Monographs Details: Lecythis confertiflora (A.C.Sm.) S.A.Mori
Authority: Mori, S. A. 1987. The Lecythidaceae of a lowland Neotropical Forest: La Fumée mountain, French Guiana. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 44: 1-190.
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Distribution. This species is a medium-sized tree of non-inundated forest distributed throughout the Guianas into eastern Amazonian Brazil. It usually flowers from Aug to Dec-the late dry season into the early wet season.
Discussion:Eschweilera confertiflora A. C. Smith, Amer. J. Bot. 26(6): 409-410. 1939. Type. Guyana. Kumuparu Creek, Demerara River, 150 feet alt., 5 Nov 1937 (fl), Forest Dept. British Guiana 2557 (lectotype, NY, here designated; isolectotypes, K-2 sheets, MAD).
This species clearly belongs to Lecythis, not Eschweilera. In his protologue, Smith indicates that the androecial hood is not coiled inwards and that the ovary is 4-locular. This contrasts with the coiled androecial hood and 2-locular ovaries of Eschweilera. The corrugate pedicel and hypanthium, in combination with the flat, open androecial hood, align this species with Lecythis idatimon, with which I had included it until my field work in French Guiana and Amapá, Brazil revealed the differences described below.
Lecythis idatimon is partially phenologically separated from L. confertiflora. It flowers at La Fumée Mountain towards the end of the dry season into the early wet season whereas the latter flowers predominantly from the beginning to mid dry season (Fig. XI-3). This phenological separation holds for sympatric populations of the subspecies collected in Amapá, where I have observed flowering trees of L. idatimon alongside fruiting ones of L. confertiflora. There are no apparent differences in habitat preferences between the two species.
Morphological differences between the two species are slight but consistent. The hood of L. idatimon tends to be narrower and more salmon in color, and its fruits are broadly instead of narrowly conical and rugose instead of smooth (Fig. IV-2). Moreover, the leaves of L. idatimon are larger and coriaceous whereas those of L. confertiflora are smaller and chartaceous.
Aublet (1775) described Lecythis lutea, which he said differed from L. idatimon only in its yellow instead of flesh-colored petals. Although I have never seen yellow petals in any individual of L. idatimon, I have observed numerous trees with varying amounts of white in their petals. The white petals, when dry, may appear to be yellow. Consequently, L. lutea may represent normal intraspecific variation of L. idatimon. On the other hand, L. lutea may also represent the white-petaled L. persistens which is frequent throughout northern French Guiana and, therefore, probably was observed by Aublet. Lecythis persistens is very similar to L. idatimon, differing only in its wider, more coriaceous leaves and antheriferous hood appendages. I have chosen to treat L. lutea as a synonym of L. idatimon (Mori & Prance, manuscript) but, because I have not been able to locate a type or illustration of L. lutea, I am not certain of this decision.
Distribution:Guyana South America
| Brazil South America