Monographs Details: Euterpe aurantiaca H.E.Moore
Authority: Maguire, Bassett. 1972. The botany of the Guayana Highland--part IX. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 23: 1-832.
Description:Distribution and Ecology - Distribution. The species is only known from the type collection and a paratype from almost the same locality but also the next specimen seems to belong here. GUYANA. Upper Mazaruni River Basin, Partang R., Merume Mtns., 1140 m, Tillett, Tillett & Boyan 44840 (NY).
Type. Maguire & Politi 28009, Venezuela, Terr. Amazonas, Cerro Sipapo (Paraque), 1500malt (nv).
Euterpe aurantiaca was recently described from the Guayana Highland collections which have not been available for the present study. The very poor specimen from Guyana probably represents this species, at least the fragmentary material does not show any discrepancy with the description. Neither does the description of E. aurantiaca reveal appreciable differences with E. catinga from the Rio Negro area. Euterpe catinga inclusive its variety aurantiaca Drude (in Martius, Flora Bras. 3(2): 465. 1882) and E. controversa Barbosa Rodr. has been the subject of some controversy. At first Barbosa Rodr. thought them conspecific but after Drude had founded his var aurantiaca Barbosa Rodr. also ventured to describe his specimen as a separate species. Burret (Bot. Jahrb. 63: 68. 1929) discussed the matter at some length and found apart from a few discrepancies in size which he considered to be accidental only the difference in sheath color. Euterpe catinga is frequently said to have a green sheath, E. controversa a reddish one. Surprisingly enough, Wallace reported in his original description of E. catinga the sheath to be red. Consequently E. catinga and E. controversa must be considered conspecific. Spruce, who has seen the same stands of E. catinga as I did, does not mention the reddish sheath but instead calls it whitish-green. Otherwise his description fits the plants with the reddish sheaths observed by me around the mouth of the Casiquiare and the Venezuelan frontier and considered here to represent E. catinga exactly inclusive the peculiar mass of soft, flat, deep-purple threads at the mouth of the sheaths. Perhaps Spruce’s observation of the sheath color was based on an atypical plant or may be due to an error. Also Trail collected this species (Trail 1051/CII, Brazil, Amazonas, Cachoeira da Jaruma, K) and emphasized in a long letter to Sir Joseph Hooker, still present in K: “the red (flesh-coloured is more exact) sheathing column and the nearly horizontal pinnae.” From this discussion it may become clear that E. catinga certainly has orange-reddish leaf-sheaths and that var aurantiaca and E. controversa cannot be separated. Whether E. aurantiaca can be distinguished from E. catinga remains very questionable and cannot be decided upon without original material. Unfortunately nothing has been said about this in the original description. On the other hand it is unusual that an Euterpe species has a vertical range from about 100 m to 1500 m altitude.
Distribution:Guyana South America