Curarea tecunarum Barneby & Krukoff

Ortiz, Rosa del C., 2018, A taxonomic revision of Curarea Barneby & Krukoff (Menispermaceae), PhytoKeys 100, pp. 9-89: 43-45

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Curarea tecunarum Barneby & Krukoff


7. Curarea tecunarum Barneby & Krukoff  Figs 22, 23

Curarea tecunarum  Barneby & Krukoff, Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 22(2): 12. 1971. Type: Brazil. Amazonas: Basin of Rio Solimões, Municipality São Paulo de Olivença, basin of creek Belem, 26 Oct– 11 Dec 1936, (♂ fl), Krukoff 8713 (holotype: NY!; isotypes: BM!, BR!, F!, MO!, U!, US!).


Large canopy lianas about 20-30 m tall; older stems, 5-15 cm wide, strongly flattened; bark dark brown, with shallow lengthwise fissures; branchlets brown to creamy villous. Leaves: blades 9-30 × 7-20 cm, ovate to broadly ovate; chartaceous to subcoriaceous when mature or when directly exposed to sunlight, base truncate, obtuse or shallowly cordate, margin entire, apex acuminate to retuse (cleft in Krukoff 8713), cuspidate when juvenile; surfaces conspicuously discolorous, lustrous and glabrous adaxially, coarsely cream to silvery tomentulose abaxially, matted when older, indumentum concealing the abaxial surface at all stages, (5 –)7– 9 palmati- or plinerved, innermost pair of main veins acrodromous perfect on mature leaves, acrodromous imperfect on juvenile ones, midrib and lateral nerves slightly impressed adaxially, conspicuously raised abaxially, secondary veins 1-2 pairs, arising above the middle of the blade, sometimes absent, veinlets immersed adaxially, raised abaxially; petioles 4.7-21 cm long, smooth, densely creamy or brownish villous to glabrate, apical pulvinus more conspicuous, rugose, weakly flattened adaxially. Staminate inflorescences solitary or fasciculate, axillary or slightly supra-axillary, thyrsi (Fig. 22 A–B), densely brownish or greyish tomentellous; axes 5.7-19 cm long; primary branches 1.1-3.5 cm long, lax, with several (3-6) cymose orders of branching, higher order branching frequently reduced; flowers frequently sessile at the centre of the irregularly further dichotomous branchings; bracts 0.7-1.1 mm long, narrowly ovate, concave, fleshy, glabrous adaxially, brown tomentellous abaxially. Pistillate inflorescences solitary or fascicled, axillary stout thyrsi (Fig. 23B), with dichasial primary branches or these less frequently reduced to single flowers and hence appearing racemiform, densely light brown or greyish tomentellous; axes ca. 5 cm long; bracts ca. 2 mm long, ovate, concave, fleshy, indumentum as on inflorescence. Staminate flowers, 1.2-1.7 mm long, green; pedicels (0 –)0.3– 3.3 mm long, thick, terete, indumentum as on staminate inflorescence; bracteoles 1-2, 0.2-0.4 × 0.1-0.3 mm, narrowly ovate, fleshy, glabrous adaxially, light brown or creamy tomentellous abaxially; sepals 6; outer sepals 0.4-0.9 × 0.3-0.7 mm, ovate or oblong, indumentum as on bracteoles, base truncate, apex acute; inner sepals 1.1-1.9 × 1-1.7 mm, obovate or ovate-rhombic, mostly light brown or greyish tomentellous abaxially, obtuse at base, apex obtuse or rounded, tip of inner sepals erect or spreading, less frequently reflexed past anthesis; petals 6, 0.4-0.8 × 0.2-0.6 mm, inner ones slightly shorter and narrower, obovate-trilobed or rhombic, weakly concave, membranous, glabrous adaxially and abaxially, base cuneate-truncate, lateral margins inflexed, partially clasping the filaments, apex obtuse, truncate or retuse; stamens 6; filaments 0.2-0.5 mm long, clavate, thick, free or shortly connate at base, glabrous; anthers 0.2-0.3 mm long, erect, connective thicker adaxially forming a keel (Fig. 22 G–H), not overgrowing thecae apically. Pistillate flowers ca. 1.6 mm long, brownish; pedicels ca. (0-)1.7 mm long; terete, indumentum as on pistillate inflorescence; bracteoles 3, ca. 0.4 × 0.2 mm, oblong or ovate, fleshy, glabrous adaxially, brownish tomentellous abaxially; sepals 6, weakly concave, fleshy, indumentum as on bracteoles; outer sepals ca. 0.5 × 0.3 mm, ovate or oblong; inner sepals ca. 1.5 × 0.9 mm, obovate tips erect to reflexed past anthesis; petals 3(4), ca. 0.9 × 0.6 mm, opposed to and/or alternating with the carpels, spatulate, weakly concave, membranous, glabrous adaxially, glabrous to sparsely light brown tomentellous abaxially, clawed at base, apex acute to retuse; carpels 3(4), ca. 0.6 × 0.5 mm, brown tomentose; style ca. 0.4 mm long. Infructescences axes ca. 4 (-6) × 0.3-0.4 cm, indumentum as on inflorescences; fruiting pedicels inconspicuous; carpophores ca. 2.7 × 4.3 mm, subglobose (seen in immature fruits only), brownish to creamy villose. Drupelets ca. 2.9 × 2 cm, ellipsoid to oblongoid (Fig. 23G), conspicuously eccentrically attached, base obtuse, stylar scar not apparent; exocarp 1.8-1.9 mm thick, surface rugose, brownish villous, granular when dried; mesocarp thin and mucilaginous; endocarp 2-2.5 × 1.1-1.5 cm, papyraceous, surface smooth. Seeds with embryo 4-6 cm long, cotyledons slightly unequal.

