Phytotaxa 178 (2): 113–127
Copyright © 2014 Magnolia Press Article PHYTOTAXA
ISSN 1179-3155 (print edition)
ISSN 1179-3163 (online edition)
Accepted by Eric Gouda: 31 Jul. 2014; published: 12 Sept. 2014
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
Three new species and growth patterns in Hechtia (Bromeliaceae: Hechtioideae)
IVÓN RAMÍREZ MORILLO1,3, CARLOS F. JIMÉNEZ1, GERMÁN CARNEVALI FERNÁNDEZ-CONCHA1 &
JUAN P. PINZÓN2
1Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán, A. C., Unidad de Recursos Naturales-Herbario CICY, Calle 43 # 130. Colonia
Chuburná de Hidalgo, Mérida, Yucatán 97200, México.
2Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Campus de Ciencias Biológicas y Agropecuarias, Departamento de Botánica, Carretera Mérida-
Xmatkuil, Km. 15.5 Apdo. Postal: 4-116 Itzimná, Mérida, Yucatán 97100, México.
3E.-mail email@example.com (Author for correspondence)
Three new species of Hechtia from the Mexican State of Oaxaca are herein proposed as new: Hechtia flexilifolia, H. hua-
melulaensis, and H. nivea, from the physiogeographical provinces of Mixteca Alta, Costas del Sur, and Sierras Centrales
de Oaxaca respectively. All three species are described and illustrated. Iconography provided features plants in habitat and
under cultivation. An assessment of their conservation status sensu IUCN criteria is presented as well. We also discuss and
illustrate the three growth patterns identified at this time in the genus.
Keywords: Diversity, endemism, growth patterns, IUCN, Oaxaca, physiogeographical regions
Oaxaca ranks third in vascular plant diversity among Mexican states only after Chiapas and Guerrero, with 251 families,
comprising 1,824 genera and 8,431 species (García-Mendoza 2004). Among them, angiosperms are the most numerous
with 7,752 species, whereas Bromeliaceae is the seventh most diverse family of monocots. However, Oaxaca houses
the largest diversity of bromeliads of the country, the latest report accounting for 172 species in 15 genera (Espejo et al.
2007a), a figure that represents ca. 50% of all Bromeliaceae reported for Mexico (Espejo et al. 2004) and new species
are continuously being added.
The genus Hechtia Klotzsch (1835: 401) is one of the most interesting members of the Mexican Bromeliaceae. Our
latest estimate of the number of species is of 65 (Ramírez & Jiménez 2012), but this figure is becoming rapidly outdated
by the discovery of new species every year. Mexico harbors the largest number of species of this genus with ca. 94% of
them being endemic to the country, whereas the genus as a whole is restricted to Megamexico III. Espejo et al. (2004)
reported 14 species of Hechtia for Oaxaca, but this number went up to 20 just in three years (Espejo et al. 2007a) and
five more have been described since then [H. colossa Martínez-Correa et al. (2010: 746), H. complanata Burt-Utley
(2012: 6), H. ixtlanensis Burt-Utley (2012: 1), H. isthmusiana Burt-Utley (2012: 10), and H. oaxacana Burt-Utley et al.
(2011: 7)], and with the three newly species described here, the total number adds up to 28, becoming the leading state in
Hechtia species richness; furthermore, most of the Oaxacan Hechtia species are restricted to the state. In Oaxaca only the
genus Tillandsia Linnaeus (1753: 286) surpasses Hechtia as the most species-rich bromeliad genus with ca. 101 species
(Espejo et al. 2007a). At present, Hechtia includes ca. 70 accepted species out of 89 published binomials. We still have a
long way to go in order to reliably document bromeliad diversity in Mexico, until more regions are explored, particularly
xerophytic shrublands or open rocky outcrops in remote and inaccessible places.
et al. (2007) proposed a new subfamily, Hechtioideae, with Hechtia as its sole member based on molecular
evidence. Plants of Hechtia are terrestrial or more commonly lithophytic, on volcanic, karstic, or gypsophilous rocks;
rosettes are cespitose or rarely caulescent, ranging in size from rather small [ca. 30 cm or smaller in diameter, i.e. H.
edulis I. Ramírez et al. (2011: 363)] to fairly large dimensions [ca. 2 m diameter, i.e. H. myriantha Mez (1901: 6)],
with succulent leaves, these strongly armed or rarely with serrulate margins. Hechtia species occupy mainly xerophytic
shrublands, caducifolious tropical forests, and less commonly, Quercus Linnaeus (1753: 994) forests (sensu Rzedowski
1978). As most bromeliads, many species of Hechtia have central inflorescences, but ca. 20% of them have lateral
RAMÍREZ ET AL.
114 • Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press
inflorescences [the H. glomerata Zuccarini (1840: 240) complex sensu Jiménez (2011)], a character shared with a few
other species in the family but part of a unique combination of characters within the family along with unisexual flowers
(vs. mainly bisexual), dioecious members (vs. usually hermaphroditic), and sessile stigma (vs. on top of a distinct style).
Materials and methods
Herbarium specimens were prepared from plants cultivated in Yucatan, Mexico, but previously collected sterile or
only partially fertile (e.g. fruits) in Oaxaca from 2000 to 2013. Cultivating plants not only allowed obtaining fertile
structures (flowers and fruits) but also observing changes under various regimes of water and nutrient availability
(e.g., for several years watering was withheld during all of the dry season, whereas during other years plants were
regularly watered the year around). Morphological variation of rosette features at the population level was previously
evaluated in the field and later also in cultivation, where we usually observed greater size (rosette and inflorescence)
development under optimal growth conditions, which not always led to flowering. The complete material (vegetative
and floral) of the three species was cross examined to verify their status as new species against all species recorded
from Oaxaca and neighboring states, carefully studying the information of the protologues, including type material
(whenever available) or high resolution images of types and plants in the field. Each description includes characters
observed in live material as well as dry material. For each new species, we included an assessment of conservation
based on IUCN criteria (2010).
