Friday, June 4, 2021

[Botany • 2021] Varronia teguorum (Cordiaceae) • A New Species of Varronia P. Browne from central Colombia

Varronia teguorum Fern. Alonso & J.I.M. Melo

in Alonso & de Melo, 2021.

A new species, Varronia teguorum Fern. Alonso & J.I.M. Melo (Cordiaceae), from central Colombia is described. This new taxon is compared morphologically with V. subtruncata and V. bullata, the species with which it is most easily confused. An identification key for the Varronia species with globose inflorescences from Colombia/northern South America is presented.

Keywords: Boraginaceae s.l., Boraginales, Cordia s.l., diversity, Neotropical flora, taxonomy, Eudicots

Field images of Varronia teguorum Fern. Alonso & J.I.M. Melo.
A. Apex of a young branch, showing the rusty indumentum and the tertiary and quaternary veins on the leaf adaxial surface. B. Branch with developed axillary inflorescences, showing floral buds. C. Branch with an inflorescence. D. Inflorescences with some flowers at anthesis (white corolla) and others at post-anthesis (senescent corolla), and immature fruits (red). E. Inflorescences with an open flower at a basal position, showing the senescent flowers with accrescent calyx and incurved lobes obscuring the calyx throat.
Scale bar in all cases = 15 mm long. 
Photos by J.L. Fernández-Alonso taken in the type locality, Santa María, Boyacá.

Varronia teguorum Fern. Alonso & J.I.M. Melo, sp. nov. 

This new species is similar to Varronia subtruncata and V. bullata, but it differs from these two by the presence of a rusty (vs. white to yellow) indumentum covering the stems, leaves and inflorescences, longer (1.5–2 mm vs. < 1.5 mm long) and patent (vs. patent or adpressed) hairs; oblong to ovate-oblong (vs. lanceolate to ovate), larger (7.5–13 × 4.5–7.5 cm vs. < 8.0 × 4.5 cm) leaf blades. 

Etymology:— The epithet refers to the indigenous Tegua people, who inhabited the base of the Boyacá-Casanare Mountain, bordering the Muiscas people territory (Fernández de Piedrahita 1973). The chroniclers Fray Pedro Simón and B. Fernández de Oviedo highlighted the Tegua’s longevity and their knowledge and use of medicinal plants, which was also acknowledged by the Muiscas neighbors. 

Distribution and Habitat:— Currently this species is known exclusively from a small sector in the border area of Boyacá and Cundinamarca Departments, at the base of Colombia’s Cordillera Oriental (Figure 4). It grows in very wet tropical forest and in its transition to pluvial submontane forest (5000 and 6000 mm of annual rainfall). It has been exclusively collected at the edge of forests, in exposed areas such as creek margins and road slopes on forest edges, between 500 and 1150 m elevation. Among the species restricted to this region of the mountain base are Brownea enricii Quiñones (1995: 17) (Fabaceae) and Phragmotheca mambitana Fern. Alonso & Jaramillo-Mejía (1999: 125) (Malvaceae).

Jose Luis Fernández Alonso and José Iranildo Miranda de Melo. 2021. A New Species of Varronia P. Browne (Cordiaceae) from central Colombia. Phytotaxa. 507(1); 121–130. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.507.1.8