Monday, January 9, 2017

[Botany • 2017] Espeletia praesidentis • A New Species of Espeletiinae (Millerieae, Asteraceae) from northeastern Colombia


Espeletia praesidentis  Diazgr. & L.R.Sánchez

Figure 1. Espeletia praesidentis: A habitat, showing a large population B holotype collection (M. Diazgranados & L.R. Sánchez 3865), with stemmed rosette habit and very long capitulescences C frontal view of capitulum D dorsal view of capitulum.

Abstract
A new species of Espeletia from the Páramo de Presidente in northeastern Colombia is described. The species is named Espeletia praesidentis after the name of the páramo, and it is dedicated to the President Juan Manuel Santos, for his persistent efforts in working for peace for Colombia. The new species is closely related to Espeletia dugandii, but differs in the shape and colour of the leaves and arrangements of the capitulescences. A large population was found, but its total extension is yet to be determine.

Keywords: Colombia, Compositae, Espeletiinae, Espeletia, frailejón, Millerieae, Norte de Santander, Santander, páramos, Presidente

Taxonomy

Espeletia praesidentis Diazgr. & L.R.Sánchez, sp. nov.

 Type: COLOMBIA, Norte de Santander, Páramo de Presidente. En vía a Chitagá, llegando al páramo. En frailejonal-pajonal típico. Muy abundante. Caulirrósula. Alt. tot.: 0.8 m; alt. de la roseta: 0.4 m; inflorescencias: 2 maduras y 4 secas, con escapo desnudo, con 3–5 capítulos, cada uno de 2.1 cm de diámetro; hojas más angostas que otros individuos simpátricos. Alt. 3503 m, -72°40.8828'W, 6°59.8362'N. 3 Oct. 2009, M. Diazgranados & L.R. Sánchez 3865 (holotype: COL; isotypes: HECASA and to be distributed).

Diagnosis: Caulescent rosette of yellowish-whitish appearance, with leaf laminae linear or linear-obovate, naked scapes with long peduncles and 3(–5) capitula, small in diameter, disc paleae oblong, oblanceolate or narrowly obtrullate, very short yellow ray flowers, and lobes of disc corollas with hairs. Similar to E. dugandii, but more yellowish, with much linear and narrower leaf laminae, much longer peduncles, smaller capitula and ray flowers, and disc corolla lobes with more hairs.

Description: Caulescent polycarpic rosette of yellowish-whitish appearance (not cinereous), 0.8–1.5 m tall (including capitulescences), growing in grassland of páramo proper. Excluding reproductive parts, rosette 40–60 cm in diameter, on stems 0–40 cm tall (Fig. 1 A–B).


Figure 4. Comparison of similar Espeletia species.
 A E. brassicoidea B E. canescens C E. conglomerata D E. dugandii E E. praesidentis F E. standleyana G E. steyermarkii. The hygrophilous and always monocephalous E. estanislana was not included because of its very distinctive morphology. Above: plant habit; below: adult leaves with sheaths, and complete capitulescences. 

Figure 6. Distribution map showing the collection locality for Espeletia praesidentis (red circle), and collections of other Espeletia species found in the area: E. brassicoidea (green circles), E. canescens (orange squares), E. conglomerata (blue squares), E. standleyana (yellow triangles) and E. steyermarkii (pink pentagons). Topographic map from Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), HERE, DeLorme, TomTom, Intermap, Increment P Corp., General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), United States Geological Survey (USGS), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), National Park Service (NPS), Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), GeoBase, Institut Géographique National (IGN), Kadaster NL, Ordnance Survey, Esri Japan, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI), Esri China (Hong Kong), Swisstopo, MapmyIndia, © OpenStreetMap contributors, and the GIS User Community. 

Distribution: Endemic to Colombia. This species has been found only in the Páramo de Presidente (part of the great Páramo de Almorzadero), at elevations of 3400–3600 m (Fig. 6). The known area of distribution is about 2 sq.km.

Ecology: A large population of several hundreds of individuals growing in the grasslands of the páramo proper was observed (Fig. 1, 6). Other Espeletia species found in the area are: Espeletia brassicoidea Cuatrec., E. canescens A.C.Sm., E. conglomerata A. C. Sm., E. dugandii Cuatrec., E. standleyana A. C. Sm., and E. steyermarkii Cuatrec. (Fig. 6). E praesidentis can be found in slightly humid plains and on relatively drained slopes.

Etymology: The specific epithet of this new species, “praesidentis”, taken from the locality where the species is found, is dedicated also to the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, for his persistent efforts to achieve peace with the guerillas FARC in Colombia, after 52 years of conflict. The Páramo de Presidente has been one of those places that has been closed to researchers for decades. With the peace agreement this and other places will be open for fruitful botanical explorations during the post-conflict times in Colombia. May this publication inspire the President to continue with further actions for the preservation of Colombian biodiversity.

Conservation status: Despite seeing a relatively large population, this páramo area is not under any sort of protection, and there are signs of grazing activity. Also, very close there are extensive potato plantations in areas that were covered by páramo vegetation in the past. This combination of elements suggests that the species is probably Critically Endangered (CR, according to the IUCN criteria: extent of occurrence estimated to be less than 100 sq.km., habitat fragmentation, and likely decline of the extent of the páramo; http://jr.iucnredlist.org/documents/redlist_cats_crit_en.pdf), or Critically Imperiled (G1, according to NatureServe; http://www.natureserve.org/explorer/ranking.htm).


    Mauricio Diazgranados and Luis Roberto Sánchez. 2017. Espeletia praesidentis, A New Species of Espeletiinae (Millerieae, Asteraceae) from northeastern Colombia.
PhytoKeys. 76; 1-12. DOI: 10.3897/phytokeys.76.11220

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