Bromeliaceae is a clade composed mainly by taxa with monocarpic rosettes with central (terminal) inflorescence. As
mentioned before, some members of Hechtia present lateral inflorescences and thus, polycarpic rosettes, a character shared
by a few members in the subfamily Bromelioideae [Disteganthus Lemaire (1847: t. 227)] and Greigia Regel (1865: 137)]
and a few species in subfamily Tillandsioideae (Tillandsia spp.) (Smith & Till, 1998). Yet, other species feature seemingly
lateral inflorescences, and often described as so, which are here interpreted as terminal, see discussion below.
We have identified three different architectural patterns in Hechtia (Fig. 1 A–D). They are related to growth
schemes of individual rosettes, and the position of the inflorescence relative to the degree of development of the new
rosettes. Ongoing phylogenetic analyses should provide insight and testable hypothesis to understand these three dif-
ferent patterns and their evolution.
In a first architectural pattern (Fig. 1A, B), hereafter referred to as the “strict sympodium pattern” (SSP), the api-
cal meristem of a fully grown rosette produces an inflorescence; after fruiting the rosette dies, producing one or more
offsets in a basal position, resulting in cespitose plants, usually forming colonies [e.g. H. purpusii Brandegee (1920:
325) and H. podantha Mez (1896: 549)]. This SSP is assumed to derive from a strongly dominant apical meristem that
inhibits any other growth of the plant but that is strongly predetermined to make an early transformation into a floral
meristem, at which point ceases its dominance, allowing basal vegetative meristems to activate. This pattern is the one
commonly found in the rest of the family and is thus assumed to be plesiomorphic whilst the following two types are
presumably apomorphic. Our preliminary phylogenetic analyses, using several DNA regions, consistently identify taxa
characterized by this pattern as basal in the genus.
In the second pattern (Fig. 1C), hereafter referred to as the “pseudomonopodial pattern” (PMP), the long-lived
rosettes produce truly lateral (mostly basal) inflorescences. Here, the apical meristem is also strongly dominant but is
simultaneously extremely long lived, apparently never making a transition into a floral meristem. Thus, the rosettes
have indefinite vegetative growth, eventually becoming very large (often bearing more than a hundred leaves, e.g. H.
myriantha). As growth continues and the rosette elongates, the distance between the apical meristem and the most
basal ones increases, resulting in a gradual lowering of the dominance degree. Eventually, the lowermost meristems
activate, resulting in either inflorescences or new rosettes. Additional rosettes are formed either by rhizomes as in H.
schottii Baker ex Hemsley (1884: 318), or by stolons (as in H. glomerata), or rarely by cespitose growths as is the case
in H. lepidophylla I. Ramírez (2008: 65)]. Taxa featuring PMP are restricted to the Gulf of Mexico drainages and have
been identified by our preliminary phylogenetic analyses as a well-supported clade.
HECHTIA (BROMELIACEAE) Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press • 115
FIGURE 1. Growth patterns in Hechtia: A–B. Pattern SPP (strict sympodium pattern), A. H. podantha; B. H. guatemalensis. C. Pattern
PMP (pseudomonopodial pattern), H. schottii. D. Pattern SPFP (sympodial with precocious-flowering pattern), H. huamelulaensis.
(Photographs by Ivón Ramirez).
RAMÍREZ ET AL.
116 • Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press
In the third and final pattern (Fig. 1D) hereafter called the “sympodial with precocious-flowering pattern” (SPFP),
the inflorescence emerges from the center of a newly-forming shoot or rosette (thus precocious) that never fully de-
velops. The older rosettes eventually stop growing, and may eventually flower [e.g. H. rosea E. Morren ex Baker
(Baker 1889: 140)]. The SPFP is here hypothesized to be the result of a weakly dominant apical meristem that cannot
prevent axillary meristems from developing into a flowering shoot (precocious flowering resembling lateral inflo-
rescences). It is also predetermined to a temporarily relatively short growth. The SPFP results in relatively compact
plants (small number of rosettes), which may or may not be cespitose and that produce both apparently “lateral” and
terminal inflorescences. Axillary shoots, whether vegetative or precocious-flowering, may appear in basal or subapical
positions, plants thus bearing a mixture of rosettes and inflorescences in several stages of development. Even if these
inflorescences were interpreted as lateral, the SPFP remains distinctive because the combination of terminal and lateral
inflorescences is unique. Nearly half of the known Hechtia species display the SPFP.
The description and characterization of these growth patterns in the genus Hechtia should allow us to better under-
stand relationships within the genus and to standardize descriptions and comparisons through the usage of a common
terminology based upon morphological and developmental homologies.
Hechtia flexilifolia I. Ramírez & Carnevali, spec. nov. (Figs. 2, 3).
This new species is characterized by an unique combination of characters: leaves numerous, (20–)30–40 in number, proportionally long,
narrow, flexible, margins densely spinose, abaxial epidermis glossy and wrinkled, shedding when dry, staminate inflorescence a 1–2
times divided panicle, with a long peduncle, branches at first secund, then horizontal, branches densely flowered, cylindrical, rachis
green, sulcate, sterile bases of branches bracteate, petals white.
TYPE:—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Distrito de Tlaxiaco, Municipio Santiago Yosondúa, ca. 4 km después de Santiago de Yosondúa, rumbo
a Yerba Santa, en las cascadas, riscos en bosque de pino-encino con algunos elementos mesófilos [ca. 4 km beyond Santiago de
Yosondúa, toward Yerba Santa, by the waterfalls, cliffs with pine-oak forest with some mesophyll elements], 16° 50’ 43” N, 97° 34’
52” W, 1990 m elevation, 1 July 2013, Ramírez & Carnevali 1868 ♂ (holotype CICY (x7)!; isotypes MEXU!, OAX!, SEL!, US!).
