Monographs Details: Eugenia polystachya Rich.
Authority: Maguire, Bassett. 1969. The botany of the Guayana Highland-part VIII. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 18: 1-290.
Family:Myrtaceae
Description:Distribution and Ecology - F R E N C H GUIANA. ["Cayenne"], Leblond s n (P, herb. Lamarck., lectotype);Forster s n (LE, hb. Mertens., type of E. forsteri). BRAZIL. Amapa: Rio Araguari,Aug-Sep 1961 (young fl), elev 67-135 m, Pires et al 50342, 50523, 51184 (ahM I C H ) ; Rio Oiapoque, 13 Sep 1960 (fl, fr), Irwin et al 48216 (MICH). Para:Para, botanical garden of Goeldi Museum, Sep 1931 (fl), Krukoff 1005 (MICH,N Y ) ; upper Cupary River, between Xingu and Tapajos Rivers, Sep 1931 (fl),Krukoff 1073 (MICH, N Y ) ; regiao do Anapu, Rio Flexal, Portel, 30 Sept 1956 (fl),Froes 32761 ( M I C H ) ; Jacundazinho, 5 Jul 1949 (fl). Black 8008 ( M I C H ) ; RioCuruaiina, planalto de Santarem, Froes 31366 ( M I C H ) ; banks of Rio Piria, S ofCurapati, road from Braganga to Viseu, 9 Nov 1965 (imm fr). Prance & Pennington2034 (MICH). Maranhao: Maracassume River region, Ubim, 6 M a y 1932 (fr),Froes 1737 (MICH, N Y )

Discussion:

?Eugenia forsteri Berg, Linnaea 29: 241. 1858.

Apparently Eugenia polystachya is the oldest binomial applied to any member of a smah group of South American species with large pedicehate flowers in long pubescent racemes {Racemosae Berg, in part). The pubescence is gray or bronzy; the leaves coriaceous with impressed midvein, usually impressed-punctate above and with minute dibrachiate hairs among pale appressed hairs beneath; the bracteoles often united into a cupule, this at anthesis usually appressed to the ovary and partly covering it; the hypanthium gray (sometimes bronzy)-pubescent; the calyx-lobes large, broad and often quadrate, silky pubescent within, hke the bracteoles often densely pubescent without, or sometimes nearly glabrous; fruit subglobose, up to 1.5-2 cm in diam, smooth, or often warty or longitudinally ridged.

The taxonomy of the group of species centering around Eugenia polystachya is poorly understood. Several species described by Berg were based on features that do not seem to be correlated significantly with any others, e.g., petiole-length, shape of calyx-lobes, shape of inflorescence and relative abundance of glandular dots on the leaves. In the Flora of Peru (Field :\Ius. Publ. Bot. 13(4): 729. 1958) I hsted a number of Amazonian and Peruvian species in the synonymy of E. riparia D C , indicating at the same time the possibility that E. riparia and E. polystachya might in fact be synonymous; in fact E. riparia now proves to be a synonym of E. muricata, q.v. Studies of additional material from Venezuela, eastern Brazil, and the Guianas, indicate that there are 6 or 7 species representing the Eugenia polystachya complex in northern South America. As treated in the present paper these are E. emarginata, E. muricata, E. pachystachya, E. patens, E. polystachya, and E. pubescens. In this group fruit-types, i.e., whether smooth, ridged or warty, seem to be correlated with characters of pubescence and those of bracts and bracteoles, and with flower-size. Unfortunately, fruiting material is almost unrepresented in herbaria, and most species are known from few specimens even in flower, so the specific limits accepted in this paper may be subject to change when the group becomes better known. The newly described E. pachystachya is very similar to E. atroracemosa McVaugh, of submontane Peru; E. emarginata and E. pubescens, as noted elsewhere in the text, m a y be no more than extreme forms of the same taxon; the line between E. polystachya and E. patens is difficult to draw, and it is possible that the two names represent merely different populations of the same species.

