Monographs Details: Comolia serpyllacea Wurdack
Authority: Maguire, Bassett & Wurdack, John J. 1958. The botany of the Guayana Highland--Part III. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 10: 1-156.
Description:Latin Diagnosis - Inter eongenera habitu foliis staminibusque bene distinctis. Caules repentes lignosi rubri vel brunnei quadrangulares, cum pilis rubris vel brunneis flexuosis 1-1.5 mm longis densiuscule vestiti. Folia breviter (0.3-0.8 mm) petiolata; lamina 2.5-4 X 1-1.5 mm, plana elliptica vel paulo ovatoelliptica apice acuta et brevissime (0.1 mm) setuloso-mucronulata basi acuta uninervia, margine integerrima vel apicem versus utrinque 1—2-dentata dentibus unisetosis, g'labra vel apicem versus supra cum setis 1—3 appressis ca. 0.5 mm longis. Flores in ram is lateralibus solitarii, pedicellis supra bracteas 4-6 mm gracili-setosis. Hypanthium 3.2-3.6 X 2.3-2.5 mm, modice (3-5/mm2) glanduloso-setosum, setis ad 1 mm longis. Sepala supra torum 0.5 vm coalita. lobis 2.3-2.7 X 1-2 mm, oblongis apice late acutis extus glabris, marginibus et intus apicem versus sparse glanduloso-setosis. Petala 13-14.5 X 10.2-10.7 mm, obovata apice rotundata marginibus apicem versus sparse glanduloso-ciliolatis. Stamina glabra in forma isomorphica, antheris rectis apice subulatis minute uniporosis. Stamina maiora: filamenta 4.2-4.5 mm; antherae 2.8-3.6 mm. connectivo sub loculis 0.5-0.7 mm producto ventraliter vix (0.2 mm) bilobato. Stamina "inora-. filamenta 3.5-3.7 mm; antherae 2.4-3.0 mm, connectivo sub locjlis 0.3-0.5 mm producto ventraliter imnersqicue bilobato. Ovarium slabrum biloculare multiovulatiru ; stylus glaber 7-8 X 0.2-0.4 mm apicem versus e-radatim contractus; stisira pvnetiforme.
Distribution and Ecology - Paratypes: repent, mat-forming, petals magenta, anthers yellow, common on ledges on upper escarpment face, elev. 1300-1700 m, Cerro Huachamacnri, Rio Ounucunuma, Terr. Amazonas, Venezuela. Dec 5, 1 1950. Maguire, Cowan & Wurdack 29886: creeping in liverworts, netals pink, anthers yellow, upper escarpment slopes east of Camp 3, elev. 17(10 m. Cerro de la Neblina, Rio Vatun, Terr. Amazonas, Venezuela, Dec 24. 1953, Maguire, IVnrdack & Bunting 36811; idem, Dec 27, 1953; 36923; idem, elev. 1600 m, Jan 24, 1954, 37372.
The habit and nearly isomorphic stamens of C. serpyllacca preclude any consideration of sect. Dicrananthera of the genus Arisanthrra. Within Comolia, the Neblina species would be placed in Sect. 1 near C. Icptophijila (Ronpl.). Xaiid. because of the bilocular ovary and one-nerved leaves; C. leptophylla has a different habit, glabrous branches, much longer leaves, and stamen connective
conspicuously prolonged ventrally. The stamens of C. serpyllacea are more reminiscent
of C. montana Gleason and C. coriacea (Ueason although the basal connective
thickening of those species is more pronounced. The small leaves are
somewhat reminiscent of those of C. sertularia (DC.) Tr. but the habit, curved
leaf-margins, glandular-puberulent branches and lower leaf-surfaces, long stamen
connectives, and quadrilocular ovary of the Brazilian species make the resemblance
seem superficial. The Brazilian genus Fritzschia has similar leaves and
stamen connective prolongation but glabrous stems, foliage, and hypanthium,
more abruptly truncate anthers, and 4-locular ovary.
Vegetative variability in savanna plants is usually quite great; dimensional
floral variation is also significant. The latter type of variability is certainly
influenced by the flowering period, with the later flowers on a single plant often
being much smaller; this phenomenon can be seen wherever a large stand of
Rhynchanthera serndata (Rich, ex Bonpl.) DC. or Pterogastra minor Naud. is
found. In Tiboiichina spruccana Cogn., the last few flowers on a plant often
are semiabortive with distorted petals and sterile stamens.
Gleason has several times suggested the possibility of heterostyly in Andean
Miconia of sect. Cremanium. Such floral diversity, if finally recognized taxonomically
will lead to the synonymy of many species of Miconia. For specific
limits in the rare genus Pachyloma, it has seemed necessary to recognize a floral
latitude uncountenanced previously, with basic criteria being vegetative.
This genus is restricted to the savannas of the upper Rio Negro and upper
Orinoco drainages. Although it was described in 1828, it has hitherto been known
by only five collections, with three described species. Additional recent collections
by Schultes and ourselves have both clarified and confused the species.
Upon examination of single branches, the most striking floral character is the
connective development differences in the two whorls of stamens. However, while
the dimorphic or essentially monomorphic character of the stamens seems relatively
constant for single sprigs, examination of entire collections reveals quite
a disturbing floral variability in the sprigs assigned to a single collection number,
despite vegetative constancy in the collection. The heterostemonous feature
is especially evident in the Schultes collections from the Rio Vaupes drainage.
Within the recent Venezuelan collections, the stamen variability exists, although
less striking fashion. One other disturbing phenomenon is the presence or
absence of glandular hairs on style and/or filaments of some collections both
Colombian and Venezuelan. Since both P coriaccum and P hiiberioides are
spare shrubs, a collection number includes branches from several plants, at least
in the Venezuelan collections.
I am indebted to the United States National Herbarium for the opportunity
to examine all the specimens for each Schultes & Cabrera collection number.
The herbaria at Munich and Paris have permitted the study of the holotypes of
P coriaceum and P. huhcrioides. Drs Baehni and Weibel of Geneva kindly supplied
information from the de Candolle herbarium and on the relations between
Martius and de Candolle.