Tuesday, June 11, 2019

[Botany • 2019] Aiphanes suaita (Arecaceae) • A New, Overlooked Species of Aiphanes from Santander, Colombia

Aiphanes suaita R. Bernal, Sanín & Castaño

in Bernal, Castaño & Sanín, 2019.

The new species Aiphanes suaita, from the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia, is described and illustrated. Previous specimens of this species had been mistaken for Aiphanes simplex, but a molecular phylogeny revealed that it is actually more closely related to Aiphanes leiostachys, from the Central Cordillera, prompting a reexamination of the specimens. The new species differs in its solitary stem, lack of yellowish spines, pinnae strongly plicate along secondary veins, spicate inflorescences, staminate flowers with the axis perpendicular to the spike axis, and triad bracts short, with smooth margin. Based on IUCN criteria, it is categorized as Endangered.

Keywords: cryptic species, endangered species, palms, South America, Monocots

Aiphanes suaita. A. Habit ( Castaño et al.2050 ), El Carmen de Chucurí, Santander, Colombia. B. Leaf apex and infructescence. C. Detail of pinnae (Bernal et al. 4815), San José de Suaita, Santander, Colombia.

Aiphanes suaita. A. Detail of spike, with staminate flowers at anthesis. B. Immature fruits (Bernal et al. 4815 ). San José de Suaita, Santander, Colombia.

Aiphanes suaita R. Bernal, Sanín & Castaño, sp. nov.

 Diagnosis :— Aiphanes suaita resembles Aiphanes simplex in its small size, short, cuneate pinnae, and spicate inflorescence. However, it differs from that species in its solitary stem, 3 cm diam. (vs. stems densely cespitose, up to 20 per plant, 1−2 cm diam.), the dark brown spines on the leaf sheath and the petiole (vs. yellowish spines), and the arrangement of the staminate flowers on the inflorescence axis. 

Etymology :— The epithet suaita is a noun used in apposition. It is the name of the municipality where the new species was first located, the same name that the aboriginal village of the Guane Indians had at the time of the Spanish invasion (Pita Pico 2013).

Rodrigo Bernal, Felipe Castaño and  María José Sanín. 2019. A New, Overlooked Species of Aiphanes (Arecaceae) from Santander, Colombia. Phytotaxa. 405(2); 101–105. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.405.2.5


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