Jacq.; the former collection is here selected as the lectotype of C. cubensis. Grisebach (1862) reported the flowers of these specimens to be "dioecious-dimorphic, either with exserted stamens and included stigma, or exserted style and included anthers." Barely reproducing Wright’s specimen labels, Urban (1899) reported the flowers of this species as "floribus heterostylis (ex Wr.)." What were reported as dioecious-dimorphic (Grisebach, 1862) or heterostylous (Urban, 1899) flowers are instead two successive stages of anthesis.

Conservation Status: This species is known from relatively few collections and appears to be endangered. Some attempt should be made to protect the localities where it occurs.

Distribution:Cuba South America| Granma Cuba South America| Guantánamo Cuba South America| Holguín Cuba South America| Piñar del Río Cuba South America| Santiago de Cuba Cuba South America|

Common Names:jilacho, hilacho, penda, roble amarillo, cera