Heliconia berguidoi R.Flores, C.Black & A. Ibanez,

Flores, Rodolfo, Black, Carla & Ibanez, Alicia, 2017, A new species of Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) with pendent inflorescence, from Chucanti Private Nature Reserve, eastern Panama, PhytoKeys 77, pp. 21-32: 23-25

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Heliconia berguidoi R.Flores, C.Black & A. Ibanez

sp. nov.

Heliconia berguidoi R.Flores, C.Black & A. Ibanez  sp. nov. Figs 2View Figure 2, 3View Figure 3, 4View Figure 4


This species is distinguished from other species of Heliconia  by the combination of the long petioles (up to 180 cm), glabrous but woolly at the base; blade splitting into narrow lateral segments; peduncle red, woolly with golden hairs, very long (125-150 cm); slightly flexuous rachis; bracts spirally arranged; pink flowers, perianth pubescent at the apex and staminode with cuspidate apex.


PANAMÁ. Provincia de Darién: Reserva privada Chucantí, Sendero al filo (roca grande). Bosque premontano. 900 m. 8°47'33.46"N, 78°27'6.72"W, 26 agosto 2006, individuo colectado por Carla Black. Floreció en cultivo el 12 de marzo de 2016, Finca las Chichicas, corregimiento de Volcán, distrito de Bugaba, Provincia de Chiriquí. Col. R. Flores, O. Ortiz y C. Black, 3855 RF (Holotype PMA!, Isotype, MO!, SEL!, UCH!, US!).


Herb with Musa  -like habit, 4.5-5 m tall, leafy shoots to 5 stems per group. Pseudostem green with brown lenticular spots, 160-180 cm tall, 6.5-7.5 cm in diameter; sheath glabrous but woolly on the margin. Leaves 4 per shoot, held more or less in horizontal position; petiole green, glabrous, woolly at the base, ca. 180 cm long, 2 cm in diameter; symmetrical blades splitting into narrow lateral segments with the base truncate, unequal, splitting into narrow lateral segments, apex acuminate, the upper surface green, midrib light green and glabrous, the lower surface light green, midrib green-reddish, glabrous, the largest blades up to 160 cm long and ca. 48 cm wide (Figures 2AView Figure 2, 4A, CView Figure 4).

Inflorescence pendent, up to 220 cm long; peduncle red, woolly with golden hairs, 125-150 cm long, 2 cm in diameter; rachis red, slightly flexuous, velutinous with golden hairs, 1.5 cm in diameter at the base (Figures 2View Figure 2, 4BView Figure 4).

Cincinnal bracts spirally arranged, ca. 25 per inflorescence, oriented ca. 120° to axis of the inflorescence, normally a sterile bract inserted in the peduncle, basal bracts separated ca. 3 cm and 1.5 cm between terminal bracts, the basal bract more elongated, outer surface pink at the base, turning red at the apex, totally velutinous with golden hairs, inner surface whitish, glabrous at the base with a few grouped hairs on both sides of the base, pink and hirsutulous with golden hairs at the margins and in the middle of the bract, ca. 12 cm long, ca. 5 cm wide at the base, l/w= 2.4 (Figures 3AView Figure 3, 4DView Figure 4).

Floral bracts persistent, 4.2-5.5 cm long, 1.5-2.6 cm wide at the base, pink, carinate, base of the abaxial surface glabrous to slightly tomentose at the apex, adaxial surface slightly tomentose at the base, inner surface glabrous (Figures 3BView Figure 3, 4FView Figure 4).

Flowers (5-)11-21 per cincinnus; pedicel pink, white at the base, pubescent, 12-20 mm long; ovary 10-11 mm long, 5 mm in diameter, lavender, glabrous; perianth 4.5-5.5 cm long, 0.6-0.8 cm in diameter, at anthesis curved 80° and sigmoid, slightly pink at the base, dark pink at the apex, glabrous except for pubescence at the apex of the perianth; free sepal reflexed, fused sepals with apices reflexed (Figures 3CView Figure 3, 4EView Figure 4); staminode 7.0-7.5 by 2.5-3.0 mm, white, fused to the perianth tube 12 mm above the base, elliptic with cuspidate apex (Figure 4GView Figure 4); stamens with anthers connivent and inside corolla apex. Drupes glabrous, bright blue 10-14 mm long, 9 mm wide.

Distribution, habitat and ecology.

Heliconia berguidoi  is endemic to the Serranía de Majé, eastern Panama. It is known only from the Chucantí Private Nature Reserve (Figure 1View Figure 1), where it inhabits premontane forest at ca. 800 m. The canopy in this area attains a height of 20-35 m; some common canopy species are Oreomunnea pterocarpa  , Ocotea  sp. nov. ined., Magnolia  sp. nov. ined., Quercus humboldtii  , Podocarpus guatemalensis  and Peltogyne purpurea  . One population of Heliconia berguidoi  has been found growing in early secondary forest regenerating from previous clearance or treefall gaps. It also appears in mature forest. Mature flowers were collected in situ in March, while ex situ the species seems to flower all year round. Mature fruits have not been collected in situ. Ex situ they appear all year round.

Conservation status.

Heliconia berguidoi  is known only from one population in the type locality, Chucantí Private Nature Reserve. Human activities such as agriculture, cattle ranching and logging are the main threats to other populations of this species that probably exist in the forests around the reserve. These areas belong to farmers engaged in the activities mentioned above or else are public lands prone to colonization. Because of the restricted area of occupancy (AOO) estimated at 4 sq. km, and the severe threats, we consider that Heliconia berguidoi  fits the category of Critically Endangered [CR B2ab (ii, iii, iv)] of the IUCN Red List and criteria ( IUCN 2012).


The specific epithet, berguidoi  , honors the Panamanian biologist Guido Cesar Berguido F., who first brought national attention to Cerro Chucantí after witnessing not only its natural splendor, but the rampant ongoing deforestation. He mustered support from family and friends to purchase a property and set it aside for conservation before the previous owners could burn the forest to ashes. He received further private support and acquired more lands to create the Chucantí Private Nature Reserve. Mr. Berguido continues to invite fellow biologists to study the flora and fauna of Cerro Chucantí, which has resulted in the discovery of various species new to science. He recently founded the Asociación Adopta el Bosque Panamá, Adopt a Panama Rainforest, ADOPTA (www.chucanti.org) to further his conservation mission. It is an honor to thus recognize Mr. Berguido´s contributions to increased biological knowledge and his great efforts to conserve the unique forests of Cerro Chucantí. His generous logistical assistance to the authors was invaluable.


PANAMÁ. Provincia de Darién. Cerro Chucantí, 800 m, 8°47'15.84"N, 78°27'13.57"W, 3 marzo 2011, fl., R. Flores & K. Morales. 595 RF ( PMA!).