Monographs Details: Cavendishia bracteata (Ruiz & Pav. ex J.St.-Hil.) Hoerold
Authority: Smith, Albert C. 1952. Plants collected in Ecuador by W. H. camp. Vaceiniaceae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 8 (1): 41-85.
Family:Ericaceae
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Along Rio Pastaza just west of Banos, Camp E-2367. Canar: North rim of the valley of the Rio de Canar, between Suscal and Chontamarca, Camp E-2890 (coll. M. Giler). Valley of Rfo de Canar at Abadel, below town of Galleturo, Prieto CP-33. Azuay: Numerous localities, Camp E-411, E-553, E-1984, E-2178, E-3936, E-4495, E-4892, E-5013. Loja: Cerro Villanaco (about 7 km. west of the city of Loja), Camp E-186-E-196 incl., E-682. Nudo de Cajanuma, 7 km. south of Loja, Camp E-114, E-115. Crest of the Cordillera de Zamora, east of Loja, Camp E-93, E-94, E-103. Napo-Pastaza: Valley of the Rio Pastaza and adjacent uplands, near El Topo, along trail to La Gloria, Camp E-2400. Santiago-Zamora: Eastern slope of the Cordillera, valley of the Rios Negro and Chupianza, near mouth of Rio Patos, Camp E-754.

Discussion:

Thibaudia bracteata R. & P. Fl. Peruv. Chil. 4: pi. 388. 1802, ex J. St.-Hil. Expos. Fam. Nat. 1: 363. 1805.

Proclesia hartwegiana Kl. Linnaea 24: 35. 1851.

Cavendishia hartwegiana Hoer. Bot. Jahrb. 42: 489. 1909.

The extensive suite of specimens cited above (without detailed notes on precise locality, habit, habitat, and color, since such notes are too abundant for inclusion here) demonstrates considerable variation, and yet I hardly see how it can be referred to more than a single species. The material is from shrubs up to 5 m. high, taken at elevations from 4,000 to 10,000 ft., and the corolla color is uniformly noted as red to crimson below, yellow or greenish yellow at apex. The most striking variations are seen in the indument of corolla and calyx, and in the density of glands on the calyx, pedicels, bracts, etc. The corolla, in particular, varies from copiously white-pilose with short spreading hairs to entirely glabrous. Of particular value is Dr. Camp's series numbered E-186-E-196 inclusive, taken from plants in the same colony, demonstrating the instability of these.characters.

In my treatment of 1932 (Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 28: 489 et seq.) I expressed uncertainty as to the biological validity of several species of this alliance, and C. hartwegiana in that work was keyed with both the pubescent-and the glabrous-flowered species. It now seems quite impossible to maintain C. hartwegiana as distinct from C. bracteata. The accumulation of herbarium material in the past twenty years has furthermore served to weaken the supposed distinctions between C. bracteata and several other of its allies. One may question the advisability of maintaining such species as C. beckmanniana Hoer. (1909), C scabriuscula (H. B. K.)Hoer. (based on Thibaudia scabriuscula H. B. K., 1818), and C. micortioides A. C. Smith (based on Thibaudia melastomoides H. B. K., 1818). The complex of which these entities are a part (whether as species or taxa of lesser rank) extends from Colombia to Bolivia.

It should also be considered whether the C. bracteata complex can be specifically kept apart from C. strobilijera (H. B. K.) Hoer. (based on Thibaudia strobilifera H. B. K., 1818), to which I have already reduced many comparatively recent specific concepts (i. e. to C. acuminata, op. cit. 503-505). Certainly I should now refer to C. bracteata several of the Ecuadorian collections which in 1932 I cited as C. acuminata.

The problems of relationships in this group of Cavendishia can probably not be solved without analysis in the field. In referring Dr. Camp's material to C. bracteata I make use of the oldest specific epithet for the complex.

Distribution:Ecuador South America|