Eugenia chrysophylloides D C , DC. Prodr. 3: 276. 1828.
This name has been apphed to a wide variety of plants with moderately large
coriaceous leaves, midvein convex or biconvex on the upper surface, appressed reddish
pubescence on the young growth, small fasciculate pedicellate flowers and elongate
fruit. Judging by the very few collections that have been available for study, the
true Eugenia chrysophyllum is of rather restricted distribution in the Guianas, but
perhaps it also occurs in the Amazon lowlands.
Candolle (DC. Prodr. 3: 272. 1828) correctly pointed out that the type-locality
of Eugenia chrysophyllum was "in Cayenna" not Mauritius ("He de France") as
Poiret had originally supposed. De Candolle studied additional specimens from
Cayenne, supposedly of the same species (collected by Patris and Perrottet), and
described the flowers as "subsessilibus adgregatis," whereas those of his own E.
chrysophylloides were described as "evidenter pedicellati et breviter racemosi." The
type of the latter species came also from "Cayenna."
The type of Eugenia chrysophyllum is in the herbarium of Desfontaines, now at
FI, where I was permitted to study it in 1966. It is labelled "Cayenne ^Martin," as
reported by Amshoff (Rec. Trav. Bot. Neerl. 4 2 : 15. 1950). The specimen from
Poiret's own herbarium, now at P, where I saw it in 1965, is marked, presumably
by Poiret, "Eugenia chrysophyllum (N.) enc. Suppl. Commers. isle de fr." Evidently
these represent the same species. The leaves are relatively narrow and long-acuminate,
up to 5 cm wide and 12 cm long, conspicuously silky-pubescent beneath with bright
golden hairs, somewhat impressed-punctate above when young; the midvein on the
upper surface is convex or somewhat channeled and biconvex, but depressed a little
below the surface; the petioles are 6-8 m m long; the raceme-axis is 2-3 m m long or
less, rufous-hirsutulous, the pedicels in flower 5 m m long or less, appressed-hirsutulous
with red-brown hairs; bracteoles pubescent hke the pedicels, persistent, 0.5 m m long
and about as wide; hypanthium campanulate, shorter than the calyx-lobes, densely
appressed-pubescent; calyx-lobes obtusely triangular, glabrous within, about 2 m m
long and wide, thinly pubescent outside; petals glabrous; fruit pyriform, 1 cm long.
The type of Eugenia chrysophylloides, as also noted by Amshoff, proves to represent
the same species (cf Field Mus. neg. 7935). The characters of flatfish but
depressed midvein, punctate leaves, red pubescence (somewhat faded in the type),
calyx-lobes glabrous within, and ellipsoid fruit are exactly those of E. chrysophyllum.
The difference between the inflorescences noted by De Candolle seems not to be
The specimen collected by Cowan and Lindeman may represent another taxon;
the leaves are unusuahy smooth above, the midvein is nearly flat, and the lower leafsurface
is not very densely golden-pubescent; it is described by the collectors as
"grayish with golden sheen." Additional specimens representing the complex that
includes Eugenia chrysophyllum, E. exaltata, etc, are cited in the list of Doubtful
Species at the end of this paper. Evidently the complex includes a number of local
populations that differ from one another slightly in leaf-shape and in pubescence,
but none of them has been well collected, and they cannot as yet be satisfactorily
separated in the herbarium.