Sphyrospermum rotundifolium Luteyn, 2013

Luteyn, James L. & Pedraza-Peñalosa, Paola, 2013, Nomenclature, taxonomy, and conservation of the neotropical genus Sphyrospermum (Ericaceae: Vaccinieae), including five new species for Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Phytotaxa 79 (1), pp. 1-29 : 22-25

publication ID

https://doi.org/ 10.11646/phytotaxa.79.1.1

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scientific name

Sphyrospermum rotundifolium Luteyn

sp. nov.

Sphyrospermum rotundifolium Luteyn , sp. nov. ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 )

Species nova floribus minutis 5-meris, pedicellis brevibus, foliis rotundatis distincta; a Sphyrospermo spruceano foliis rotundatis (non ellipticis), latioribus, 11–17 (non 6–8) mm latis, corollis pilosis (non distaliter hispidis) differt.

Type: — ECUADOR. Manabí: Cantón Jipipapa. Parroquia Jipijapa, Cerro Montecristi , ca. 1 km W of Montecristi, 550 m, 01°03’05.2”S, 80°39’42.5”W, 29 January 2001 (fl), Clark, Miranda & Pilligua 6194 (holotype NY!; isotypes COL, QCNE, GoogleMaps US!).

Epiphytic subshrubs with pendent branches; stems subterete, bluntly angled, striate, glabrate; twigs subterete, densely and shortly pilose with eglandular hairs <1 mm long. Leaves coriaceous, succulent, elliptic, lenticular or almost rotund, 1.4–2 × 1.1–1.7 cm, base rounded, apex broadly obtuse to rounded, margin slightly revolute, lamina glabrous above, with scattered, brownish, glandular hairs beneath; obscurely 3-plinerved, midrib and lateral nerves sometimes raised and somewhat carinate on both surfaces, but usually obscure, tertiary veinlets obscure; petiole subterete, 2–2.2 mm long, short-pilose. Inflorescences axillary, flowers solitary, not exceeding the subtending leaves; floral bract 1, minute, ovate, acute, ca. 0.5 mm long; pedicel terete, minutely striate or angled, ca. 2.8–3 mm long, densely white short-pilose; bracteoles 2, basal, subopposite, acicular, ca. 1 mm long, pilose. Flowers 5-merous, diplostemonous; calyx ca. 4–4.4 mm long, densely short-white-pilose with eglandular hairs ca. 0.3 mm long; tube spherical, ca. 1.9–2 mm long; limb erect-campanulate, ca. 2–2.5 mm long; lobes narrowly triangular, acuminate, ca. 1.5–1.7 mm long; corolla cylindric to slightly campanulate, ca. 5–5.3 mm long and ca. 3.3 mm diam. distally, yellow, sparsely pilose with eglandular hairs without, the lobes erect, ovate-deltate, acute, ca. 1.2–1.5 mm long; stamens 10, alternately slightly unequal in length, ca. 4 mm long; filaments 1.6–1.7 mm long, slightly alternating in length, apparantly glabrous; anthers equal, ca. 2.6–3 mm long; thecae ca. 1.1–1.3 mm long, the base straight, without basal appendage, papillate; tubules ca. 1.5–1.7 mm long, inconspicuously papillate, dehiscing by short, oblique pores; style ca. 4.8–5 mm long. Berry spherical, ca. 5 mm diam., pilose, the color unknown; embryo color unknown.

Distribution and phenology:— Sphyrospermum rotundifolium is endemic to the coastal mountain ranges of central Ecuador, to semideciduous dry/fog forest and premontane humid forest, at 350– 600 m. Flowering specimens have been collected in January; fruiting in June.

Conservation status:— Although this species is only known from four collections made in dry coastal forest, its habitat is currently protected by a national reserve. However, it remains vulnerable due to the small area it occupies [VU B1a(i, iv)].

Observations:— Sphyrospermum rotundifolium is characterized by having small, succulent, rotund, lenticular leaves, short pedicels and pilose flowers. It is also isolated in its seasonal, relatively dry, coastal range habitat. Superficially it resembles S. ellipticum , but differs from that species in its smaller leaves, overall shorter pedicels, white flowers, and drier habitat. In the treatment of Sphyrospermum in the Flora of Ecuador series, Øllgaard et al. 100760 (AAU, NY) was cited as S. ellipticum ( Luteyn 1996) , but we now would refer it to S. rotundifolium . This new species also shares with S. flaviflorum and S. xanthocarpum the short pedicellate flowers with small, yellow corollas (see more details under S. flaviflorum ).

Additional specimens examined (paratypes): — ECUADOR. Guayas: Cordillera Chongón, Colonche, Comuna Olon , 8 June 1994 (fr), Cornejo & Bonifaz 2854 ( GUAY, NY) ; Cordillera Chongón-Colonche, Bosque Protector Loma Alta , 21 December 1996, Cornejo & Bonifaz 5454 ( GUAY photo seen) . Manabí: Cordillera de Chongón, Parque Nacional Machalilla, trail from San Sebastian to the south, 01°35’S, 80°41’W, 24 March 1993 (st), Øllgaard et al. 100760 ( AAU, NY) GoogleMaps .

