Monographs Details: Psychotria racemosa Rich.
Authority: Kirkbride, Joseph H., Jr. 1997. Manipulus Rubiacearum-VI. 49: 354-379.
Family:Rubiaceae
Discussion:

TYPE: FRENCH GUIANA. L. C. M. Richard s.n. (NEOTYPE, here designated: P). (Figs. 7, 8)

Nonatelia racemosa Aubl., Hist. pl. Guiane 1: 187, t. 72. 1775. Oribasia racemosa (Aubl.) J. F Gmel., Syst. Nat. 367. 1791. Psychotria racemosa (Aubl.) Raeusch., Nomen., ed. 3, 56. 1797. TYPE: FRENCH GUIANA. In sylvis Orapu, Aublet s.n. (HOLOTYPE: P).

Psychotria longistipula Benth., J. Bot. (Hooker) 3: 227. 1841. TYPE: BRAZIL. Amazonas: Rio Negro, Schomburgk 945 (HOLOTYPE: K-n.v.).

Aublet (1775) published Nonatelia racemosa, a very distinctive species with five or rarely four locules, each with a single ovule, in the ovary. Recent authors (Standley, 1931a, 1931b, 1931c, 1936; Steyermark, 1972, 1974; Dwyer, 1980; Burger & Taylor, 1993) have accepted it as a species of Psychotria, P. racemosa (Aublet) Raeuschel. Bremekamp (1934) is the only recent author to have maintained it as N. racemosa.

Psychotria racemosa is found in southern Central America, Trinidad, and South America. It is relatively abundant, and there are numerous collections of it. In fruit it is easy to identify because of its five pyrenes in each fruit. In flower or immature fruit it is usually misidentified or placed with the unknown Psychotria specimens.

Raeuschel (1797) is usually quoted as author of the combination P. racemosa. On page 56 of his Nomenclator botanicus, the combination is given as "Psychotria racemosa. Guiana," without mention of Aublet. The title and preface of his work indicate that it is a member of and continuation of the Linnean canons. It was preceded by the thirteenth edition of Linnaeus's Systema naturae, which was prepared by Johann Friedrich Gmelin (1788-1793). Gmelin validly transferred N. racemosa to Oribasia racemosa (Aublet) J. F Gmelin. Raeuschel did not accept Oribasia, and all the species in Gmelin's Oribasia are included in Raeuschel's Psychotria. The order of Psychotria species in Raeuschel corresponds to the order of Psychotria species in Gmelin with the addition of the intercalated Oribasia species which are also in the same relative order as they are in Gmelin's work. Therefore, Gmelin's Oribasia species were transferred en masse by Raeuschel to Psychotria, and the transfers are validly published by indirect reference back to Gmelin.

In 1792, Louis C. M. Richard published a catalogue of Le Blond's collections from French Guiana. The names in the catalogue were arranged according to the Linnean system of classification, and all carefully formatted. Generic names and specific epithets were in roman type, with the former in uppercase letters and the latter in lowercase, followed by their respective authors names in italics. Generic and specific names new to science were presented without indication of author. New specific names were presented with the generic name followed by the new specific epithet in parentheses and then a short diagnostic phrase in italics. The name P. racemosa was published on page 107 in the format for new specific names. Richard was obviously aware of Aublet's (1775) Histoire des plantes de la Guianefran!oise, because he correctly attributed to it many species, such as Sipanea pratensis Aubl. There is no reference, direct or indirect, in Richard's work connecting his P. racemosa to Aublet's N. racemosa, so Richard's P. racemosa was a new specific name based on a Le Blond collection. Therefore, Raeuschel's P. racemosa is a later homonym and invalid.

Le Blond's collections are now at G by way of the herbaria of E. P. Ventenat and subsequently B. Delessert (Stafleu & Cowan, 1983: 764; A. Charpin & L. Gautier, pers. comm., 1995). In September 1995, I searched G for a Le Blond collection of P. racemosa Rich., and so, subsequently, did L. Gautier (pers. comm., 1995). Neither of us was able to locate such a specimen. Following my visit to G, I also searched P, and could not find a Le Blond collection of P. racemosa Rich. there either.

At P there are two L. C. M. Richard collections of P. racemosa from French Guiana labeled "N. racemosa." To maintain nomenclatural stability and avoid the confusion of a different epithet for the species widely known as P. racemosa, I am here neotypifying P. racemosa Rich. on the L. C. M. Richard collection (Figs. 7, 8) at P that has mature fruits each with five pyrenes.