Monographs Details: Psidium salutare (Kunth) O.Berg
Authority: Maguire, Bassett. 1969. The botany of the Guayana Highland-part VIII. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 18: 1-290.
Family:Myrtaceae
Discussion:

Myrtus salutaris H.B.K. Nov. Gen. & Sp. 6: 132. 1823.

Psidium ciliatum Benth., Jour. Bot. Hook. 2: 318. 1840.

Eugenia ? guayavilla Benth., Pl. Hartw. 174. 1845.

Psidium lanceolatum Berg, Linnaea 30: 704. 1861.

Calycolpus parviflorus Sagot, Ann. Sci. Nat. VI 20: 181. 1885.

For description see Fieldiana Bot. 24(7) [Fl. Guatemala]: 399, 1963. It may be that more than one species is included under this name. The plant is a common one of lowland savannas from western Mexico and the Antilles to the Guianas. It is often subherbaceous, 30-50 cm high, quite glabrous, with the leaves rather thick and almost featureless, ovate, subsessile, acutely pointed at apex, and the flowers mostly axillary on unbranched leafy shoots arising from a perennial base. In other specimens, however, the branchlets may be pubescent even though the leaves are glabrous on both sides, and the stems may be more freely branched above the base. The leaves may be thinner and somewhat veiny, and at the same time ehiptic rather than ovate. Some of the specimens resemble intermediates between the small glabrous plant of savannas and a species like Psidium striatulum (P. parviflorum Benth.).

The type of Myrtus salutaris, which I saw at Paris in 1965 (cf Field Mus. neg. 36905), was cohected by Humboldt and Bonpland on the middle Orinoco ["prope Carichanam, ad ripam Orinoci"]; it is a fruiting specimen, probably from a young branching shoot; the branchlets and pedicels are bristly-pubescent; the leaves nearly sessile, broadly rounded-subcordate, the midvein convex above. The specimen that I take to be the type of Psidium ciliatum (Kew, ex hb. Benth'., with number 365/ 498B; cf Amshoff, Rec. Trav. Bot. Neerl. 4 2 : 18, 19, 1950), perhaps represents the same species; the herbage is nearly glabrous, or slightly pubescent

Other specimens distributed under the number Schomburgk 365 are more heavily pubescent and are in fact indistinguishable from specimens of Psidium minutiflorum (P. sartorianum). One of these is a syntype of P. salutare y subalternum Berg {Schomburgk 365, at Vienna). The type of Calycolpus parviflorus, LePrieur 211 in 1838 (P) is very sparingly pubescent. The type of Eugenia ? guayavillo, Hartweg 977 (K), from Popayan, Colombia, is a specimen of the glabrous, nearly unbranched plant typical of savannas elsewhere. The type of P. lanceolatum (P, ex hb. Richard, with locality given as "Bresil"), is a completely glabrous specimen with narrow lanceolate or elliptic leaves 2.5-4 cm long, the calyx-lobes 5, very short, rather thick.

The small-flowered Psidiums of northeastern South America are still not well known. The specific limits in the complex that includes Psidium salutare (H.B.K.) Berg, P. arayan (H.B.K.) Burret, P. ciliatum Benth., P minutiflorum Amsh., P. sartorianum (Berg) Ndzu., P. galapageium Hook, f., P. lanceolatum Berg, and Eugenia guayavillo Benth., should be worked out in detail as soon as enough material becomes available. It m a y be that some of the puzzhng specimens are from hybrid plants that are intermediate between species; it also seems likely that some supposedly halfshrubby or herbaceous plants described by collectors have been modified by fires in the savannas where these plants grow. Berg seems not to have understood this group of species; his annotations and citations show that he referred strikingly similar collections from the same general area to at least three different species (P. salutare, P. ciliatum, P. parviflorum).

A collection from northern Venezuela (Merida, between Beguilla and Mucuchachi, elev 1065-2430 m, 4 M a y 1944 (fl), Steyermark 56312), is subherbaceous, 30 cm high or less, quite glabrous, but the leaves veiny and elliptic, a very good match for the type of Myrtus arayan [Psidium arayan (H.B.K.) Burret], which according to the protologue came from southern Ecuador about 30 k m S W of Loja (see Field Mus. Publ. Bot. 13(4) jFl. Peru]: 790. 1958, and Field Mus. neg. 36874). Evidently plants of these shrubby, small-leaved, small-flowered Psidiums with open 5-lobed calvx are found in many localities across northern South America, but their exact relationships remain to be elucidated.

Distribution:Colombia South America| Venezuela South America|