Sphyrospermum sessiliflorum Luteyn (1981: 379 , fig. 3). Type:— BOLIVIA. La Paz: Sandillani, 2461–2769 m, April 1866 (fl), Pearce s.n. (holotype K!; isotype NY! fragment ex K).

Distribution and phenology:— Sphyrospermum sessiliflorum is endemic to La Paz, in northern Bolivia, and is known only from a small area in Prov. Nor Yungas. It grows in montane forest at (2400–) 2690–2920 m. Recent collections, in the vicinity of Unduavi, show the plant to be locally common in very wet montane forest where it grows as an epiphyte with long-pendent branches. Flowering and fruiting specimens have been collected in April.

Conservation status:— This species is known from only two localities and occupies a small area. However, its should be considered only to be vulnerable because it grows within a protected area [VU B1a(i)].

Observations:— Sphyrospermum sessiliflorum is characterized by its sessile flowers and uni-bracteolate pedicels. It is most closely related to S. buesii based on similar habits, leaf morphologies, general appearance, and geography.

Additional specimens examined: — BOLIVIA. La Paz: Nor Yungas: arriba del Valle Huarinillas, hacia San Rafael, Beck et al. 21886 (LPB, NY); Parque Nacional ANMI Cotapata, sendero Chojllapata, Jiménez et al. 3706 (LPB), Jiménez & Aguilar 3774 (LPB, frags. NY).

Sphyrospermum sodiroi (Hoerold) Smith (1933: 211) . Sophoclesia sodiroi Hoerold (1909: 333) . Type:— ECUADOR. Pichincha: Volcán Corazón, 2800 m, August 1882 (fl), Sodiro 92/29 [holotype B destroyed (photo F neg. 4728); lectotype (designated by Luteyn 1996) NY! fragment ex B; isolectotype F! fragment ex B].

Distribution and phenology:— Sphyrospermum sodiroi is endemic to west-central Ecuador (20 localities, Prov. Imbabura, Pichincha, Cotopaxi), growing in montane cloud forest at 1800–3200(–3936) m. Flowering specimens have been collected in January–August, October, and December; fruiting in May and August.

Conservation status:— This species occurs in areas that are disturbed and largely transformed. It is infrequently and rarely collected and considered VU B1ab(iii) ( Pedraza-Peñalosa et al., 2011) in a previous assessment. However, in the light of more collections and because it has a fairly large geographical range is now considered Nearly threatened (NT).

Observations:— Sphyrospermum sodiroi is easily distinguished by having a pilose and red corolla that has dark purple, to nearly black, lobes. This unique color combination is known only in this species and S. lanceolatum , and can be seen in dried herbarium specimens.

Selected specimens examined:— ECUADOR. Cotopaxi: Quevedo–Latacunga road, Zumbagua, Harling et al. 8931 (F, GB, MO, NY, Q, US). Imbabura: Otavalo–Selva Alegre road, Luteyn & Lebrón-Luteyn 5848 (AAU, MO, NY, QCA). Pichincha: carretera vieja Nono–Mindo, Pedraza & Pedraza 960 (NY, QCA, QCNE).

Sphyrospermum spruceanum Sleumer (1934: 133) . Type:— ECUADOR. Near foot of Mount Chimborazo, 915–1220 m, August 1860 (fl), Spruce 6167 [holotype B destroyed; lectotype (designated by Luteyn 1996) K! (photo NY neg. s.n.); isolectotypes CGE!, L! fragment (photos NY negs. 11126, 11126a), NY! fragment ex K (photo NY neg. 13012), NY! fragment ex W (photo NY neg. 12490), OXF! (photo NY neg. 12616), P! (dated 1865 but otherwise identical to type material), US! fragment, W! (photo NY neg. 12491)].

Distribution and phenology:— Sphyrospermum spruceanum is endemic to Ecuador (Prov. Chimborazo?). The type was collected in forest at 915–1220 m and was flowering in August.

Conservation status:— Even though the exact type locality is uncertain, this species is only known from the type collection, which comes from a general area that is relatively well known. The general area around the Chimborazo Volcano is deforested and transformed. Critically endangered [ CR B1 a(iv)] .

Observations:— Sphyrospermum spruceanum is characterized by having small, elliptic leaves, and subsessile, 5-merous, tiny flowers with apparently campanulate corollas that are distally pilose. More details about morphologically similar species are given under S. flaviflorum .


William and Lynda Steere Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden


Universidad Nacional de Colombia


Museo Ecuatoriano de Ciencias Naturales


Universidad de Guayaquil


Addis Ababa University, Department of Biology


Museo Nacional de Costa Rica














Sphyrospermum rotundifolium Luteyn

Luteyn, James L. & Pedraza-Peñalosa, Paola 2013

Sphyrospermum sessiliflorum

Luteyn, J. L. 1981: 379

Sphyrospermum spruceanum

Sleumer, H. O. 1934: )

Sphyrospermum sodiroi (Hoerold)

Smith, A. C. 1933: )
Hoerold, R. 1909: )