Monographs Details: Cavendishia complectens Hemsl.
Authority: Luteyn, James L. 1976. A revision of the Mexican Central American species of Cavendishia (Vacciniaceae). Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 28 (3): 1-138.
Description:Species Description - Epiphytic and terrestrial shrubs, 1 -1.5 m tall, glabrous throughout, stem base about 3 cm in diameter. fSiature branch erect or pendant, terete to bluntly angled; bark grayish- to reddish-brown. Petioles subterete, rugose, to 5 mm long. Leaves usually subsessile, amplexicaul, drying olive-brown or dark green, oval to semiorbicular, (5-)8-16(-18) cm long and (4-)5.5-10(-13) cm broad, basally cordate, lobes rounded, usually imbricate, apically obtuse to broadly rounded, rarely bluntly cuspidate; pinnately veined, midrib impressed above, raised and conspicuous beneath, lateral nerves usually raised on both surfaces, anastomosing to form a weak, collective marginal nerve, veinlets slightly raised and obscure to conspicuous. Inflorescence usually solitary but with as many as three rachises arising in axil, or rarely largest rachis once branched at base, 10-27(-60) flowered; rachis terete to bluntly angled, swollen at each floral node, 2-9(-20) cm long and 1-2 mm in diameter at anthesis (increasing to 3 m m diameter postanthesis), pinkish-green at anthesis, later turning purplish. Floral bracts smooth or becoming ribbed after drying, elliptic to ovate-lanceolate, rarely suborbicular, basally narrowed and somewhat auriculate, apically acute, (10-)11-16(-20) mm long and (5-)7-10 (-17) mm broad, dark pink to red, marginally scarious and glandular-fimbriate, ascending at anthesis but spreading or perpendicular to rachis post-anthesis. Pedicels minutely striate or rugose, (2-)4-9(-11) mm long and 0.5- 1 mm in diameter, pinkish-green at anthesis later turning purplish. Bracteoles oblong to lanceolate, (1-)3-4(-7) mm long and (0.5-)l-2.5(-4) mm broad, basally slightiy auriculate, apically rounded, marginally glandular-fimbriate, dark pink. Calyx (4.5-)6-8(-10) mm long; tube hemispheric, nonapophysate, smooth or minutely muricate, (1.5-)2-3.5(-6.5) mm long and 2.5-6 mm in diameter, purplish-green; limb campanulate, coriaceous, (2.5-)4-5(-5.5) mm long including lobes, pale green; lobes reniform, broadly ovate, rarely oblong, imbricate, (1.5-)2-3(-4) mm long and (1.5-)3(-4.5) mm broad, marginally glandular-fimbriate, whitish-green, flaring at anthesis, connivent and tightiy curling around base of style post-anthesis. Corolla cylindric or bottie-shaped, narrowed at throat, (7-)8-10(-12) mm long and 4-6.5 mm in diameter at widest part, white at base, purplish-black in basal quarter, midsection green, limb and lobes white; lobes oblong, obtuse, 2-2.5 mm long. Stamens 7-8.5 mm long;filaments alternately either 2-3 mm or 3.5-4 mm long, with few scattered hairs distally, white; anthers including tubules alternately either 4.5-6.5 mm or 5.5-7 mm long, orange; thecae 2-4 mm long. Style 7-8.5 mm long, distally flaring. Berry about 9 mm in diameter. Phenology: Flowering sporadically throughout the year.


Cavendishia complectens is one of the easiest taxa to recognize within the genus because of its semiorbicular, cordate, amplexicaul leaves. Along with C. confertifiora it is one of two Central American taxa which has broadly imbricatecalyx lobes.

Cavendishia complectens is phenetically most closely allied with the South American C. striata A. C. Smith and C. tenella A. C. Smith. They share similar gland types found on the calyx lobes and bracteoles, as well as similar floral bracts, short-pediceled flowers, imbricate calyx lobes, and short corollas. Cavendishia complectens differs from C. tenella primarily in leaf characters. Cavendishia tenella has long petioles, oblong-elliptic leaves with decurrent leaf bases and obtusely-cuspidate apices, whereas C. complectens is characterized by subsessile, semiorbicular leaves with cordate bases and rounded or obtuse apices. In 1946, A. C. Smith segregated the Colombian-Ecuadorian representatives of C. complectens as a new taxon, C. striata. He summarized the differences in the following key (Smith, 1946):

Flower-subtending bracts striate, the principal veins parallel, ascending, strongly raised on both surfaces; rachis 1.5-2.5 cm long; calyx-lobes oblong, longer than broad (1.5-3 × 1.5-2.5 mm), narrowly imbricate, striate within with strong parallel veins; western Colombia and Ecuador. C. striata.

Flower-subtending bracts smooth on both surfaces, not striate, the venation obscurely reticulate, immersed; rachis 3-10 cm long; calyx-lobes broadly ovate-suborbicular, broader than long (2.5-4 x 3-4.5 mm), conspicuously and broadly imbricate, narrowed at the base, smooth on both surfaces, the venation reticulate, immersed; Costa Rica and Panama. C. complectens.

Collections which have accumulated since 1946 show that the character of rachis length varies too much to be of any taxonomic use. Also, one Costa Rican collection (Wilbur & Stone 9823) shows floral bracts which are distinctly striate, and calyx lobes which are somewhat oblong and striate. Therefore, it is my opinion that the characters used to separate the taxa are not diagnostic enough to warrant recognition at the specific level. I hesitate to recombine them, however, without having studied the South American representatives in the field.

Type: Costa Rica, Endres 257 (Holotype: K! photo of type DUKE! isotype: W!).