Monographs Details: Comolia prostrata Wurdack
Authority: Maguire, Bassett & Wurdack, John J. 1964. The botany of the Guayana Highland--Part V. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 10: 1-278.
Family:Melastomataceae
Description:Latin Diagnosis - Ex descriptione et photicone C. berberidifoliae (Bonpl.) DC. affinis sed habitu prostrato foliorum venis secundariis tertiariisque non evolutis et laminis minoribus hypanthio glanduloso-setuloso. Fruticulosa e basi ramosissima; rami 5-20 cm longi divaricati nodis juvenilibus setulosis exceptis glabri. Petioli ca. 1 mm longi; lamina 3-5 X 2-4 mm obovato-elliptica apice obtusa basi acuta membranacea, supra glabra, subtus primum in nervis primariis sparse glanduloso-setulosis extemplo glabrata, indistincte trinervata venis secundariis tertiariisque non evolutis, apicem versus crenulato-serrulata serratulis primum glanduloso-setulosis extemplo glabratis. Flores in ramis brevibus terminalibus solitarii. Hypanthium 2.5 mm longum sparse glanduloso-setulosum; calycis tubus vix 0.2 mm altus, lobis ovato-oblongis apice acutis ad margines sparse glanduloso-ciliolatis. Petala 7-8 X 4.5 mm asymmetrice obovata apice obtusa et seta unica glandulifera terminata. Stamina dimorphica; filamenta 5 mm longa; antherae subulatae. Stamina maiora: thecae 3.5 mm longae, connectivo 1 mm prolongato postice distincte calcarato calcari 0.5 mm longo appendicibus ventralibus 1 m m longis. Stamina minora: thecae 3.5 mm longae, connectivo 0.5 mm prolongato postice non calcarato appendicibus ventralibus 0.5 mm longis.

Discussion:

Type. Entire plant red-tinged, petals pink, anthers purple-pink, locally abundant in sabanita opposite Venezuelan town of Manacal, Rio Atabapo, Colombia, alt. 125 m, 12 Jun 1959, J. J. Wurdack & L. S. Adderley 42987 (holotype US 2342626).

C. berberidifolia has the shrubby habit of the common C. lythrarioides (Steud.) Naud., leaf blades 8-13 m m long with evident secondary veins on the lower surface, and a glabrous hypanthium. In distinguishing the various species of Comolia, Cogniaux emphasized the presence or absence of a dorsal stamen connective calcar; this character, however, may prove of little significance, at least in the species grouped around C. leptophylla (Bonpl.) Naud., C. veronicaefolia Benth. (including in R. O. Williams' interpretation also C. lythrarioides, and probably C. amazonica Cogn.) and C. berberidifolia. As interpreted up to now, the generotype, C. berberidifolia, is known only from the original collection which is of uncertain origin. In Sabana de Moyo on the right bank of the Rio Orinoco 10 km above the mouth of the Rio Ventuari, the common species of Comolia in the open savanna is C. leptophylla in a depressed form (Wurdack & Adderley 43687) ; the more typical less-branched erect phase of C. leptophylla is common in the Edo. Bolivar savannas of the middle Orinoco (Wurdack & Monachino 39943). In both of these collections the large stamen connectives are often dorsally calcarate. Sheltered thicket-edge habitats in Sabana de Moyo have a Comolia with distinctly trinerved leaf blades and evident secondary nerves, but the habit of typical C. leptophylla; Wurdack & Adderley 43686 shows both this broad-leaved type and intermediates towards C. leptophylla. O n the basis of these collections, C. leptophylla should probably be regarded as an opensavanna subspecies of C. veronicaefolia, but both in turn may be subordinated to C. berberidifolia (of which I have seen only the type photograph, Macbride 36179). Among this assemblage, however, the character combination in C. prostrata seems sufficient to justify specific recognition.