Monographs Details: Ocotea amplissima Mez
Authority: Allen, Caroline K. 1966. Contributions to the botany of Guiana. II. Lauraceae. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 15: 53-95.
Family:Lauraceae
Scientific Name:Ocotea amplissima Mez
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Shrub to 3 m (Weberbauer), characterized by branchlets, hollow, angled and minutely appressed, ferruginous-tomentellous quickly becoming glabrous and blackish brown, the many inflorescences clustered at their tips and shorter than the coarse, elliptic leaves; and the hermaphrodite flowers. Described from Peru and occurring in Venezuela, in Merida at a lower altitude.VENEZUELA. Merida: Pueblos del Sur, A. L. Bernardi 6247 (fl. fr. NY); primary forest on steep, rocky slope, 35 km W of Merida, along road to Carbonera 1750 m alt, F J. Breteler 3406 (fl., p.a. fr. NY).

Discussion:

Type. Peruvia, prov. Humalies, dept. Huanuco, in montibus austro-occiden-tem versus prope Monzon sitis, alt. 2000-2500 m, 8 Augusto 1903 florifera: Weber-bauer no. 3550. (holotype, B; fl. bud, leaf fragm. and photo. F; photo. NY).

The cited specimens agree essentially with the photograph of the type, the flowers of which, for the most part, appear to be in bud; the dissection (of a bud) reveals flower parts similar to those of Bernardi’s collection. The photograph shows the remains of a fruit of the previous season, which bears no resemblance to the fruit of the numbers cited above. This is not surprising, for fruits persisting during the succeeding flowering season usually are not normally developed. The Breteler number shows leaves acute at the base, the margins more plane than undulate. Both the Venezuelan and Peruvian materials are coarse as to branchlets, leaves and flowers; in both, the twigs are hollow and the bark aromatic. The Breteler field notes mention ants in the stems and give the height of the tree as 20 m. The fact that O. amplissima, according to the collector, is a shrub less than 10 ft in height is of minor importance; many tall, tropical trees collected in the young stages have often been recorded as shrubs.

The pubescence of the branchlets of the Bernardi sheets is tawny rather than ferruginous; and that of the sharp, attenuately acuminate, lanceolate bud is, by contrast, nearly white. These color differences in pubescence have been found in several other instances to be of little diagnostic value. The seemingly disjunct distributions are, actually, not incompatible as to ecology and the like. When the intervening areas on the eastern slopes of the Andes are more thoroughly collected, it is possible that more as well as more complete material will be available. Fruiting specimens may distinguish the Venezuelan from the Peruvian entity.

Mez’ comment on the affinity of his new species with Ocotea weberbaueri O.C. Schmidt (O. ottoschmidtii Macbride) and O. stuebelii Mez (Colombia), both easily separated from the Venezuelan material and from each other, points towards a specific relationship not consistent with his description or the type photograph, although, in my opinion, Mez has placed his species correctly in the general area within the genus

Distribution:Venezuela South America| Peru South America|