Virola tuckerae D. Santam. & Lagom., 2022

Santamaria-Aguilar, Daniel & Lagomarsino, Laura P., 2022, New Species of Virola (Myristicaceae) from South America, PhytoKeys 197, pp. 81-148 : 81

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Virola tuckerae D. Santam. & Lagom.

sp. nov.

9. Virola tuckerae D. Santam. & Lagom. sp. nov.


Colombia. Antioquia: Las Orquídeas, Vereda Calles, Parque Nacional Natural Las Orquideas , Quebrada Honda , filo al NW de La Cabana Calles , Parcela W, subparcelas W 8-W 9, 1300 m, 06°29'N, 076°14'W, 11 Dec 1992 (♂ fl), J. Pipoly, Á. Cogollo, D. Cádenas, M. Villa, O. Alvarez, L. Velez 16962 (holotype: MO! [accession 05011143, barcode MO-2657528], isotypes: not seen). Fig. 16 View Figure 16 GoogleMaps


Virola tuckerae is similar to V. cogolloi in share similar distributions, leaf blades that are densely pubescent abaxially. Morphologically, it differs in having staminate flowers with long filament column (1.2-1.4 mm long vs. 1.1-1.2 mm), fruits with an inconspicuous layer and persistent trichomes (conspicuous layer of trichomes, caducous, that fall like dust). Virola tuckerae previously confused with V. sebifera . It differs from these by the staminate flowers with perianth internally densely pubescent (vs. glabrous or almost glabrous), long staminal column (0.6-0.7 [-0.9] mm long vs. 0.2-0.6 mm), and large fruits (2.7 × 2.5 cm vs. 1-1.9 [-2.1]).

Tree (12-) 18-30 m × 17-30.1 cm diameter, inner bark not described. Exudate red, location of exudate on plant not stated, or in the fruit hyaline and oxidizing red. Twigs 0.21-0.37 cm thick, terete or slightly compressed, tomentose, trichomes dendritic, sessile, ferruginous, without lenticels or lenticels very small and scattered. Leaves young terminal bud 1.2-2 × 0.24-0.31 cm; petiole 1.1-1.7 (-2) × 0.23-0.35 (-0.5) cm, slightly canaliculate, not winged or slightly winged (J. Pipoly et al. 16805), tomentose, the trichomes dendritic; leaf blades 21-29.5 (-33.5) × 5-7.2 (-11.7) cm, narrowly oblong or rarely elliptical; adaxial surface when drying on mature leaves brown to blackish brown, the surface smooth, sometimes shiny, glabrous; abaxial surface when drying pale brown to grayish brown, densely pubescent, the trichomes stellate, ca. 0.1 mm diameter, sessile, the central part of the trichome pale reddish, sometimes a little darker, the branches pale reddish and not contrasting much in color with the central part of the trichome; lateral veins 16-19 per side, 3-4 (-6) veins per 5 cm, spaced 1.1-1.8 (-2.1) cm, on adaxial side, the same color as the adaxial surface or slightly darker, flat to slightly raised, on abaxial surface blackish to brown reddish, raised, puberulent to glabrescent above, densely pubescent to the sides, arcuate-ascending distally, slightly anastomosing near the margin and without forming a marked intramarginal vein; tertiary veins very slightly visible on both sides, but especially above; midvein adaxially flat to slightly elevated, abaxially raised, rounded, tomentose to puberulent, more pubescent to the sides; base cuneate, not revolute, flat; margin flat; apex acute. Staminate inflorescence 5-9.5 cm long, axes flattened, tomentose, trichomes dendritic, ferruginous; peduncle 0.6-1.8 (-2.8) × 0.2-0.38 cm; main axes with (3-) 5-9 (-12) ramifications, the first pair opposite to subopposite, the others alternate; bracts not seen. Staminate flowers (in bud) in dense terminal fascicles of 9-20 flowers, on a receptacle 2-3 mm wide; perianth 3.5-5 mm long, oblong, fleshy, ferruginous when fresh (probably by the trichomes), connate to 1.5-2.5 mm in length, external surface densely pubescent with ferruginous and dendritic trichomes, internal surface densely pubescent (especially in the lobes); lobes 3, 2-2.5 × 1.2-1.7 mm, and 0.2-0.5 mm thick, without resinous punctuations when rehydrate); stamens 3, the filament column 0.6-0.7 (-0.9) mm long and 0.2 mm wide, glabrous, straight or sometimes a little wider at the base, not constricted at the apex; anthers 1.2-1.6 mm long, and 0.2-0.4 mm wide; apiculus 0.1-0.2 mm long, acuminate, slightly separated or connate. Pistillate inflorescence and flowers unknown. Infructescence unknown. Fruit 2.7 × 2.5 cm (only one seen, and that immature; Á. Cogollo et al. 4147), when fresh green and covered with brown trichomes, globose, densely tomentose, the trichomes dendritic (ca. 0.1-0.2 mm long), sessile, ferruginous, that fall as easily as dust, the surface probably smooth, the line of dehiscence slightly carinate, the base and the apex obtuse; pericarp ca. 2.4 mm thick; pedicel unknown. Seed length unknown × ca. 1.4 cm, the testa brown when dry, slightly ribbed distally; aril color not described when fresh, blackish when dry, the texture dry and thin, laciniate almost to the base, in narrow bands distally.

Distinctive characters.

