Gustavia brachycarpa Pittier

  • Family

    Lecythidaceae (Magnoliophyta)

  • Scientific Name

    Gustavia brachycarpa Pittier

  • Primary Citation

    Contr. U. S. Natl. Herb. 26(1): 3. 1927

  • Type Specimens

    Specimen 1: Isotype -- H. F. Pittier 5269

  • Description

    Author: Scott A. Mori

    Type: Panama. Chiriquí: Eastern Chiriquí, vicinity of San Félix, collected in woods, 23 Dec 1911 (fr), Pittier 5269 (holotype, US 715480, photos NY, WIS; isotypes, GH, NY).

    Description: Trees 5-15 m X 35 cm; trunk cylindric, without buttresses, branching diffuse. Bark scalloped, gray, the inner bark red. Stems ca. 3 mm diam. just below leaves, the leaves loosely grouped at ends. Stipules triangular, acute, ca 4 mm, early caducous, the scars not readily distinguishable on older twigs. Leaves: petioles 4-20 x 2 mm, subterete in cross section; blades elliptic to narrowly obovate, 10-20 x 3-8 cm, glabrous, chartaceous, the base acute, narrowly decurrent, the margins crenulate on upper half of blade to entire on lower half, the apex acuminate; secondary veins in 11-15 pairs. Inflorescences suprafoliar or axillary, flowers in bract or leaf axils, with 1 or 2 flowers, the rachis puberulous; pedicels 30 mm, winged, subtended by a single caducous bract and bearing 2 variously inserted bracteoles ca 4 x 2 mm. Flowers ca. 5 cm diam.; calyx-lobes triangular, the adaxial surface with inverted, Y-shaped thickenings (see images), 10 x 8 mm, slightly rusty-tomentose; petals 6, white, broadly oval, 40-45 mm long; androecium with fused base ca 6 mm high, the outermost filaments ca 8 mm long, the anthers 2-2.5 mm long; ovary 6-alate, 6-locular, glabrous at summit, the style 2 mm long. Fruits cylindrical, 25 x 20 mm, with 6 wings to 5 mm wide, these decurrent onto pedicel, with persistent calyx lobes. Seeds 2-3, ca. 12 mm long; funicle fleshy (from protologue).

    Common names: None recorded

    Distribution: From SW Costa Rica (Puntarenas and San José) into eastern Panama (Chiriquí)

    Ecology: An understory tree found in wet forests

    Phenology: Flowers have been collected in April, May, and June and fruits have been gathered in August, September, October, and November. Quesada Quesdada et al. (1997) state that flowers have been observed in April and June and fruits in May.

    Pollination: No pollination studies have been made on this species but the closely related Gustavia hexapetala is pollinated by bees (Mori & Boeke, 1997). The yellow center of the flower also suggests bee pollination because the location of pollination rewards in bee-pollinated Lecythidaceae is usually indicated by this color. If the pollinators are bees they are most likely buzz pollinating because the anthers open by a terminal pore.

    Dispersal: No observations have been made about the dispersal of this species. Although the protologue states that the funicle is fleshy, this has not been observed by us and, thus, needs confirmation.

    Predation: No observations recorded.

    Field characters: Gustavia brachycarpa is separated from the other species of Gustavia sect. Hexapetala by having more cylindrical fruits and more developed wings on the hypanthia that often descend onto the pedicel. Species of this section are small trees with cylindric trunks, scalloped bark, red or orange inner bark, and smaller leaves than found in most other species of Gustavia.

    Taxonomic notes: This species belongs to a group of four species with relatively small leaves for Gustavia that have been recognised as section hexapetala by Mori (Mori & Prance, 1979). This section is recognized by winged hypanthia and triangular calyx lobes that have, inverted, Y-shaped thickenings adaxially. There is also molecular support for the recognition of this section (Mori et al., 2007).

    Conservation: IUCN Red List: Not on list.

    Uses: None recorded.

    Etymology: The species epithet refers to what Pittier must have interpreted as short fruits but in fact the fruits of this species are more cylindric than the more rounded fruits of other species of Gustavia section Hexapetala.

    Source: This species page is based on Mori in Prance & Mori, 1979.

    Acknowledgements: We are grateful to R. Aguilar for allowing us to use his images to illustrate the characters of this species.

  • Floras and Monographs

    Gustavia brachycarpa Pittier: [Article] Prance, Ghillean T. & Mori, S. A. 1979. Lecythidaceae - Part I. The actinomorphic-flowered New World Lecythidaceae (Asteranthos, Gustavia, Grias, Allantoma & Cariniana). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 21: 1-270.