Distribution and ecology.

Lowland Amazonia in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru (Fig. 21 -fertile and only a few sterile ones are mapped), at elevations of 120-300 m (550 m in Bagua, based on Vásquez et al. 19467, a sterile collection from Bagua, in Peru, here identified tentatively) in tropical wet forest. It is also expected in the eastern lowlands of Ecuador (see below). Staminate flowering specimens were collected in February, July and September–November; the only pistillate flowering specimen was collected in November and fruiting specimens were collected in February and March.

Common names and uses

(sterile specimens are indicated as st). Brazil: component of curare made by Tecuna Indians, “atinupa” ( Krukoff and Smith 1937, Krukoff and Moldenke 1938, Macbride 1938), (Krukoff 7535, st; Krukoff 7578, ♂ fl buds); as ingredient of arrow and dart poison, “bicava” (Prance et al. 13931, st); as ingredient of Jamamadi Indian arrow poison “bicafo” (Campbell et al. P21256, st); as a contraceptive by the Deni Indians, “beku” (Prance et al. 16453, st). Colombia: “taufe-lleida” (Huitoto) ( Díaz 10, st); "arrow poison" (Naranjo & Wiederhold 16, st); as curare (Pinkley 392, st); "awa puh", as ingredient of arrow poison (Bara maku), (Silverwood-Cope 23, st). Ecuador: “oonta”, to make dart poison (Davis & Yost 943, st); “ontame”, hunting, (Huaorani), (Freire & Naranjo 685, st); “oonta”, used to make blowgun dart poison, (Huaorani), (King et al. 972, 977, st); “palahuasca”, as ingredient of curare (Quichua) (Lewis et al. 13848, st); “largancho” (Moya & Reyes 274, st); “zapepa”, employed in arrow poison (Naranjo 7, st); “ontame”, hunting (Huaorani) Naranjo & Freire 363, st); “unta”, hunting (Huaorani) (Naranjo & Freire 635, st); as curare (Pinkley 285, st). Peru: "abuta, abote", used as vermifugue ( Huamán et al. 417, st); “tseás” as ingredient of curare (Mayna Jívaro) (Lewis et al. 10224, st); “macháp” (Mayna Jívaro) (Lewis et al. 10425, st); “machaap”, as main ingredient of curare (Achual Jívaro) (Lewis et al. 11759, st); “macháp” (Achuar Jívaro), "nakaapur, papur" (Achuar Jívaro), medicinal, to treat leishmaniasis lesions, also as ingredient of curare (Lewis et al. 14349, st); “abuta”, to prepare poison for hunting (Martin & Lau-Cam 1204, st); "abuta hembra" (Martin & Lau-Cam 1273, st); "abuta hembra (Mathias & Taylor 3555, st); “abuta” (Mathias & Taylor 5004, 5010, st); "abuta amarilla" (Rimachi 11394, ♂ fl); "abuta ancho" (Schunke 5848, 5849, 5850, and 5851, all st); "abuta amarilla" (Tina & Oliveira 2343, st); "medicinal, ( Vásquez 16803, st); "abuta negra" (Woytkowski 5336, st); “ampi” (Woytkowski 5354, 5355, st).


In reference to the Tecuna Indians who used the plant as a source of curare ( Barneby and Krukoff 1971),


Specimens from Brazil (Prance et al. 13991 and Campbell et al. P21256) were previously identified as C. toxicofera  . Likewise, the common name of “atinupa” attributed to Chondrodendron polyanthum  or to Chondrodendron toxicoferum  (= Curarea toxicofera  ) ( Krukoff and Smith 1937, Krukoff and Moldenke 1938, Macbride 1938, Barneby and Krukoff 1971) are here confirmed to refer to Curarea tecunarum  .

Conservation status.

The 14 collections evaluated correspond to 11 localities and yielded an Extent of occurrence (EOO) of 712,212 km2 and an Area of Occupancy (AOO) of 44 km2. The 11 localities, represent 11 subpopulations and 9 locations, four are found within protected areas (one in Parque Nacional Natural Amacayacu and another in Parque Nacional Cahuinarí, both in Colombia and two in Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve in Peru). Additionally, one was found in private lands in Peru. Based on several sterile specimens that are here assigned tentatively (and were not mapped nor included in the conservation assessment), the species appears to be distributed across the Amazon basin, hence the estimated AOO may be greater than that reported here. Therefore C. tecunarum  is assigned a preliminary status of "Least Concern" (LC).


