Lycianthes pilifera (Benth.) Bitter, Abh. Naturwiss. Verein Bremen 24 [preprint]: 427. 1919

Dean, Ellen, Poore, Jennifer, Anguiano-Constante, Marco Antonio, Nee, Michael H., Kang, Hannah, Starbuck, Thomas, Rodrigues, Annamarie & Conner, Matthew, 2020, The genus Lycianthes (Solanaceae, Capsiceae) in Mexico and Guatemala, PhytoKeys 168, pp. 1-333: 1

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Lycianthes pilifera (Benth.) Bitter, Abh. Naturwiss. Verein Bremen 24 [preprint]: 427. 1919


35 Lycianthes pilifera (Benth.) Bitter, Abh. Naturwiss. Verein Bremen 24 [preprint]: 427. 1919   Fig. 80 View Figure 80

Solanum piliferum   Benth., Pl. Hartw. 68. 1840. Type: México. Oaxaca: Llano Verde, 1839, C. T. Hartweg 499 (lectotype designated by Dean and Reyes 2018a, pg. 44: K [K000585745]); isolectotype: LD [1212266]).

Solanum pilosiusculum   M.Martens & Galeotti, Bull. Acad. Brux. 12(1): 136. 1845. Type: México. Oaxaca: Cerro del Malacate (Pelado Capulalpan and Llano Verde), near Villa Alta, 7500 ft, Nov-Apr 1840, H. Galeotti 1171 (lectotype designated by Dean and Reyes 2018a, pg. 44: BR [000000552882]; isolectotypes: BR [000000552849, 000000552911], G [G00343182], LE [LE00017009], NY [00139019], US [00027745], W [acc. # 1889-156335, acc. # 0004160]).

Lycianthes pilifera (Benth.) Bitter var. pilosiuscula   (M.Martens & Galeotti) Bitter, Abh. Naturwiss. Verein Bremen 24 [preprint]: 428. 1919. Type: Based on Solanum pilosiusculum   M.Martens & Galeotti.


Based on Solanum piliferum   Benth.


Shrub, 1-4 m tall. Indument of brown, uniseriate, multicellular, simple, acute, eglandular, appressed to spreading trichomes to 1.25 mm long, these usually remaining cylindrical and acute upon drying. Stems green to purple-green, glabrous to densely pubescent, not much compressed upon drying in a plant press, brown and woody with age; upper sympodial branching points mostly monochasial, some dichasial. Leaves simple, the leaves of the upper sympodia usually paired and unequal in size, the larger ones with blades (3) 6-15 × (1) 2-6.5 cm, elliptic to obovate (sometimes narrowly so), the smaller ones with blades 1-6 × 0.6-3 cm, suborbicular, ovate, elliptic or obovate, the blades of both the large and small leaves chartaceous to subcoriaceous, glabrous to moderately pubescent (denser on the veins), the base cuneate (sometimes rounded in smaller leaves), sometimes oblique, the margin entire, usually undulate, the apex acute to acuminate, the petiole to 1 (3) cm long, sometimes absent, the larger leaf blades with 4-7 primary veins on each side of the midvein. Flowers solitary or in groups of 2-6, axillary, oriented horizontally to nodding; peduncles absent; pedicels 15-60 mm long and arching in flower, to 30-55 mm long (probably longer) and arching in fruit, glabrous to densely pubescent; calyx 2-3 mm long, 3-4.5 mm in diameter, campanulate, often purplish in color, glabrous to densely pubescent, the margin truncate, with 10 spreading, linear-subulate appendages 2-9 mm long emerging 0.5-1 mm below the calyx rim; fruiting calyx enlarged, widely bowl-shaped, 1.5-4 mm long, 7-9 mm in diameter, the appendages up to 15 mm long; corolla 0.8-2.1 cm long, campanulate in orientation, entire to shallowly stellate in outline, with abundant interpetalar tissue, adaxially white to light purple with darker purple ring near the base (sometimes with a green ring or spots at base below the purple ring), glabrous, abaxially white to purple, sometimes green near the major veins, nearly glabrous; stamens equal, straight, the filaments 1-2 mm long, glabrous, the anthers 5-6 mm long, ovate to lanceolate, free of one another, yellow-purple to purple, glabrous, poricidal at the tips, the pores ovate, dehiscing toward the style, not opening into longitudinal slits; pistil with glabrous ovary, the style 10-11 mm long, linear, glabrous, the stigma capitate. Fruit a berry, (6) 12-18 mm long, 9-15 mm in diameter, ovoid, dark purple at maturity, glabrous, lacking sclerotic granules. Seeds 10-30 per fruit, 2.5-4 × 2-2.5 mm, compressed but not flat, ridged on one side or near the center, irregular in outline (shallowly crescent-shaped, semi-circular, depressed ovate, rhombic, or reniform with small notch), medium-brown to nearly black, the surface reticulum with a serpentine to honeycomb pattern with deep luminae, appearing pitted, with fibrils protruding from the cell walls.

