Monographs Details: Tococa meridensis Wurdack
Authority: Michelangeli, Fabián A. 2005. (Melastomataceae). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 98: 1-114. (Published by NYBG Press)
Description:Species Description - Shrub, often procumbent, up to 1.0 m tall; stems with a mix of sparse, minute (up to 0.1 mm), clavate glands and nonglandular setae, 2-3 mm long, caducous, the nodes with tufts of glandular and nonglandular trichomes up to 4-6 mm long. Leaves isophyllous, elliptic to ovate, (5-)8-12 X (4-)6-9 cm, apex obtuse to acute, base cordulate, adaxial side glabrous to very sparsely glandular-setose, abaxial side glabrous, but the primary and secondary veins adpressed-setose, the surface red to crimson in younger leaves, then turning light green, 5(-7)-nervate to slightly (less than 0.5 cm) plinervate, membranaceous to chartaceous, entire, slightly crenulate to ciliate; petioles 6-10 cm long, red to crimson, densely to sparsely pubescent, the trichomes 0.3-1.1 mm long; domatia absent. Inflorescence a terminal panicle of 10-30 flowers, the distal flowers secund, 4-7(-10) cm long, the axis green, terete. Flowers on pedicels 0.7-1.5 mm long; bracts persistent, elliptic, 0.7-1.5 X 0.5-1.2 mm; hypanthium campanulate, 2.5-3.0 mm long, sparsely fine-setose, the trichomes glandular and eglandular; outer calyx teeth narrowly deltoid, projecting upwards parallel to the inner teeth, but never reaching the same height, 1.0 mm long, inner calyx teeth broadly deltoid, fused at the base up to 0.3 mm, slightly imbricate, 1.5-2.0 mm long; the ring inside the torus with minute glandular trichomes; petals 5, ovate-oblong, entire, 6.0-7.5 X 3-5 mm, smooth, glandular-setulose towards the apex, white; stamens of two different sizes; filaments 4.0-5.0 mm long, glabrous; anthers blue; the connective without a dorsal-basal blunt tooth; thecae 2-3 mm long, opening by a upright pore; ovary 5-locular, 1/2-2/3 inferior, the superior portion sulcate, the apex truncate, with a ring elevated 0.1-0.5 mm; style with sparse minute glands at the base, 6-7 mm long; stigma capitate. Fruits globose, 3.5-4.5 mm long, black, glabrous; seeds evident through the pericarp, truncate-obovate, 0.5-0.8 mm long, without capitate trichomes in the raphal area, with sculpturing, anticlinal walls curved, periclinal walls flat, boundaries between periclinal walls flat.

Discussion:Tococa meridensis is a rarely collected species from cloud forests in the Andes of Venezuela. Three recent attempts to collect this species have been unsuccessful, mostly due to the accelerated loss of habitat by conversion of these forests into grazing areas or coffee plantations (see also discussion under T. broadwayi). This species differs from the closely related T. platyphylla in having smaller leaves, a decumbent habit, and the dorsal anther connective without a blunt tooth.

Tococa meridensis and related species (T. platyphylla, T. perclara, and T. broadwayi) have been traditionally placed in Tococa due to similarities in the anther morphology. However, seed morphology and the thin hypanthium seem to place them closer to some species of Miconia than to Tococa sensu stricto (Michelangeli, 2000a). These four species are clearly closely related, as noted by Wurdack (1969a; 1973a). They share several characters that unite them as a probable monophyletic group: the presence of large trichomes on the stem nodes, a glandular ring at the inner surface of the torus, blue anthers, a thin pericarp, and seeds with sculpturing and anticlinal cell walls curved (Michelangeli, 2000a).
Distribution:Mérida Venezuela South America|