Plants lithophytic, forming a hemispherical rosette, 20–25 cm long, 50–55 cm in diameter. Leaves (20–)30–40 in
number, erect, becoming slightly reflexed, flexible; sheaths broadly oblong, 3–4 x 5.5–6.5 cm, glabrous, drying white-
yellowish at the base, dark brown, densely white lepidote and dentate close to the blade; blades sublinear triangular,
acute, pungent, 12–60(–100) cm long, 1.5–2.5(–3) cm wide at the base, apical half reflexed, succulent, flexible, U-
shaped in cross section, dark green, densely white lepidote abaxially, adaxially corrugated, covered by a thin, white
layer (probably the cuticle) that peels off easily, especially when dry, margins spinose, white-yellowish; spines antrorse,
ca. 2 mm long decreasing to ca. 1mm long at the apex, 1–1.5 cm apart. Inflorescence central, emerging from the center
of a newly-forming rosette (type SPFP), erect.
Staminate inflorescence one to twice-branched panicle, ellipsoid, erect or arcuate (only seen in cultivation), some-
times a few primary branches produce a secondary short branch at their base, 2.10–2.70 m long; peduncle terete, 92–97
cm long, 0.8–1.2 cm in diameter, green, longer than the leaves, internodes (2.3–)3.7–4.7 cm long; peduncle bracts
narrowly triangular, long acuminate, (1.8–) 2.7–19.2 cm long, 1.8–2.4 cm wide at the base, entire to finely serrate,
sheaths and blades well differentiated, the basal ones recurved, those at the base with the blades ca. 4 times longer than
their sheaths, the apical ones erect, with blades and sheaths the same length; main axis 1.2–1.8 m long, 0.5–0.9 cm in
diameter, green, 2–3 times longer than the leaves and ca. 2 times longer than the peduncle, internodes 1.3–3 cm long;
primary bracts broadly triangular, acuminate, 0.5–1.8 x 0.3–1.6 cm, thin and brittle, yellowish to light brown, glabres-
cent, strongly nerved, clasping the peduncle of the branch but shorter than it, peduncle bracteate; branches (52–)77–81
in number, forming a 45° angle with the main axis then arching and subspreading to pendulous, 4.7–28 cm long, each
with 31–250 flowers, apices of the branches (at least in cultivation) do not develop and remain light brown, with abor-
tive floral buds; rachis 1–3 mm in diameter, flattened at the base, strongly sulcate, sterile bases of branches bracteate,
light green in the first order branches (1–)2–3.5 cm long, in the second order branches (0.9–)1.5 cm long; floral bracts
lanceolate, acute, 2.2–4.3 x 1–2 mm, erose to strongly erose, hyaline, yellowish, glabrous, 3–5 nerved, verrucose close
to the central nerve. Flowers pedicellate, verticillate, 4–5.7 mm long; pedicels obconical, 1–1.4 mm long, green; se-
HECHTIA (BROMELIACEAE) Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press • 117
pals free, ovate, acute, 2–2.4 x 1.2–1.6 mm, entire, light brown, glabrous, 1–3-nerved; petals free, elliptic to broadly
elliptic, acute to rounded, 2.4–3.5 x 1.4–2.3 mm, entire, white, glabrous, 5-nerved, arranged so as o seemingly form a
three-pointed star in anthesis; stamens 1.7–3.1 mm long, 3 opposed to the sepals, three to the petals; filaments narrowly
triangular, flat in cross section, 1.5–2.7 x 0.4 mm, white; anthers elliptic, 1–1.4 x 0.3–0.5 mm, dorsifixed; pistillode
conical, ca. 0.3 mm long, sometimes inconspicuous, stigmatic blades inconspicuous.
Pistillate inflorescence (known and described based on photographs in habitat and on a dry infructescence, an
once-branched panicle, cylindrical, erect, 1.4–1.5 m long; peduncle terete, 50–60 cm long, 0.8–1.2 cm in diameter, in-
ternodes 1.9–4.1 cm long; peduncle bracts similar with those of the staminate inflorescence; main axis 50–60 cm long,
ca. 0.4 cm in diameter, internodes 0.5–2 cm long; primary bracts broadly triangular, acuminate, 1.1–1.2 x 0.6–0.7 cm,
thin and brittle, margins entire and undulate, drying pale brown, glabrous, multinerved, enclosing the sterile bases of
branches, shorter than or equaling the peduncle of the branch; branches (11–)14–18 in number, 0.5–1 cm long stipitate,
spreading to ascending, 4–10.5 cm long, 45–120 flowered; rachis 2–2.5 mm in diameter, flattened at the base of the
branches, slightly sulcate, drying dark brown; floral bracts ovate, acute, 2–3 x 1.5–2 mm, hyaline, yellowish, glabrous,
1-nerved. Flowers known and described based on the remaining structures on the fruit, subsessile, verticillate, densely
grouped; pedicel obconical, 1–2 mm long, 0.5–1 mm in diameter, drying dark brown; sepals free, ovate, acute, 1.5–2.2
x 1.3–1.6 mm, entire, light brown, glabrous, 1-nerved; petals triangular, acute, 2.5–2.8 x 1–1.3 mm, entire, color un-
known, 3-nerved; staminodes narrowly triangular, 1–1.4 x 0.3–0.5 mm; ovary unknown. Fruits narrowly ovoid, 5–6
mm long, 2 mm in diameter, dark brown with black spots, glabrous; sepals, petals, staminodes, and stigmatic lobes
remaining on the capsule upon maturity; seeds 1–2 in number per locule, fusiform, 3.7–4.9 mm long, 0.6–1 mm in
diameter, apical wing 0.6–1 mm long, basal wing 1–1.2 mm long.
Distribution and habitat:—Hechtia flexilifolia is known from a restricted geographical area near the village of
Yosondúa, where it grows in close sympatry with H. nuusaviorum Espejo & López-Ferr. in Espejo et al. (2007b: 98).
There it grows as a lithophyte on steep or vertical rock walls, at an elevation of ca. 1970 m, surrounded by humid for-
est. Most collections have been made from around the Yosondúa waterfalls, a well-known touristic site.