Chromosome number.


Distribution and habitat.

Mexico (Oaxaca), in cloud forest, tropical moist forest, including pine-oak, oak, and mixed forest with Ilex   , Podocarpus   , Weinmannia   , Persea   , Ocotea   , Oreomunnea   , Taxus   and/or Cupressus   , in shady canyons, slopes, and drainages, 1800-3050 m in elevation (Fig. 81 View Figure 81 ).

Common names and uses.

Mexico. Oaxaca: monte agua zapote (J. Rivera-Reyes 2609); rojo monte papel (J. Rivera-Reyes 3141).


Flowering specimens and specimens with mature fruits have been collected most months of the year. The corollas are at least partially open on many specimens, indicating that they are open for much of the day.

Preliminary conservation status.

Lycianthes pilifera   is a common species of the cloud forests of Oaxaca, represented by 61 collections, none of which is from a protected area. The EOO is 4,808.353 km2, and the AOO is 192 km2. Based on the EOO and AOO areas, and following the IUCN (2019) criteria, the preliminary assessment category is Endangered (EN).


Lycianthes pilifera   is extremely variable in terms of width of leaves, size of flowers and calyx appendages, as well as amount of pubescence. The type material has nearly glabrous, relatively narrow leaves and relatively short calyx appendages. Morphological forms with longer calyx appendages are found in Oaxaca below 2000 m, and forms with shorter appendages are found above that elevation. Very small-leaved, small-flowered, and small-fruited forms have been collected from near Conception Papalo, Oaxaca, at 2700 m ( Dean et al. 2019b). This species has been sometimes confused with L. stephanocalyx   and L. quichensis   , both of which can have one to two-flowered inflorescences and flowers with equal stamens. Unlike L. pilifera   , both of those species have red fruits. Lycianthes quichensis   is only found in Chiapas and Guatemala and does not overlap in distribution with L. pilifera   . Lycianthes stephanocalyx   does overlap in distribution with L. pilifera   and differs in having red fruit, connate anthers (which are usually yellow), and small, whitish, curved trichomes. Lycianthes pilifera   also resembles L. caeciliae   , an endemic of Veracruz, in having purple flowers with equal stamens and dark purple fruit with large, dark seeds, however L. caeciliae   differs in having dark purple, stellate corollas and dark purple anthers ( Dean et al. 2019b).

Representative specimen examined.

Mexico. Oaxaca: Sierra de Juárez, Mpio. San Pedro Yólox, along Hwy 175 to the NE of the turnoff to Comaltepec and NE of the cabins and restaurant of Mirador, along old undeveloped road to Yólox (just E of new turnoff to Yólox), 17.6028, -96.4175, 2022 m, 10 Sep 2017, E. Dean 9522 (DAV225278).














Lycianthes pilifera (Benth.) Bitter, Abh. Naturwiss. Verein Bremen 24 [preprint]: 427. 1919

Dean, Ellen, Poore, Jennifer, Anguiano-Constante, Marco Antonio, Nee, Michael H., Kang, Hannah, Starbuck, Thomas, Rodrigues, Annamarie & Conner, Matthew 2020

Solanum pilosiusculum

Mart & Gal 1845

Solanum pilosiusculum

Mart & Gal 1845