Eschweilera podoaquilae Cornejo, 2023

Cornejo, Xavier, 2023, Eschweilera podoaquilae: A new species of Lecythidaceae from northwestern Ecuador, Phytotaxa 579 (2), pp. 139-142 : 139-141

publication ID 10.11646/phytotaxa.579.2.8


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scientific name

Eschweilera podoaquilae Cornejo

sp. nov.

Eschweilera podoaquilae Cornejo , sp. nov. ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 )

New species of Eschweilera , similar to E. rimbachii Standl. , E. pachyderma Cuatrec. , and E. awaensis Mori & Cornejo , but differs from all those species by the irregularly and transversely sulcate and tuberculate thick pedicels, the tuberculate hypanthium, and the densely verruculose sepals.

Type: — ECUADOR. Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas: Centinela , área norte de las montañas de Ila, Parroquia El Esfuerzo, comuna Polanco, Cascadas Las Rocas, 0°28’S, 79°11’W, 560 m, 20 Mar 2022 (fl), X. Cornejo, J. L. Clark & C. Restrepo 10032 (holotype: GUAY!, isotype QCA!) GoogleMaps .

Tree to 25 m tall and 60 cm DBH, the branches ± horizontal, the bark richly lenticellate, the trunk with low, thick, poorly developed buttresses. Young branches glabrous, abundantly lenticellate. Leaves: shortly petiolate, the petioles slightly rimulose, shallowly channeled adaxially, rounded abaxially, hemispherical in cross section, 20–25 × 6–7 mm (fresh), glabrous; blades mostly oblong-elliptic, sometimes lanceolate-elliptic, 35–70 × 11–20 cm, chartaceous, with abundant black punctations abaxially, the base usually obtuse to truncate, occasionally cuneate, the margins entire, the apex acuminate to shortly caudate; venation brochidodromous, the midrib prominent adaxially, markedly salient abaxially, glabrous, the secondary veins in 30–60 pairs, slightly prominent adaxially, salient abaxially, intersecondaries present, the marginal vein conspicuous, the tertiary veins reticulate. Inflorescences terminal, axillary and ramiflorous, unbranched to paniculate, the rachis 4–25 cm long, stout, erect to suberect, glabrous, lenticellate; pedicels 7–13 × 4–7 mm (fresh), transversely sulcate, tuberculate and lenticellate, glabrous, grayish-brown to purplish or purple (fresh); flower buds purplish-black (fresh). Floral bracts absent from flower buds. Flowers ca. 7.5 cm diam. (fresh), ca. 5 cm diam. (dry); hypanthium tuberculate and lenticellate, glabrous; calyx with 6 lobes, the lobes ovate to triangular, 4–6 × ca. 5 mm (fresh), ascendant at anthesis, densely lenticellate-verruculose and purple (fresh) abaxially, the bases valvate, arising from fused calyx rim; petals 6, obovate to broadly obovate, 2.5–3.5 × 1.5–2 cm, pink; androecial hood with three coils, ca. 2.5 cm across, pink (fresh); vestigial stamens on outside of coils; staminal ring with ca. 200 stamens, the filaments 1.5–2 mm long (fresh), clavate, the anthers 0.5–0.7 mm long (fresh); ovary 2-locular, the summit flat, the ovules pendulous, the style ca. 4 × 1.7 mm, stout, distinguished from ovary summit, the stylar collar absent. Fruits and seeds not seen. Old operculum collected from ground, ca. 13 cm in diam.

Discussion: — Eschweilera podoaquilae resembles E. rimbachii and E. pachyderma but the irregularly and transversely sulcate thick pedicels, the tuberculate hypanthium, and the densely verruculose sepals are not a feature of either of these species ( Mori et al. 2015). The fruit at maturity reaches ca. 20 cm diam. (com. pers. in the field), that is among the largest fruits of any Eschweilera s.l. in the Neotropics (op. cit.).

Etymology: —The epithet refers to the irregularly and transversely sulcate and tuberculate thick pedicels, the tuberculate hypanthium, and the densely verruculose sepals that resemble an eagle or rapax bird foot.

Common names: —Unknown.

Habitat and distribution: —A medium size to subcanopy tree of extra Andean premontane wet forests, on welldrained soils, at southernmost Choco biogeographic region. Known only from northwestern Ecuador in the Centinela area at north of montañas de Ila and in Bilsa Biological Station, from 400–600 m elevation.

Phenology: — Flowers have been collected from March to May.

Conservation status: — Eschweilera podoaquilae is known from two localities in the provinces of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas and Esmeraldas, both separated ca. 110 km from each other in northwestern Ecuador. As the area of occupancy of the species is less than 5.000 km 2 with up to five populations seen in the field and due to the steady deforestation in the region transforming forests in pastures ( Dodson & Gentry 1991, Pitman et al. 2022; pers. obs.), it is suggested that this new species be assigned as Endangered (EN) following the IUCN criteria B2 ab(iii) ( IUCN, 2022).

Surprisingly, Eschweilera podoaquilae is one of those species that were not collected or recorded by Calaway Dodson and Alwyn Gentry during their fieldwork for the flora of Centinela ( Dodson & Gentry 1991). This case, similar to that of Amyris centinelensis Cornejo (2009:161 , Rutaceae ), that to the present is known only by the type gathered by D. Rubio and W. Alverson from Centinela remnants in 1990; and the recently discovered Epidendrum monicarmasiae Cornejo & Hágsater (2022:1956, Orchidaceae ), known only by the type, and also missed by Dodson and Gentry, plus two yet unpublished new species of Gesneriaceae (J.L. Clark, pers. com.), all found for first time in 2022 from montañas de Ila and environs in Centinela, strongly suggest that an indeterminate number of species could have been driven to extinction due to the massive and steady deforestation without being collected, and confirms that many native and endangered species still survives there, e.g. Gasteranthus extinctus L. E. Skog & L.P. Kvist (2000: 65, Pitman et al. 2022, obs. pers.). Therefore, further exploration, additional collection efforts, and urgent programs of conservation and management including Eschweilera podoaquilae , the aforementioned species, and others endangered in similar condition from the very fragmented remnants of native vegetation of Centinela are needed.

Paratypes: — ECUADOR. Esmeraldas: Bilsa Biological Station, Mache mountains , 35 km W of Quinindé, premontane wet forest, mature forest along rana roja trail, 79°44’W 0°21’N, 400–600 m, 5 May 1995 (fl), J GoogleMaps . L. Clark & C. Watt 799 ( MO!, NY!, QCNE!, US [2]!) GoogleMaps ; Río Ducha, 79°44’W 0°21’N, ca. 500 m, 16 Oct 2009 (old fr), X. Cornejo & A. Macías 8170 ( GUAY!, MO!, NY!) GoogleMaps .


Universidad de Guayaquil


Naturhistorisches Museum Wien


University of the Witwatersrand


Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, Leiden University branch


University of Copenhagen


Missouri Botanical Garden


William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden


Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales


Harvard University - Arnold Arboretum

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