Etymology:—The specific epithet refers to the flexible foliar blades, an unique feature in the genus in Oaxaca
since the rest of the species have succulent, rigid, inflexible leaves.
Additional specimens examined (paratypes):—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Distrito de Tlaxiaco, Municipio Santiago
Yosondúa, de la desviación a Yerba Santa hacia la desviación a El Vergel, 16° 50’ 43” N, 97° 34’ 52” W, 1992 m elevation,
11 Noviembre 2005, Carnevali et al. 7136 fruits (CICY (x2)!); ca. 4 km después de Santiago de Yosondúa, rumbo a Yerba
Santa, en las cascadas, riscos en bosque de pino-encino con algunos elementos mesófilos [ca. 4 km beyond Santiago de
Yosondúa, toward Yerba Santa, by the waterfalls, cliffs with pine-oak forest with some mesophyll elements], 16° 50’ 43”
N, 97° 34’ 52” W, 1990 m elevation, 24 Julio 2009, Ramírez & Carnevali 1745 ♂ (CICY!, ENCB!).
Discussion:—The species has been collected in the Mixteca Alta region near the limits with the Cordillera Costera
Sur phytogeographical province (Cervantes-Zamora et al. 1990, Fig. 3), in the western area of the Mexican State of
Oaxaca. It grows sympatrically with Hechtia nuusaviorum, a species well characterized by its glomerule-like pistil-
late inflorescence branches, and wider, more succulent foliar blades. In the field both species are readily recognized
by leaf width and texture. Hechtia flexilifolia has narrower foliar blades that are white lepidote abaxially whereas the
adaxial surface looks wrinkled. When the leaf blades dry, a thin layer from the adaxial epidermis peels off, apparently
the cuticle because we did not observe foliar trichomes on the adaxial surface. This species is well characterized by its
densely flowered spikes of both staminate and pistillate flowers. Plants were collected in fruit and cultivated but only
staminate plants bloomed in 2009 and again in 2013. However, no pistillate plants produced inflorescences during
eight years of cultivation. A recent trip to the type locality (2012) revealed small rosettes not ready to bloom and no
recent evidence of previous flowering. However, vegetative features and staminate flower characteristics are sufficient
to propose this species as new. A population of Hechtia occurring along the Oaxaca-Puerto Escondido road (Ramírez
& Carnevali 1881, CICY, separated by ca. 90 km SE in straight line) strongly resembles H. flexilifolia in rosette fea-
tures and the staminate inflorescence, but in this population some branches produced two small additional spikes at
the base. Besides this, everything else is exactly the same. The problem of assuming this as the same species is that in
some groups of Hechtia male flowers and inflorescences are extremely similar whereas pistillate inflorescences are
strikingly different. As we are not sure if this is the case, we will await further evidence before we refer this population
to any Hechtia species.
IUCN Conservation assessment:—Vulnerable (VU). Hechtia flexilifolia meets criteria D2 of the IUCN (2010).
The species is known from an area of less than 2 km2 within which it occurs only at a handful of small sites. Albeit local
populations of the species can be rich in individuals and are often inaccessible, they are widely dispersed and isolated
on the slopes and cliffs of the mountainous landscape.
RAMÍREZ ET AL.
118 • Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press
FIGURE 2. Hechtia flexilifolia. Staminate plant. A. Part of rosette and peduncle. B. Inflorescence originates in a young rosette (pattern
SPFP). C. Branches of the inflorescences are initially pendulous. D. Flowers at anthesis. E. Branches. (Photographs by Ivón Ramírez)
HECHTIA (BROMELIACEAE) Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press • 119
Hechtia huamelulaensis I. Ramírez & Carnevali, spec. nov. (Figs. 3, 4, Table 1).
A species similar to Hechtia glauca but leaves dull matte green (vs. glaucous), the leaf margins not undulate (vs. undulate throughout),
without tufts of hairs in axils of spines (vs. with tuft of hairs in axils of spines); peduncle of the pistillate inflorescence 20–23 cm long
(vs. 40–75.5 cm long); staminate sepals 2.5–3.4 mm long (vs. 1.6–2.2 mm long), pistillate floral bracts longer (2.4–4.7 mm vs. 1–2.3
mm long); fruits ellipsoid, not pendulous, 9–12.3 x 4.5–5.7 mm (vs. ovoid, pendulous, (8)9–12 x 3.5–5 mm).
TYPE:—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Municipio San Pedro Huamelula, desvío de la Carretera Federal 200 a San Pedro Huamelula, ca. 1 km, desde
la carretera Salina Cruz a Pochutla, [deviation from federal road 200 to San Pedro Huamelula, ca. 1 km, from the road from Salina
Cruz to Pochutla], 15° 59’ 44” N, 95º 39’ 57” W, 62 m elevation, originally collected in March 2011, blooming under cultivation, 2
Marzo 2013, Ramírez & Carnevali 1675c ♀ (holotype, CICY (x2)!).
Plants lithophytic, rosettes globular, 50–60 cm in diameter, 25–30 cm tall. Leaves 30–40 in number, reflexed; sheaths
transversely oblong, 7–8 x 10–12 cm, entire, yellowish green, glabrous, with flat or undulate margins only at base;
blades narrowly triangular, long acuminate, 30–35 x 6–8 cm, recurved, succulent, broadly and shallowly channeled in
cross section, dull mat green, occasionally the apical portion reddish, glabrous and opaque adaxially, white lepidote
abaxially, margins straight, sometimes basally undulate, armed, red; spines antrorse, 3–5 mm long, 1–1.5 cm apart, red.
Inflorescence central, emerging from lateral young rosettes (type SPFP), erect.
