Monographs Details: Meriania drakei subsp. chontalensis Wurdack
Authority: Wurdack, John J. 1967. Plants collected in Ecuador by W. H. Camp. Melastomataceae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 16: 1-45.
Description:Latin Diagnosis - Alabastri calycis tubus integer demum in anthesim in lobis interioribus 5-5.5 mm longis dehiscens, dentibus exterioribus 3-3.5 mm liberis et 1-1.3 mm eminentibus.
Discussion:Type Collection: W. H. Camp E-1576 (holotype US 2404694; isotype NY; 2 additional isotypes to be distributed), collected between Tambo Chontal and Tambo Consuelo, eastern slope of the cordillera in the valley of the ríos Negro and Chupianza on the trail from Sevilla de Oro to Mendez, Prov. Santiago-Zamora, Ecuador, elev. 1750-2450 m, 16 Dec. 1944. “Tree 8 m. Leaves deep green above, pale below. Corolla deep magenta purple, anther filaments the same, stamens tipped with yellow.”
Excellent Steyermark collections (NY), from El Oro (53860, 54109) and Santiago-Zamora (53593, 54579) coupled with Macbride's photograph (36208) of Drake’s collection, have furnished the data needed for the proper generic placement of this rare species. Two obvious features, an adaxial swelling or thick blunt tubercle at the petiole apex and the pruinose-puberulous external surfaces of the bud petals, serve as specific distinctions. In petal pubescence and stamens, there is linkage to M. campii. Vegetatively the two subspecies seem identical and have the young branches sparsely and caducously setulose as well as furfuraceous. In the typical subspecies, the calyx limb is truncate or very slightly split at anthesis and the obscure external calyx teeth are totally adnate and inframarginal. In calyx features, the Chontal subspecies resembles several of the species treated by Gleason (Phytologia 2: 294-298. 1947). One peculiar development in subsp. chontalensis is the presence of rather sparse hypanthial warts which in young fruit elongate into clavate black erect structures 0.5-0.6 x 0.1-0.15 mm, resembling miniature pyrenomycetes. These warts are either undeveloped or exceedingly sparsely developed on flowering hypanthia in the typical subspecies, but can be seen sparsely (especially basally on the hypanthium) in several of Gleason’s Phytologia species-group, notably in M. loxensis Gleason.