Virola tuckerae can be recognized by its narrow, oblong leaves with relatively close lateral veins (3-4 [-6] veins per 5 cm) and a cuneate base; its short-pedunculate staminate inflorescence with flowers organized in dense fascicles; its staminate flowers with fleshy perianth that is densely pubescent on both sides and a straight filament column that is shorter (0.6-0.7 [-0.9]) mm long) than the anthers (1.2-1.6 mm long); and its globe fruit that is densely tomentose with dendritic and ferruginous trichomes that fall like dust (Fig. 6N View Figure 6 ). Like other species described here, the new species is covered with stellate and sessile trichomes on the abaxial side of the leaf blades.


It is a pleasure to name a species of Virola in honor of Dr. Shirley Cotter Tucker, a botanist, lichenologist, and Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University (LSU). Despite many challenges she faced as a woman in science, Shirley has had an illustrious career marked by many honors, including a Boyd Professorship, the most prestigious academic rank granted at LSU to internationally renowned scholars. Shirley is an important leader in botany, and served as president of two of the USA’s most prominent botanical societies, the Botanical Society of America and the American Society of Plant Taxonomists. Shirley’s intellectual contributions to botany are lasting, providing the foundation framework from which current research on floral morphology and evolution builds. Much of Shirley’s academic research (which includes more than 100 published articles) has focused on floral morphology and anatomy, especially of legumes and magnoliids- including studies within Myristicaceae ( Armstrong and Tucker 1986), making it particularly special to name a species of Virola in her honor. She maintains her passion for lichens into retirement, and actively curates loans of lichen specimens from her home in Santa Barbara, California. The generous philanthropy of Shirley and her late husband, Kenneth Tucker, have greatly benefitted the botanical community. At LSU, where two of the authors work, donations from the Tucker family established the Shirley C. Tucker Endowed Chair in Plant Systematics. The LSU herbarium is named in her honor.


Virola tuckerae is only know from Antioquia, Colombia (Fig. 18A View Figure 18 ). It has been collected in premontane wet forest at 1300-1420 m elevation.


Virola tuckerae was collected with flowers in December and fruit specimens collected in February. Pistillate flowers were not seen in the studied material.

Common name and uses.

Sebo cordillero (Colombia; Á. Cogollo et al. 4147).

Preliminary conservation status.

Virola tuckerae is Endangered following IUCN criterion B2a. Justifying this status, it is known from two localities and has an AOO of 4 km2. While V. tuckerae benefits from its occurrence within Las Orquídeas National Park, this region (including within the national park) is still vulnerable to deforestation to expand human activities, including agriculture and livestock grazing ( Pedraza-Peñalosa 2015; González-Caro and Vásquez 2017).


All the studied specimens with flowers of Virola tuckerae were previously identified as V. sebifera , a species that is widely distributed from Central to South America. While V. sebifera has variable leaf morphology (i.e., shape, base, apex), it differs from V. tuckerae in its long staminate inflorescences (8-23 cm long vs. 5-9.5 cm long), internally glabrous or almost glabrous perianth (vs. densely pubescent), shorter staminal column (0.2-0.6 mm vs. 0.6-0.7 [-0.9] mm long), and smaller fruits (1-1.9 [-2.1] × 0.7-1.4 [-1.7] cm vs. 2.7 × 2.5 cm) that are usually covered by the dense and thick layer of trichomes. While the type of abaxial leaf pubescence is variable in V. sebifera , dendritic, pediculate trichomes are common (vs. stellate, sessile trichomes). Further, V. sebifera usually occurs at lower elevations.

Virola tuckerae shares similarities with V. yasuniana , including its leaf shape, sessile, stellate trichomes on the abaxial leaf surface, and the color of dried herbarium specimens. Virola yasuniana is a species primarily from the lowlands of Ecuador (200-480 [1000] m elevations) that is formally described below. However, V. tuckerae differs from it in its densely pubescent abaxial leaf surface (vs. sparsely pubescent to glabrescent in V. yasuniana ) (Fig. 4N, O View Figure 4 ), staminate flowers with perianth that is densely pubescent internally (vs. moderately pubescent) and long anthers (1.2-1.6 mm vs. 0.5-0.6 mm long), and densely pubescent fruits (vs. puberulent).

Finally, Virola tuckerae and V. cogolloi , grow closely in the same region (Urrao, sector Calles, Colombia); the differences and similarities between these species are discussed under V. cogolloi .


As mentioned above, collections with flower have been previously identified as V. sebifera . The specimen with fruit ( Á. Cogollo et al. 4147) was previously identified as V. elongata . Duplicates may have been distributed under these names.

Specimens examined.

Colombia. Antioquia: Parque Nacional Natural Las Orquídeas, Margen derecha del Rio Calles y de la qubrada "El Guaguo", 06°32'N, 076°19'W, 1390-1420 m, 12 Feb 1989 (fr), Á. Cogollo et al. 3924 (COL!); Urrao , Parque Nacional Natural Las Orquideas , Margen derecha del Rio Calles , 06°32'N, 076°19'W, 1300 m, 21 Feb 1989 (fr), Á. Cogollo et al. 4147 (COL!, MO!); Urrao , Parque Nacional Natural Las Orquideas , Vereda Calles Quebrada Honda , filo NW de La Cabaña Calles, 06°29'N, 076°14'W, 1330 m, 8 Dec 1992 (♂ fl), J. Pipoly et al. 16797 (MO!, NY!); ibid., 8 Dec 1992 (♂ fl), J. Pipoly et al. 16805 (MO!, NY!); Las Orquídeas, Vereda Calles, filo NW de La Cabaña Calles, 06°29'N, 076°14'W, 1330 m, 10 Dec 1992 (♂ fl), J. Pipoly et al. 16881 (MO!, NY!); ibid., 10 Dec 1992 (♂ fl), J. Pipoly et al. 16888 (MO!) GoogleMaps .