Laxly multi-branched staminate inflorescences covered with brownish or creamy tomentellous indumentum and flowers that are usually sessile on irregular higher order branches are unique to C. tecunarum  . The species shares with C. barnebyana  and C. crassa  a tomentellous indumentum on the abaxial leaf surface as well as subglobose carpophores, but the latter two have staminate inflorescences with condensed/contracted primary branches. These species also share some anatomical features (Table 5; discussion of C. crassa  ).

Selected specimens examined.

BRAZIL. Acre: Sena Madureira, Floresta Estadual do Antymari, ramal do Ouro, ca./abbrev> 30 km da sede Úirapuro (Servicio Florestal), 09°19'47"S; 68°18'12"W, 9 Mar 13, (mat fr), Medeiros et al. 1091 (NY!). Amazonas: Igarapé Curucuhy, São Gabriel, 27 Nov 1945, (♀ fl), Fróes 21446 (F!, IAN!, NY!); Munic. São Paulo de Olivença, ibid., near Palmares, 11 Sept 1936-26 Oct 1936, (♂ fl), Krukoff 8370 (A!, BM!, BR!, F [2]!, G!, MO!, NY!, U!). Rio de Janeiro: Cultivated in Rio de Janeiro, no specific locality (st), Glaziou 9610 (P [2]!-a duplicate at F! as “9610” instead = C. toxicofera  . Rondônia: Rodovia, Alvorada-Costa Marques, km 90, colectado no transectum, mata de terra firme, solo areno-argiloso, 2 Jul 1983, (♂ fl), Silva 6538 (IAN!, MG!, RB-2!); Margen direita do Río Pacáas Novos, entre a 1ra e 2da cachoeira, mata de várzea, 20 Mar 1978, (imm fr), Ubiratan et al. 218 (GH!, MO!, NY!).

COLOMBIA. Amazonas: La Pedrera, Inspección de Santa Isabel, Parque Nacional Natural Cahuinarí, Estación Biológica Puerto Barbados; várzea (rebalse alta) sobre suelos lateríticos, dominada por Astrocaryum  , 01°28'S; 070°46'W, 300 m, 29 Nov 1990, (♂ fl), Pipoly et al. 12846 (MO!, NY!). Comisaría del Putumayo: Between Río San Miguel and Río Guamués, Aug 1963, (st), Naranjo 7 (AMES!). Vaupés: Right tributary of Rio Macu-Parana, 1-8 Jun 1970, (st), Silverwood-Cope 23 (AMES!).

ECUADOR. Napo: Confluence of Quiwado and Tiwaeno Rivers, 13 Apr 1981, (st), Davis & Yost 943 (AMES!). Orellana: Loreto, Reserva Étnica Huaorani, Comunidad Miwaguno a 140 km al. sur del Coca, vía al. Pindo, bloque 14 (ENCAN), Río Shiripuno, 00°43'32S; 076°43'36"W, 250 m, 9 May 2004, (st), Freire & Naranjo 685 (MO!, QCNE n.v.). Pastaza: Kapawí (Amuntai), Río Pastaza, village area, secondary and primary forests and pastures, 02°31'S; 076°48'W, 235 m, 25-29 July 1989, (st), Lewis et al. 13848 (MO!).

PERU. Amazonas: Bagua, Distrito Imaza, Región del Marañon, Comunidad de Yamayakat, Quebrada Kusu-Chapi, Río Marañon, 04°55'S; 078°19'W, 550 m, Feb 1995, (st), Vásquez et al. 19467 (MO!). Loreto: Maynas, Distrito Las Amazonas, Quebrada Sucusari, bosque maduro en tierra firme, 03°15'S; 072°55'W, 140 m, 1 Feb 1996, (imm fr), Ortiz et al. 143 (MO!); ibid., (♂ fl), Ortiz et al. 144 (MO!); Distrito de Iquitos, Estación Experimental de Allpahuayo, IIAP, 04°10'S; 073°30'W, 120 m, 24 Feb 1996, (old ♂ fl), Ortiz & Ruiz 188 (MO!); Carretera Iquitos-Nauta, km 21, trocha de penetración del fundo Pichiri, en terreno alto y arenoso, 150 m, 18 Oct 1995, (♂ fl), Rimachi 11394 (MO!). Pasco: Oxapampa, vivero, Proyecto Pichis Palcazu, Puerto Bermudez, transect 2, 10°12'S; 074°57'W, 200 m, 16 Jun 1983, (st), Gentry et al. 42061 (MO!). San Martin–Ucayali: Vicinity of Aguaytía, high ground in forest, east of Aguaytía, between Pucallpa road and Río Aguaytía, 28 Jun 1960, (st), Mathias & Taylor 5004 (F!). Ucayali: Aguaytía, Fundo Vista Alegre, 29 Mar 1962, (st), Schunke 5848 (F! [2]).

VENEZUELA. Amazonas: Cerro Neblina base camp on Rio Mawarinuma, mature forest on sandy “ultisol”, 140 m, 23 Apr 1984, (st), Gentry & Stein 46878 (MO!).