Monographs Details: Lecythis persistens subsp. aurantiaca 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:Latin Diagnosis - Ab L. persistens subsp. persistens floribus et fructibus majoribus et cucullo androecii aurantiaco differt.
Distribution and Ecology - Distribution. This subspecies has only been collected in the vicinity of Saül, where it is a canopy tree of non-inundated forest. It flowers from Oct to Dec.
Discussion:Type. French Guiana. Saül, Monts La Fumée, 3°37'N, 53°12'W, 10 Oct 1982 (fl), Mori et al. 15075 (holotype, NY; isotypes, B, CAY, HAMAB, K, MG, MO, P, U, WIS).
Lecythis persistens subsp. aurantiaca is difficult to separate Vegetatively from subsp. persistens. However, its very large flowers and fruits in combination with its reddish-orange androecial hood aid in the separation of fertile material. Its fruits also appear to be more robust and differently shaped than those of subsp. persistens (Fig. IV-2). However, additional collections of mature fruits of subsp. persistens are needed before this can be confirmed.
Although this subspecies has only been collected in the vicinity of Saül, it is relatively common there. I have seen it on the Roche Bateau and Carbet Maïs trails and my colleague, Brian Boom, has observed individuals on the Route de Belizon. These areas are lower than the ridge tops where subsp. persistens is most common. Although data are not sufficient to confirm this, it appears that the two subspecies are ecologically separated.
The white petals of subsp. aurantiaca (characteristic of L. persistens subsp. persistens), the orange-colored hood (similar to the red ones of L. idatimon), and the unusually large flowers suggest that subsp. aurantiaca may be the result of hybridization between L. persistens subsp. persistens and L. idatimon.