Staminate inflorescence (only known from dry specimens and pictures in habitat) an once-branched panicle, py-
ramidal, erect, 60–80 cm long; peduncle terete, ca. 20 cm long, 0.5–0.8 cm in diameter at the base, as long as the height
of the rosette or shorter, internodes 1–1.5 cm long; peduncle bracts with broadly triangular sheaths, appressed to the
peduncle, 2–3 x 4–7 mm, margins thin, narrowing abruptly into the blade; the blade narrowly triangular, long acumi-
nate, 2–10 x 0.5–0.7 cm, entire to finely serrate, light brown, sparsely white-lepidote at the apex, multinerved; main
axis 40–50 cm long, 0.5–0.6 cm in diameter at the base, upward to ca. 2 mm in diameter, dark olive green, internodes
1.5–3 cm long; primary bracts triangular, acuminate, 0.7–2 x 0.3–0.8 cm, margins entire and very thin, light brown,
glabrous, multinerved, shorter than the branches; branches 47–53 in number, forming an angle of 90° or nearly so with
the main axis, 2.5–13.2 cm long, with (8–)11–38 flowers, the distal flowers often not developing, color unknown; ra-
chis ca. 1 mm in diameter, flattened at its base, then sulcate, drying light brown, glabrous, sterile basal portion 0.3–0.8
cm long, naked; floral bracts broadly ovate, acuminate, 2.3–2.6 x 2 mm, margins erose, minutely serrate at the apex,
shorter than the sepals, glabrous, 5-nerved. Flowers (unknown at anthesis in vivo) shortly pedicellate, erect; pedicels
obconic, ca. 1 mm long, ca. 0.5 mm in diameter, glabrous; sepals ovate to triangular-ovate, acute, 2.5–3.4 mm x 1.3–2
mm, erose, glabrous, 7-nerved, shorter than the petals; petals elliptic, rounded, 4.5–6.1 x 2.5–2.8 cm, entire, 7–9
nerved; filaments narrowly triangular, 4–4.7 x 0.7–1 mm; anthers oblong, 1.6–1.9 mm long; pistillode ovoid, reduced,
1–1.3 x 1.2–1.4 mm, stigmatic lobes 0.2–0.4 mm long.
Pistillate inflorescence (known from live material) a once-branched panicle, pyramidal, erect, rigid, 92–112(–
121) cm long; peduncle terete, 20–23 cm long, 1.1–1.3 cm in diameter at the base, as long as the height of the rosette
or slightly longer, internodes 1–1.5 cm long, olive green to purple; peduncle bracts with broadly triangular sheaths,
these appressed to the peduncle, 3–5 x 5–9 mm, serrulate, narrowing abruptly into the spreading blades; the blade
narrowly triangular, long acuminate, 2.2–12 x 0.7–1 cm, entire, light brown with some pinkish hue, base and apex
reddish, sparsely white lepidote mainly at the apical abaxial surface, multinerved; main axis 70–98 cm long, 0.7–1.1
cm in diameter at the base, upward to ca. 2 mm in diameter, internodes 1–1.5 cm long; primary bracts triangular, acu-
minate, 0.7–2.8 x. 0.3–0.7 cm, margins entire and very thin, light brown, glabrous, multinerved, much shorter than
the branches except the lower ones equaling the shorter branches; branches 46−94 in number, forming an angle of
ca. 90° or nearly so with the main axis, 1.5–13 cm long, with 4−40 flowers, the apex bearing abortive flowers; rachis
0.3–1(–3) cm long, ca. 0.2 cm in diameter, naked, dorsiventrally flattened at the base, then sulcate, dark purple, without
sterile portion at its base; floral bracts variable in shape and size, oblong to triangular, acuminate, 2.4–4.7 x 1.5–2.8
mm, erose, with some scattered tiny spines at the apex, scarious, basally green, apically brown, glabrous, 8–9 nerved,
as long as or longer than the pedicel. Flowers pedicellate, erect; pedicel terete, 1.5–3 mm long, ca. 1 mm in diameter,
glabrous; sepals variable in size, deltoid, acute, 1.3–2.6 x 2–2.5 mm, entire to erose, purple, glabrous, 5–7-nerved,
appressed to the petals; petals ovate, acute, 4–5.2 x 2–2.7 mm, ca. 7-nerved, arranged so as to form a star-like corolla,
white, basally green, with a red longitudinal stripe, often with the red color spreading over the whole surface; stamin-
odes narrowly triangular, 2.7–3.3 x 0.5–0.8 mm, sometimes apically capitate; ovary oblongoid to ovoid, 3.2–3.5 mm
long, 1.8–2.3 mm in diameter, light green, apex purple, stigmatic lobes recurved, 1–1.2 mm long, light purple. Fruits
narrowly ellipsoid, 9–12.3 mm long, 4.5–5.7 mm in diameter, glabrous, pendulous; pedicel stout, ca. 2 mm long, 1 mm
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in diameter, the sepals, petals, and staminodes persistent; seeds fusiform, (4–)6.3–8.4 mm long, (0.5–)0.7–1.1 mm in
diameter, apical wing 0.4–0.6 mm long, basal wing (2–)3–3.9 mm long.
Distribution:—Hechtia huamelulaensis occurs in the southeastern area of the State of Oaxaca (Fig. 3), on the
Pacific slopes of the Tehuantepec Isthmus, an area belonging to the Costas del Sur Physiogeographical Province (Cer-
vantes-Zamora et al., 1990). So far it is only known from the vicinity of the village of San Pedro Huamelula in the
municipality of the same name. The area where this species has been found coincides with a relatively small patch of
hot arid climate (type BSo(h’)w), which is embedded within a more extensive region of tropical subhumid climate
(García 1998). At this single locality, H. huamelulaensis grows in xerophytic vegetation at an elevation of ca. 60 m and
is associated with such other plants as Agave ghiesbreghtii Lemaire ex Jacobi (1864:545), Plumeria rubra Linnaeus
(1753: 209), Opuntia decumbens Salm-Reifferscheid-Dyck (1834: 361), and a laxly-flowered form of Hechtia rosea.
FIGURE 3. Geographical distribution of the three new species: Hechtia flexilifolia, H. huamelulaensis, and H. nivea.
