Monographs Details: Dalea versicolor Zucc. var. versicolor
Authors:Rupert C. Barneby
Authority: Barneby, Rupert C. 1977. Daleae Imagines, an illustrated revision of Errazurizia Philippi, Psorothamnus Rydberg, Marine Liebmann, and Dalea Lucanus emen. Barneby, including all species of Leguminosae tribe Amorpheae Borissova ever referred to Dalea. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 27: 1-892.
Family:Fabaceae
Synonyms:Dalea versicolor Zucc., Parosela versicolor (Zucc.) Rydb., Parosela tsugoides Rydb.
Description:Species Description - Variable in habit, suffruticose becoming shrubby when adult, 6-15 dm tall, the stems usually several, sometimes solitary, erect and distally paniculate or in exposed places diffuse or trailing, nearly always castaneous and at least distally villosulous, but sometimes hairless to the spikes; stipules castaneous, narrowly lanceolate, 2-5.5 mm long, becoming dry and fragile; foliage usually pilosulous but green or greenish, sometimes glabrate above, less often truly glabrous; leaflets of primary cauline leaves 5-11 (14, rarely 16) pairs, flat or loosely involute; spikes 10-13 (14) mm diam, the axis in those of fall and winter inflorescences 2-5 (7) cm, in vernal (or drought inhibited) ones 1-2.5 cm long; calyx (4.8) 5-7.2 (7.5) mm, the tube 2.5-3.3 mm, the dorsal tooth (2.3) 2.5-4 (4.3) mm long; epistemonous petals dull purplish-lavender or violet, in this contrasting with the clear rose-pink or purple of other vars. of subsp. versicolor; 2n = 14 (Mosquin). — Collections: 44 (x).

Distribution and Ecology - Open slopes and glades in sunny oak-pine woodland, persisting after forest clearing and colonial on eroding banks and badlands, 1700- 2230 m (5700-7425 ft), locally abundant in the mountains of centr. and s. Oaxaca; highlands of Chiapas and s. Guatemala (e. to Jalapa).— Flowering September to February. — Representative: MEXICO. Oaxaca: Pringle 6074 (BR, F, M, MEXU, NY, W, Z); Camp 2350, 2523 (NY); Ripley & Barneby 14,595 (CAS, F, GH, MEXU, MICH, NY, UC, US), 14,674 (CAS, NY, US), 14,689 (DAO, NY), 13,665 (CAS, K, MEXU, MICH, NY, US). Chiapas: Glues- breght 582 (F, K, NY); Matuda 25,993 (NY); Breedlove 14,196 (US). GUATEMALA. Huehuetenango: Standley 62,628, 65,814, 82,022, 82,537 (F). El Quiche: Heyde & Lux 3314 (M, NY); Molina et al 16,335 (NY). Chimaltenango: S. S. White 5403 (MICH); Standley 61,610 (F). Guatemala: Standley 59,267 (F, NY). Sacatepequez: Williams & Molina 11,776, 15,300 (F); Kellerman 6455 (F, UC). Jalapa: Steyermark 32,726 (F, US).

Discussion:

(Plate CXVIII)

The var. versicolor is in practice readily recognized, being the only form of its species present in southeastern Mexico and Guatemala, the one suffruticose or shrubby dalea of its region with deciduous bracts, long-toothed plumose calyces, purple petals, and six or more (usually eight or more) pairs of small leaflets in the larger primary leaves. In technical characters it closely resembles the distantly allopatric var. sessilis, to which it is connected by the still poorly understood var. decipiens, but differs from both in the relatively long castaneous stipules and dull reddish-purple coloring of the petals and from var. sessilis (but not var. decipiens) by the numerous glands scattered over the back of the leaflets. The range of var. versicolor is sundered by the lowlands of Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and some degree of morphological divergence is reflected by this division. East of the isthmus the foliage is consistently pubescent, and the glands on back of leaflets are relatively large and black. In Oaxaca the foliage is perhaps more often pubescent than not but in the mountainous center of the state glabrous and pubescent forms are found growing together, and the glands in either case are smaller and mostly red or orange in color. The plants of Mixteca Alta are not only remarkably unstable in details of pubescence, but also in habit. In oak-pine forest I have seen prostrate forms growing with others virgately erect; and on eroded ridges a densely pubescent, fruticose but depressed or trailing ecotype which produces as early as December many subsessile short spikes on spurs lateral to the main axes. In Chiapas and Guatemala var. versicolor is sympatric with the yellow-flowered but habitally similar D. lutea var. gigantea and may hybridize with it occasionally. Specimens collected near Chiantla, dept. Huehuetenango (Skutch 1138, F, NY) are notable for the firm, glabrate calyx-tube, a character that might have been derived from var. gigantea.

Rydberg, I believe, correctly identified D. versicolor, but study of authentic material (cited above) raises some points which deserve discussion. According to Zuccarini the plants were grown from seed collected by Karwinski. The movements of this collector in Mexico are little known, but he was certainly in central Oaxaca at one point, and therefore had opportunities to collect the plant traditionally known as D. versicolor, which is common on the divide between the valleys of Oaxaca and Rio Tomellin, on the old highway south from Puebla and Tehuacan. A specimen in the Martius herbarium, certainly from the same source as that preserved at Munich by Zuccarini himself, identifies the collector of the seed as Keerl and the locality as Tlalpujahua, a mining community close to Real del Oro on the boundary between states of Mexico and Michoacan northwest of Mexico City. The only dalea of this type known to occur near Tlalpujahua is D. versicolor var. involuta, and I feel sure therefore that Martius must have been mistaken. As will be seen from the accompanying plate, part of which was drawn from D. versicolor of Zuccarini’s herbarium, the plant very closely resembles the Oaxacan phase with leaflets thinly pubescent below but glabrous above. It differs in one point, probably of no importance: the larger leaves have as many as 16 (according to the protologue up to 18) pairs of leaflets, whereas a range of 6 to 12, rarely 14 pairs is normal in the populations sampled subsequently. A truly exact match for Karwinski’s plant may yet turn up somewhere in southern Mexico, but is unlikely to modify the comprehensive concept of D. versicolor formulated herein.

See also comment on D. selerana Harms in Appendix I.

Distribution:Mexico North America| Oaxaca Mexico North America| Chiapas Mexico North America| Guatemala Central America| Huehuetenango Guatemala Central America| Chimaltenango Guatemala Central America| Guatemala Guatemala Central America| Sacatepéquez Guatemala Central America| Jalapa Guatemala Central America|

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