Monographs Details: Myrsine
Authority: Liogier, Alain H. 1971. Novitates Antillanae. IV. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 21: 107-157.
Scientific Name:Myrsine
Description:Distribution and Ecology - in Hispaniola.


The genus Myrsine Linnaeus, accepted here with the same definition as that of W. T. Stearn in his recent paper [A synopsis of Jamaican Myrsinaceae, Bull. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Bot. 4(4): 174-177. 1969], includes the genus Rapanea Aublet as a synonym. Several species of Myrsine occur in Hispaniola and a new taxon will be described here. As pointed out by Stearn, Al. guianensis (Aublet) Kuntze does not grow in Hispaniola, Cuba or Jamaica. The specimens so named in the different herbaria must be studied critically in order to determine the exact specific name. My attention was called to thi.s problem by the above-mentioned paper, when I looked into the herbarium to try to name the specimens from Hispaniola. The material at hand from this island was either sterile or in fruit. Myrsine magnolifolia was known only from the type collection, and no specimen was available at the New York Botanical Garden. Further field work was needed; I had the opportunity to get good collections of flowering plants; I can now make an attempt to solve this problem.

Traditionally, there have been two species cited from the Greater AntiUes in the genus Rapanea, with some local endemics; Rapanea ferruginea (Ruiz & Pavon) Mez had pubescent twigs and petioles; the other species, named consistently R. guianensis Aublet, was glabrous. Upon transferring the genus Rapanea to Myrsine, Stearn correctly named the pubescent species Myrsine coriacea (Swartz) R. Brown; as to the other supposedly widespread species, it seems that a complex of species occurs that will have to be studied separately in each local flora. The lack of flowering specimens in many cases makes such a study impossible, as the main differences are to be found in the corolla and the calyx. Stearn cites M . trinitatis A. de Candolle from Puerto Rico, but I am not altogether sure it is found there. I believe that the presence or absence of pellucid lines and dots is not a sound taxonomic character in most cases, and I prefer to rely on flowering parts for final decisions. My own observations show these lines and dots to be present in younger leaves and to disappear with age. As to the Hispaniola specimens, I recognize five taxa.

Distribution:West Indies|