Etymology:—The epithet refers to the locality where the new species was collected, San Pedro Huamelula in
Additional specimen examined (paratypes):—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Municipio San Pedro Huamelula, desvío de
la carretera federal 200 a San Pedro Huamelula, ca. 1 km, desde la carretera de Salina Cruz a Pochutla, 15° 59’ 44” N,
95º 39’ 57” W, 62 m elevation, 25 March 2011, Ramírez & Carnevali 1675a ♂ (CICY!), 1675b fruits (CICY!, MEXU!,
OAX!, US!), same locality, flowering on cultivation, 01 March 2013, Ramírez & Carnevali 1882 ♀ (MEXU!, US!).
Discussion:—Hechtia huamelulaensis is characterized by the following combination of characters: rosettes with
broad, succulent leaves, these dull mat green, often reddish at apex and margins, and white lepidote abaxially; the
inflorescences are central but emerging from a young, newly formed lateral shoot (type SPFP); the main axis of the
pistillate inflorescences as well as the sepals are dark purple, the pistillate flowers have white petals, sometimes with
a purple longitudinal mid line abaxially, and pink stigma lobes.
HECHTIA (BROMELIACEAE) Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press • 121
FIGURE 4. Hechtia huamelulaensis (A, C–F). A. Rosette (plant in cultivation). C. Plants in habitat, note the brown, erect infructescence.
D. Pistillate inflorescence. E. Details of pistillate flowers, note the purple color on the floral parts. F. Different morph of pistillate flowers,
patent and lighter petals. B. Hechtia glauca, its rosette resembles that of H. huamelulaensis (Photographs: A, B, D. Ivón Ramírez; C. Juan
Pinzón, E–F. Débora Carnevali).
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122 • Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press
Actually, there are some other populations of Hechtia in the same phytogeographical region of the Tehuantepec
Isthmus where H. huamelulaensis grows that share the same rosette architecture with some variations on leaf number,
width and length, cross section and color, but with different floral and fruit features that allow differentiating them
from the new species. These are referable to species such as H. fosteriana L. B. Sm. (1961:8) and H. rubicunda Espejo
& López-Ferr. in López-Ferrari & Espejo (2014:154), and perhaps others yet to be formally recognized. Because the
taxonomy of this group of taxa is unresolved at this time and no closest relative to our new species is obvious, we have
chosen to compare our new species against an unrelated taxon that is, however, vegetatively similar. Thus, we contrast
the new species with H. glauca Burt-Utley & Utley (1993: 220) (Table 1), native of the Mexican state of Michoacán,
which is similar in rosette features.
TABLE 1. Comparison of the new species Hechtia huamelulaensis and H. glauca.
Characters H. huamelulaensis H. glauca
Foliar margins straight, sometimes basally undulate undulate throughout
Foliar blade spines without tuft of hairs in axils of spines with tuft of hairs in axils of spines
Peduncle (♀ inflorescence) 20–23 cm long 40–75.5 cm long
Staminate sepals 2.5–3.4 × 1.3–2 mm 1.6–2.2 × 1.5–2.3 mm
Staminate petals 4.5–6.1 × 2.5–2.8 mm 4.5–5 × 1.8–2.2 mm
Pistillate floral bracts 2.4–4.7 × 1.5–2.8 mm 1–2.3 × 1–1.3 mm
Pistillate petals 4–5.2 × 2–2.7 mm 3.5–5 × 1.3–2.1 mm
Fruits ellipsoid, not pendulous, 9–12.3 x 4.5–5.7 mm ovoid, pendulous, (8)9–12 x 3.5–5 mm
Locality and elevation Oaxaca, ca. 60 m elevation Michoacán, 270–300 m elevation
Hechtia huamelulaensis differs from H. glauca by its dull matte green leaves (vs. glaucous), blades with flat or undu-
late margins only at base (vs. undulate throughout), leaf surfaces densely lepidote abaxially, without tufts of hairs in axils
of spines (vs. glabrous with tuft of hairs in axils on spines), peduncle of the pistillate inflorescence 20–23 cm long (vs.
40–75.5 cm long), staminate sepals 2.5–3.4 mm long (vs. 1.6–2.2 mm long), pistillate floral bracts longer (2.4–4.7 mm vs.
1–2.3 mm long); fruits ellipsoid, not pendulous, 9–12.3 x 4.5–5.7 mm (vs. ovoid, pendulous, (8)9–12 x 3.5–5 mm).
IUCN Conservation assessment:
Vulnerable (VU). Hechtia huamelulaensis meets criteria D2 of the IUCN
(2010). The species is known from an area of less than 2 km2 within which it occurs only at a handful of small sites.
Albeit local populations of the species can be rich in individuals and are often inaccessible, they are widely scattered
and isolated on the slopes and tops of small rocky hills.
Hechtia nivea I. Ramírez & C. F. Jiménez, spec. nov. (Figs. 3, 5, Table 2).
This new species is similar to Hechtia nuusaviorum in its inflorescence architecture and condensed, conical or cylindrical branches in both
sexes; however the new species differ in that foliar blades are 21–39 x 1.3–2.9 cm (vs. 30–75 x 1.5–4.5 cm), densely white lepidote
on both surfaces (vs. glabrous above and white lepidote abaxially); staminate inflorescences are denser, featuring ca. 12 branches in
a rachis of 20 cm length (vs. 5 branches in the same length), branches 1.2–3 × 1–1.4 cm (vs. 4 cm long × 2.5 wide), primary bracts
much longer than or equaling the branch length (vs. always shorter than the branches); pistillate inflorescences are denser with ca. 16
branches in 20 cm length (vs. ca. 5), primary bracts vary from shorter to longer than the branches (vs. always shorter), branches are
cylindrical, and up to 2.4 cm long (vs. 3 cm long and spheroid), floral bracts are equaling the flower, petals green, ovary reddish, and
stigma white (vs. floral bracts shorter than the petals, petals white, ovary and stigma white in H. nuusaviorum).
