Monographs Details: Roupala asplenioides Sleumer
Authority: Prance, Ghillean T., et al. 2007. Proteaceae. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 100: 1-218. (Published by NYBG Press)
Description:Species Description - Shrub, 1.5 m or small tree, 5-7 m tall. Young branch indumentum long, densely tomentose to pilose, ferruginous, quickly glabrescent; branch bark beige to gray, peeling to dark red-gray beneath, smooth, twigs deeply furrowed, glabrous. Lenticels moderately conspicuous, numerous to few, <0.3 mm, granular, plane, gray to orange. Leaves compound, chartaceous, petiolate, drying red-brown, dark brown or pale green, matte, indumentum long, densely tomentose, ferruginous, quickly glabrescent, 10-26 × 4.5-11.5 cm, 3-6 pairs of lateral leaflets; petiole 2.5-6.5 cm long, terete, slightly flattened at base, long ferruginous-tomentose to glabrescent. Lateral leaflets 1.5-7 × 0.6-2 cm, length:breadth 2.2-5:1; base narrowly cuneate to decurrent, asymmetrical; apex attenuate; lateral veins 3-6 pairs; margins coarsely incurved-serrate; petiolules 0-3 mm long. Terminal leaflets 3.3-5.5 × 1.1-2.2 cm, length:breadth 2-3.5:1, the base decurrent, less commonly narrow-cuneate, symmetrical to strongly asymmetrical, the lateral leaflet often lobing off at one side, the apex attenuate; lateral veins 3-5 pairs, the margins as for lateral leaflets; petiolules 0-1.5 cm long. Inflorescences axillary, unbranched, 5-14 × 2-2.5 cm, the indumentum for all parts long, dense tomentose, brown; peduncle 0.3-1.8 cm × 1-1.5 mm, sterile bracts few towards base or absent. Common bracts exceptionally long, 2.5-3 × 0.7-1.2 mm, broader near middle than at base, ferruginous-tomentose. Flower-pair axis absent. Pedicels highly variable in size, 1-4 × 0.3-0.8 mm, ferruginous-tomentose, indumentum denser than that of rhachis. Buds 1.3-1.5 mm broad at apex, 0.8 mm broad at midlength, indumentum as that on pedicels. Flowers 7-9 mm long; filaments 0.3-0.5 mm long, adnate 4.8-5.5 mm from base of tepals; anthers 1.5-1.8 × 0.5-0.6 mm; nectary lobes 0.3-0.5 mm long, well separated; ovary hairs extending 0.8-1.5 mm from base of ovary, covering entire ovary, short, somewhat tomentose, orange-brown to brown; ovules 0.5-0.6 × 0.2-0.3 mm. Infructescence 4-10 cm long, glabrous or glabrescent. Fruit pedicels 1-3 × 2 mm, glabrous. Fruit 1.7-2.3 × 0.6-0.8 cm, both sutured and unsutured sides curved more or less equally, gently flattened, the base not constricted or weakly constricted for 1-2 mm, the apex constricted for 1-2 mm, strongly curved so apex is perpendicular to lower, unsutured side, the style persistent or breaking off, a marginal vein absent; pericarp extremely thick, 1 mm, beige-gray to dark gray-brown, short-tomentose when immature becoming glabrous, smooth. Seeds not known.

Discussion:Given only the flowers of Roupala asplenioides, this species would be placed in synonymy with Roupala montana var. brasiliensis. It is the small, narrow fruit together with the absence of simple leaves that make the species distinct. It is unusual for fertile plants of Roupala to produce compound leaves alone. If compound leaves accompany inflorescences or infructescences, one normally sees a transition to or from simple leaves along the growth unit. However, on none of the four specimens of Roupala asplenioides have the inflorescence-subtending leaves persisted, there being only young leaves apical to the inflorescence-producing region, so it impossible to know whether these leaves were also compound or whether they were simple. It is likely that simple leaves will be found with further collecting, but unless they are associated with fruit, they will probably be determined as R. montana var. brasiliensis.

There is also a possibility that Roupala meisneri is the same as R. asplenioides. If this is so, the connection has not been made between the two species due to heterophylly and to the form of the fruit of R. asplenioides, which is clearly different from that of R. montana, but which may be aberrant. If the fruit were aberrant and the two leaf types found to be different states of the same species, then R. asple- nioides would also need to be synonymized under R. montana var. brasiliensis. If the fruit were not aberrant, and the simple-leaved R. meisneri was found with the same fruit as that of compound-leaved R. asplenioides, then the former would have to be removed from synonymy with R. montana var. brasiliensis and placed in synonymy with R. asplenioides due to publication date priority. With the present state of knowledge, it is assumed that the fruit of R. asplenioides is not aberrant and that it stands as a separate species characterized by compound leaves in the fertile state, its closest relative being R. montana var. brasiliensis.

The only species in the genus known to possess consistently compound leaves both in the fertile and sterile states. May be confused with Roupala sculpta, R. montana, and R. longipetiolata all of which may also have compound leaves in the fertile state, and which have leaflets with serrate margins. Identifiable by the narrow fruit and long-tomentose indumentum.

Shrub, 1.5 m, or small tree, 57 m tall.

Phenology. Flowering in Dec and Jan; old fruit (already dehisced) collected in Oct and Dec, new fruit developing in Jan.

Distribution:Santa Catarina Brazil South America|