Monographs Details: Coccocypselum herbaceum P.Browne
Authority: Maguire, Bassett. 1967. The botany of the Guayana Highland--Part VII. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 17: 1-439.
Family:Rubiaceae
Description:Distribution and Ecology - West Indies (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Hispaniola, Jamaica, Puerto Rico) and Central America (Guatemala, British Honduras, Honduras).

Discussion:

occocypselum repens Sw., Prod. Veg. Ind. Occ. 31. 1788. non C repens H.B.K.. 1819, non Condalia re pens R. it P.. 179S.

Tontanea herbacea (Lam.) Standley, X. Am. FI. 32(2): 147. 1921.

Type. Cooler mountains of Liguanee and Mount-diable, Jamaica.

The short peduncles are distinctive of this species. Browne’s original description states “pedunculis brevibus subumbellatis” and this character is depicted in his plate (tab. 6, fig. 2). This is the widespread West Indian species with blue flowers, found commonly in Jamaica, and often identified as C. repens Sw.

The name Coccocypselum herbaceum P.Br. has usually been overlooked in favor of C. repens Sw., C. repens Br., or the correct authorship of Browne wrongly ascribed to Aublet (Alain, FI. Cuba 5: 60. 1962) or Lamarck (Standley, N. Am. Fl. 32(2): 147. 1921). From the beginning Browne's epithet, based on a plant originating in Jamaica, was either ignored or assigned to the wrong author. Thus, Lamarck (Encyc. 2: 56. 1786) assigned C. herbaceum to Aublet, and Chamisso and Schlechtendal (Linnaea 4: 139. 1829) and Richard (Mem. Mus. Par. 5: 179. 1834) gave Browne as the author for C. repens. This curious misassignment of names began when Browne originally published his new species of Coccocypselum [as Coccodpsilum] thus: “Coccocipsilum 1. Herbaceum repens, foliis venosis ovatis oppositis, pedunculis brevibus subumbellatis ad alas aternas" (Hist. Jamaica, 144). Instead of taking up the epithet “Herbaceum” as Browne intended, the subsequent adjectival second word of the description, “repeiis," wTas used by most subsequent authors. Aublet correctly used Browne’s name (Hist. Pl. Guiane 1: 68. 1775) by placing Browne’s epithet in parentheses to indicate the specific name, thus "Coccocipsilum (herbaceum) repens” etc., since Aublet used this parenthetical style to separate his specific epithet from the subsequent part of his Latin description.

Thus, the name Coccocypselum (or Coccocipsilum) repens became a misused accessory name, which was early used by authors instead of the correct epithet, “herbaceum Swartz’s Coccocypselum repens (Prod. Veg. Ind. Occ. 31. 1788) was simply a wrong usage of Browne’s C. herbaceum and the mistake was perpetrated by subsequent authors. Condalia repens R. & P. (Fl. Per. 1: 54, pl. 84, f. a. 1798), described from Peruvian material, pertains to a different species than the misapplied name of Browne, and has been taken up usually as a synonym for Coccocypselum condalia Pers. Persoon, in adopting the name C. condalia, referred to Condalia repens as a synonym. The plant described by Swartz as C. occocypselum repens shows three detached branches in the photograph of the type (BM). The two branches on the left-hand side of the photo show peduncles 5-9 mm long, while the one on the right-hand side has practically sessile heads. I have interpreted the branch on the right-hand side of the photo as C. pseudotontanca because of the sessile or nearly sessile heads. The leaf-blades of the left-hand branches shown on the photo are elliptic-ovate to ovate, cuneately acute to rounded at the base, vary from 2.2-3.4 cm long by 1-1.5 cm wide, with petioles 5-7 mm long. These dimensions fall within the minimal size range for C. herbaceum and agree with the type of leaf-base also encountered in that species.

Distribution:West Indies| Cuba South America| Haiti South America| Dominican Republic South America| West Indies| Jamaica South America| Puerto Rico South America| Central America| Guatemala Central America| Honduras Central America|