TYPE:—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Municipio San Juan Bautista Cuicatlán, 4.10 km al S de San Pedro Nodón, camino de terracería hacia San
Miguel Huautla, matorral crasicaule [unpaved road to San Miguel Huautla, shrubland with succulent elements], 17°46’32.2”N,
97°07’58.3”W, 1740 m elevation, 21 Marzo 2013, Ramírez, Jiménez & Flores 1826b ♀ (holotype CICY!; isotype MEXU!).
Plants terrestrial or lithophytic, cespitose, when blooming 1–1.20 m tall, heliophilous. Rosettes 35–45 cm in diameter,
25–30 cm long, new rosettes originating from the base of the older ones. Leaves 60−70 per rosette, straight and
ascending; sheaths oblong, 2.5–3 x (2.6–)3.7–4.8 cm, basally entire, finely dentate toward the apex, white-yellowish
adaxially and brownish abaxially when dry, sometimes with a darker brown distal area, glabrous on both surfaces;
blades narrowly triangular, acuminate, pungent, 21–39 cm long, 1.3–2.9 cm wide at the base, 0.5–1.1 cm wide in the
mid area, erect (central ones) to slightly recurved (outer ones), succulent, slightly concave, green, glabrous to sparsely
HECHTIA (BROMELIACEAE) Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press • 123
white lepidote adaxially, white lepidote abaxially, margins spinose; spines usually retrorse, uncinate, 4–7 mm long,
(0.8–)1.6–4.4(–5.1) cm apart, laxly arranged toward the apex, reddish. Inflorescence central (type SSP), one branched
panicle in both sexes, erect.
Staminate inflorescence cylindrical, erect, 120–135 cm long; peduncle terete, 60−67 cm long, 0.9–1 cm in di-
ameter at the base, ca. 3 times longer than the rosette, brown, glabrous, internodes 1.2–3.2 cm long; peduncle bracts
with broadly triangular sheaths, the blades appressed to the peduncle, abruptly long (basal bracts) to shortly (upper
ones) acuminate, 4–11 x 0.8–1 cm, entire, margins thin, brownish, glabrous, strongly nerved, the basal ones longer
than internodes, the upper ones equaling the internodes; main axis 70–74 cm long, 0.4–0.5 cm in diameter, cylindrical,
sulcate when dry, light brown, glabrous, internodes 1–1.5 cm long; primary bracts narrowly triangular, acuminate,
1.3–3.5 x 0.4–1(–1.3) cm, wider than the peduncle bracts and enclosing the base of the branches, entire, brownish,
glabrous, strongly nerved, equaling or longer than the branches; branches 70−72 in number, ascendent or appresed,
1.2–3 cm long, 1–1.4 cm in diameter, sessile, with 30−70 flowers, densely arranged along the main axis, longer than
the internodes, green; rachis hardly visible, cylindrical, green, smooth; floral bracts elliptic to broadly elliptic, 6.3–8
x 3.7–5.5 mm, concave, acute, strongly erose, light brown, longer than the sepals and petals, glabrous, 5−9 nerved.
Flowers subsessile, erect, 5.5–6.7 mm long, 2.4–3.2 mm in diameter; pedicels terete, 1−2 mm long, 1−1.5 mm in diam-
eter, glabrous; sepals usually 3, sometimes 4, oblong, 3.5–4 x 2.2–3 mm, concave, acute, stramineous, erose, glabrous,
5–7(–8) nerved; petals elliptic, 4–4.4 x 2.2–2.5 mm, rounded, cucullate, entire, white, glabrous, 7–9-nerved; stamens
erect, adnate to the petals and to the pistillode base, barely protruding at anthesis; filaments narrowly triangular, 4–4.6
x 0.5–0.7 mm, white; anthers ovoid, 1.7–2.2 mm long, 0.7–1 mm in diameter, green; pistillode conical, 0.8−1 mm
long, 1 mm in diameter, white, stigmatic lobes usually absent, when present ca. 0.2 mm long.
Pistillate inflorescence cylindrical, ca. 160 cm long, erect; peduncle cylindrical, 91–99 cm long, 0.8–0.9 cm in
diameter at the base, much longer than the leaves, glaucous, green; peduncle bracts broadly triangular, abruptly long
(basal ones) to shortly (upper ones) acuminate, appressed to the peduncle, 2.5–9.2 x 0.8–0.9 cm, entire, brownish, gla-
brous, strongly nerved, margins thin, the basal ones longer than the internodes, the upper ones equaling the internodes,
internodes 1.2–3.2 cm long; main axis ca. 69 cm long, 0.4–0.5 cm in diameter at the base, cylindrical, sometimes flexu-
ous, green, glabrous, internodes 1–3 cm long; primary bracts triangular, acuminate, 0.8–2.5 x 0.5–1 cm, light brown,
glabrous, entire, strongly nerved, subequaling or shorter than the branches; branches ca. 44 in number, ascending or
erect, 0.8–2.4 cm long, 0.7–1 cm in diameter, sessile, with 25−50 flowers, densely arranged; rachis not visible; floral
bracts triangular ovate, 5.2–6.8 x 3.2–4 mm, concave, acute, strongly erose, brown, glabrous, ca. 7-nerved, longer than
the sepals and petals. Flowers sessile, appressed to the rachis, (4.4–)5.8–6.3 mm long, (2.4–)3–3.3 mm in diameter;
sepals deltoid, 3–3.4 x 2.6–3(–3.7) mm, acute, entire at the base, apically erose, brown, glabrous, ca. 5-nerved; petals
triangular to triangular-ovate, 3–4.3 x 2–2.8 mm, acute, entire, green, glabrous, ca. 7-nerved; staminodes narrowly tri-
angular, 1.1–2.4 mm long, 0.4–0.8 mm wide at the base, without vestigial anthers; filaments adnate to the bases of the
petals and the ovary, green; stigmatic lobes short, slightly recurved, ca. 1.2 mm long, white; ovary superior, oblongoid,
2.5–3 mm long, 1.4–2 mm in diameter, green, placentation central. Fruits ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid, sometimes
asymmetrical, 6.3–8.9 mm long, 4–5.8 mm in diameter, brown; sepals, petals, staminodes and stigmatic lobes remain-
ing in fruit; seeds variable in shape, generally ovate, rarely oblong, 3.4–4 x 1.3–2 mm, brown, with 2 wings, apical
wing 0.3–0.5 mm long, basal wing 0.8–1.2 mm long.
