Monographs Details: Topobea pittieri Cogn.
Authority: Wurdack, John J. 1967. Plants collected in Ecuador by W. H. Camp. Melastomataceae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 16: 1-45.
Discussion:Originally described from Costa Rica, this species has recently been collected in both Colombia (La Laguna, headwaters of Río Sanquinini, El Valle, elev. 1250-1400 m, Cuatrecasas 15467) and Ecuador (floodplain of Río Itzintza, Cordillera Cutucú, Santiago-Zamora, elev. 1050-1100 m, Camp E-123T, Mera near Mangayacu, Napo-Pastaza, elev. 1100 m, Asplund 18444). Topobea brevibractea Gleason is very closely related, but has basally nerved leaves without lower surface calluses (formicarial?) on the bases of the inner pair of primary veins, proportionately wider exterior floral bracts, and only a minute dorsal spur on the connective base (rather than a Graffenrieda-like acute one 1 mm long). Harling 3730 (S), from Mera, Napo-Pastaza, except for the lack of foliar calluses, agrees with the other collections of T. pittieri. Incidentally, Mexia 7015, from Mera, Napo-Pastaza, Ecuador, is like the other collections of T. pittieri except for the greatly developed ovarial aristae; this sleeping dog can remain dormant until monography, but perhaps shows analogy to the geographical races known in T. ferruginea Gleason. The Mexia collection was distributed as T. stephanochaeta Naud.; that species (probably collected on the southeastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia) differs however (ex Macbride photograph) in the strongly barbate axils of the leaf veins, external floral bracts 4-5 mm long, and stouter pedicels.