The type of Eugenia polystachya was collected by Leblond in French Guiana ["e Cayenna"]. I could not locate any collection of this species by Leblond in the general herbarium at Paris in 1965 or 1966, but in Lamarck's herbarium is a specimen that I suppose to be an isotype; it is labelled by Lamarck "Eugenia de Cayenne le blond." It has been photographed (Field Mus. neg. 39510) under the name of E. patens. The Lamarck specimen is appressed-pubescent with gray hairs; the bracteoles are broad, rounded, glabrous, 2 m m long, up to 3.5 m m wide, forming a cupule beneath the flower; the disk is 4.5-5.5 m m wide, and the calyx-lobes 3-5 m m wide, 3.5 m m long. On the assumption that it forms part of the original material of E. polystachya, it is designated as lectotype.

Berg, after the publication of his first revision of the American Myrtaceae in 1855-56, studied the specimens in several herbaria he had not seen before, including that of Richard. The herbarium of Richard (now in Paris) m a y have included some or ah of the species collected by Leblond, but these are not clearly marked, and as Richard himself collected in French Guiana there is always the possibility of confusion between his own specimens and those of Leblond. I suspect that Berg thus inadvertenfly introduced confusion into the nomenclature of Eugenia polystachya; in Linnaea 30: 695-697, 1861, he pubhshed a fuh description of the species, based on a specimen in Richard's herbarium. He made no mention of Leblond, nor did he cite Richard's number. In 1965 I could And no specimen annotated by Berg, but in the general herbarium at P is Richard no. 77, marked "in sylvis Guy|ane|." The plant is rather like that of Leblond in the Lamarck herbarium, but has somewhat shorter bracteoles and presumably represents a different gathering, doubtless one made by Richard himself. It seems unsafe to assume as Amshoff did (Rec. Trav. Bot. Neerl. 42: 13. 1950) that Berg made "a deflnitive choice," typifying E. polystachya by a specimen in Richard's herbarium, when there is no direct evidence that the herbarium contained a Leblond specimen at the time Berg examined it.

Amshoff's assumption was based partly on the fact that in the herbarium at Geneva G) there is a specimen identifled as "Leblond no. 113" and named Eugenia polystachya. The plant, as pointed out by Amshoff, represents quite a different species, E. muricata (cf Field Mus. neg. 23578). Amshoff assumed from this that Leblond's original cohection had been a mixed one, and that Berg, by redescribing E. polystachya on the basis of the Richard specimen, had effectively typifled the species and had excluded the E. muricata element. In fact, I think it likely that the Geneva specimen also represents one of Richard's own collections, as it bears his original label (no. 72). I cannot explain the confusion between Richard and Leblond, unless the specimen was sent out from Paris inadvertently among a series consisting primarily of plants cohected by Leblond. Perhaps Richard considered his own no. 72 to be a duplicate, since his no. 76 represented the same species; the latter (in Richard's herbarium at P) was described by Berg under the name of E. muricata (ß guyanensis.

To summarize, it seems that three different species are involved: 1) the true E. polystachya, collected by Leblond and now known only in Lamarck's herbarium. 2) The plant described by Berg as E. polystachya, in Richard's herbarium; this is either E. polystachya or perhaps E. patens. 3) The plant at Geneva, called E. polystachya, not certainly collected by Leblond, and representing E. ?nuricata. It is unlikely that Berg saw or described any of the material actuahy collected by Leblond, and unlikely that the Geneva specimen was collected by Leblond.

The fruit of Eugenia polystachya, previously unknown, can now be described from a collection from Amapa, h-win et al 48216. The "green," i.e., probably slightly immature, fruit is globose or oblate, 1.5-2 cm in diam, roughened only by the numerous superficial convex glands, neither ridged nor tuberculate.

A species compared by its author with Eugenia polystachya, viz, E. polystachyoides Amsh. (Rec. Trav. Bot. Neerl. 42: in errat. Dec 1950), apparently is not closely related to the E. polystachya-complex, and is discussed among the Doubtful Species at the end of the present paper

Distribution:French Guiana South America| Brazil South America|