Distribution and habitat:—Hechtia nivea is known from a restricted geographical area in the vicinity of the
village of San Pedro Nodón. It grows as a lithophyte on vertical walls where rosettes resemble silver stars from
afar. It also grows at the foothills in a general area of low caducifolious forest along with species of Agave Linnaeus
(1753: 323) (Agavaceae), Brahea Martius (1838: 243) (Arecaceae), Cnidoscolus Pohl (1827: 56) (Euphorbiaceae) and
Bursera Jacquin ex Linnaeus (1762: 471) (Burseraceae), at elevations of about 1700 m. Hechtia nivea was collected
in bloom during April 2013 and several plants of it are currently under cultivation.
Etymology:—The specific epithet refers to the white indumentum of the leaves lending the plant a snowy aspect.
Additional specimens examined (paratypes):—MEXICO. Oaxaca: Municipio San Juan Bautista Cuicatlán,
4.10 km al S de San Pedro Nodón, camino de terracería hacia San Miguel Huautla, matorral crasicaule, 17° 46’ 32.2”
N, 97° 07’ 58.3” W, 1740 m elevation, 21 March 2013, Ramírez, Jiménez & Flores 1826a ♂ (CICY!, MEXU!), 1826c
fruits (CICY!, MEXU!, OAX!).
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FIGURE 5. Hechtia nivea. A. Plant with infructescence in habitat (indicated by an arrow) B. Staminate inflorescences at anthesis. C.
Young infructescens. D. Staminate branches with flowers at anthesis. E. Pistillate branches with flowers at anthesis (Photographs A, B, D
& E. Ivón Ramírez; C. Prisciliano Flores).
HECHTIA (BROMELIACEAE) Phytotaxa 178 (2) © 2014 Magnolia Press • 125
TABLE 2. Main differences between Hechtia nuusaviorum and H. nivea
Feature H. nuusaviorum H. nivea
Rosette features rosettes ellipsoid, wider than high, with leaves horizontally
extended with apices deflexed
rosettes higher than wide, with leaves
straight and ascending
Foliar blade color green, may develop red color green, not developing red color
Foliar sheaths 3–8.5 cm long 2.5–3 cm long
Floral bracts (♂ flower) 5–6 mm long, as long as the petals 6.3–8 mm long, longer than the petals
Petals (♂ flowers) 6–6.3 mm long, ovate to broadly elliptic 4–4.4 mm long, elliptic
Anthers ca. 1.4 mm long 1.7–2.2 mm long
Floral bracts (♀ flower) triangular-ovate to triangular, 4–7 mm long, equaling the
triangular-ovate, 5.2–6.8 mm long, longer
than the petals
Sepals (♀ flower) 4.2–6 mm long 3.5–4 mm long
Ovary ovoid, 4.7–5(7.7) mm long oblongoid, 2.5–3 mm long
Staminodes ca. 3.8 mm long 1.1–2.4 mm long
Fruits ovoid ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid
Seeds 5.2–7.2 mm long 3.4–4 mm long
Discussion:—The species was collected in the Sierras Centrales de Oaxaca physiogeographical province (Fig. 3)
and it can be recognized by the following combination of characters: rosettes are medium-sized with dense white lepi-
dote leaves, branches of both sexes are reduced and short claviculate, pistillate flowers with green petals, the staminate
ones with white petals. Hechtia nivea is compared with H. nuusaviorum (Table 2), a morphologically similar species
and also native from northwestern Oaxaca. Main differences include the smaller branches of H. nivea that are more
densely packed on the rachis and the much narrower leaves with white lepidote indumentum above as opposed to the
broad leaves of H. nuusaviorum which are glabrous above.
IUCN Conservation assessment:—Vulnerable (VU). Hechtia nivea meets criteria D2 of the IUCN (2001). The
species is known from an area of less than 2 km2 within which it occurs only at a handful of small sites. Albeit local
populations of the species can be rich in individuals and are often inaccessible, they are widely scattered and isolated
on the slopes and tops of small hills where they are susceptible to fires and other anthropogenic disturbances.
We are indebted to Rodrigo Duno, Gregorio A. Castillo (both from herbarium CICY), Wilmer Tezara (from Universidad
Central de Venezuela), Demetria Mondragón, Prisciliano Flores, and José Luis Chávez (all three from CIIDIR-Oaxaca),
for field assistance when collecting in Oaxaca. We thank the curators of the following herbaria B, GH, IEB, MEXU,
MICH, MO, OAX, UAMIZ, UC, US, WU, and XAL for sending Hechtia material on loan. The senior author is
indebted to the Elizabeth Bascom Fellowship and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the DAAD-ANUIES, and the Klarff
foundation for financial support to study the Bromeliaceae collection in the herbaria B, BM, K, MO, and OXF. We
are indebted to CONACyT for funding the project “Phylogeny, evolution and biogeography of Hechtia Klotzsch
(Hechtioideae: Bromeliaceae)” (number 183281) granted to the first author. Thanks also to Nayeli Rivera who helped
in the morphological descriptions of the species; to Silvia Hernández-Aguilar for handling the herbarium material and
loans. José Luis Tapia Muñoz elaborated and maintains a database of Mexican Bromeliaceae. Paola Marfil at CICY
helped with the edition of the images. Débora Carnevali Ramírez provided photographs of Hechtia huamelulaensis and
Prisciliano Flores of Hechtia nivea. We want to thank Walter Till, Elton Leme and the editor for their comments that
greatly improved the quality of this paper.
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