Monographs Details: Macleania rupestris (Kunth) A.C.Sm.
Authority: Smith, Albert C. 1952. Plants collected in Ecuador by W. H. camp. Vaceiniaceae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 8 (1): 41-85.
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Carchi: Slopes of Volcan Chiles, Camp E-319, E-320, E-327, E-334. East of Tulcan, Camp E-363. Pichincha: West of Quito, on Sto. Domingo Road, Camp E-1706, E-1707, E-1719. Canar: Between Tambo and Suscal, north rim of the valley of the Rio de Canar, Camp (coll. At. Giler) E-2766, E-2770A, E-2770B. Azuay: Along the Rio Matadero, west of Cuenca, Camp E-1942, E-1983, E-1985. Valley of the Rio Surucuchu, west ofCuenca, Camp E-4240. Along the Rio Cumbe, south of Cuenca, Camp E-2077, E-2080. Paramo de Tinajillas, south of Cuenca, Camp E-481. Loja: Cerro Villanaco, west of Loja, Camp E-233.


Dr. Camp's notes pertaining to the extensive suite of specimens cited above are very detailed. Briefly summarized, they indicate that the species was observed in Ecuador at elevations of 8,500-11,400 ft., occurring on paramo, in the paramosotobosque zone, or in subparamo chaparral; specimens were noted as small trees (rarely) or more often as spreading or sprawling shrubs 1.5-6 m. high, sometimes as much-branched vines climbing through low trees; soft-tissued basal burls were often observed; the corolla is pale crimson to pink at base and paler or white distally; the mature fruit is as much as 1.5 cm. in diameter, shining black, and insipid.

In 1932 (Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 28: 360-384) I recognized ten Ecuadorian species in the group of Macleania with 2-tubuled anthers, although some of these were admittedly segregated on rather insignificant characters. In addition, four species based on Ecuadorian types were reduced to synonymy; one other species from Ecuador, M. mollis, has been described more recently. The accumulation of herbarium material since 1932 and a study of the present material incline me to believe that specific lines in the 2-tubuled Macleaniae cannot be satisfactorily established by observational methods. Particularly in Ecuador, which seems to be a center of development of the group, the usual specific criteria are combined in such diverse ways that one must assume free inter-breeding among the "species" to be a continuing phenomenon. In view of this, to apply specific names to parts of the population is perhaps undesirable; but nevertheless I have identified the Camp collections according to current concepts, with the reservation that these concepts may be far from natural.

Macleania rupestris (based on the oldest available specific epithet for this group, Thibaudia rupestris H. B. K. 1818), in the strict sense, is characterized by being essentially glabrous throughout, with flowers of moderate size (corolla usually 15-20 mm long) and stamens with tubules subequaling the thecae in length. Its leaves are variable, but in general they are rounded to acute at base and pinnatinerved. The Central American M. glabra (Kl.) Hoer. is scarcely to be distinguished from the common South American species.

Distribution:Ecuador South America|