Mitranthes sartoriana Berg, Linnaea 29: 248. 1858.
Mitropsidium oblanceolatum Burret, T^iotizhl. Berlin 15: 487. 1941.
Mitropsidium pittieri Burret,'^otizhl. Berlin 15: 488. 1941.
IPsidium quinquedentatum Amsh., Rec. Trav. Bot. Neerl. 39: 164. 1942.
Psidium minutiflorum Amsh., Rec. Trav. Bot. Neerl. 42: 19. 1950.
For description and additional synonymy relative to plants of northern South
America, see Fieldiana Bot. 24(7) [Fl. Guatemala]: 401, 1963. As explained briefly
in the Flora of Guatemala, and at more length in an earlier article (Fieldiana Bot.
29: 525-529. 1963), the complex of species that includes Psidium sartorianum is
characterized by having leaves and flowers small for the genus, herbage and branchlets
hispidulous but the buds glabrous, leaves thin and often with many conspicuous
glands, the midvein flat or slightly convex. The plants are often large forest trees.
Representatives of the complex are found on both coasts of Mexico, in Yucatan and
Cuba, Central America, and from northern Colombia and Venezuela to eastern Brazil.
Several different species in the complex have been distinguished, mostly on the basis
of differences in the unopened calyx. In the type of Mitranthes sartoriana the calyx
is closed and calyptrate as it is in almost all Mexican and Central American specimens.
In P molinae Amsh., of Honduras, and in P quinquedentatum and P minutiflorum,
however, the calyx is provided with 4 or 5 short lobes. The taxonomic significance
of this feature of the calyx is not fully understood, but in some individuals
the calyx may be lobed, or open irregularly, in species that normally have a closed
calyptrate calyx, and I suspect that study of the populations of these plants in nature
would show that no more than one species, or perhaps two or more geographically
localized subspecies, make up the complex.
It is probable that Psidium galapageium Hook. f. (Trans. Linn. Soc. London 20:
224. 1847), is the correct name for the complex that has generally passed under the
name of P sartorianum. The type, collected by Scouler on the Galapagos Islands,
and now at Kew, is an ample leafy specimen with flower-buds. I cannot distinguish
it from mainland specimens of P. sartorianum. It seems inadvisable to take up the
earlier epithet, however, until the taxonomy of the entire complex is better known.
I. M . Johnston (Proc. Cahf. Acad. Sci. IV. 20: 80. 1931) took up the name P galapageium
for a plant of Socorro Island having "brownish pilose" leaves and twigs, and
"slightly free sepal tips." H e at the same time (p. 81) proposed a new species from
Socorro Island, P. socorrense, this said to differ from P galapageium chiefly in being
less densely pubescent, and in having the "sepal tips . united to form a terminal mucronate tip for the unopened bud." Miranda, in an account of the vegetation of
Socorro Island (La Isla Socorro. Monog. Inst. Geofis. Univ. Nac. Auton. Mex. 2:
129-152. 1960) considered the dominant arborescent Psidium on the island—which
in deep soils forms a tree 8-12 m high—to be P. galapageium. Neither P. galapageium
nor the supposed P. socorrense is very different from the common and widespread
The name Psidium minutiflorum was proposed by Amshoff as a substitute for
P. ciliatum in the sense of Berg (Linnaea 27: 353. 1856), not P. ciliatum Benth.
(1840). As Amshoff designated no type, and as Berg cited five different numbers,
all representing collections made by the Schomburgks in British Guiana, it is necessary
to choose a lectotype from among these numbers. Amshoff cited two of the
three gatherings seen by Berg, viz. nos. 388 (cited by Berg as 322), and 952. Berg
stated that he saw the various collections "in hb. Berol. et Vindob."; as it may be
assumed that the Berlin specimens have been destroyed, a lectotype should be chosen
from among the sheets annotated by Berg and now at Vienna. These are nos. 604
(marked "Mus. Berol."), 388, and 952. Of these no. 952 is designated lectotype, as
the number was cited by both Berg and Amshoff, specimens under that number have
been rather widely distributed, and a sheet at G has been photographed (Field Mus.
neg. 23491). Ah the specimens of no. 952 are superficially like P. sartorianum, but
the calyx in bud is provided with short, densely ciliate lobes, and in anthesis opens
by deep longitudinal fissures. The corolla even in the young bud is exposed, but the
globe of the petals is shorter than or about as long as the calyx-lobes until just before
The other species proposed by Amshoff, Psidium quinquedentatum, is still known
from the type only. This is a plant from Suriname, Rombouts 329, which I saw at
Utrecht in 1965. The specimen consists of a large branch about 20 cm long and 8
m m in diam, with about 20 slender sucker-shoots, each about 10-15 cm long and 1-2
m m in diam, arising from it. These slender, vigorous branchlets, some of which are
in 3's rather than opposite, are densely yehowish-pubescent as emphasized by Amshoff,
and the leaves are similarly but less densely pubescent. In the kind and distribution
of pubescence, and in other respects, this specimen suggests an abnormally stimulated
individual of what has been called P minutiflorum, and I suspect the two are synonymous.