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González Gutiérrez P. A.: Malpighia meyeriana (Malpighiaceae), a new species from the NE coast of Cuba [Novitiae florae cubensis 49]. — Willdenowia 45: 443–447. 2015. — Version of record first published online on 16 November 2015 ahead of inclusion in December 2015 issue; ISSN 1868-6397; © 2015 BGBM Berlin. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3372/wi.45.45311 Malpighia meyeriana, a new species from the NE coastal fringe of Cuba, is described and compared with other species of the genus occurring in Cuba. Aspects of its distribution and conservation status are discussed.
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Malpighia meyeriana (Malpighiaceae), a new species from the NE coast of Cuba
Author(s): Pedro A. González Gutiérrez
Source: Willdenowia, 45(3):443-447.
Published By: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin (BGBM)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3372/wi.45.45311
URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3372/wi.45.45311
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443Willdenowia 45 – 2015
Novitiae florae cubensis No. 49
PEDRO A. GONZÁLEZ GUTIÉRREZ1
Malpighia meyeriana (Malpighiaceae), a new species from the NE coast of Cuba
Abstract
González Gutiérrez P. A.: Malpighia meyeriana (Malpighiaceae), a new species from the NE coast of Cuba [Novitiae
florae cubensis 49]. – Willdenowia 45: 443 447. 2015. – Version of record first published online on 16 November
2015 ahead of inclusion in December 2015 issue; ISSN 1868-6397; © 2015 BGBM Berlin.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3372/wi.45.45311
Malpighia meyeriana, a new species from the NE coastal fringe of Cuba, is described and compared with other spe-
cies of the genus occurring in Cuba. Aspects of its distribution and conservation status are discussed.
Additional key words: taxonomy, Malpighia emarginata, Malpighia glabra, Malpighia verruculosa subsp. antillana,
endemism, critically endangered
Introduction
Malpighia L. (Malpighiaceae) comprises c.130 species
distributed from Texas (U.S.A.) to N South America and
the islands of the Caribbean according to a revision of
the genus published by Meyer (2000). Roig & Acuña
(1953) recorded 21 species for the Cuban archipelago,
and Borhidi & Muñiz (1972) by adding two additional
species increased the number to 23. In an unpublished
doctoral thesis, Vivaldi (1979) placed in synonymy some
of the names accepted by Roig and Acuña (1953) and
reduced Malpighia in Cuba to only eleven species includ-
ing seven endemics.
Meyer’s (2000) recognition of numerous new species
and subspecies raised the number to 59 species and nine
subspecies in Cuba. The descriptions of 11 of the new
Cuban taxa proposed by Meyer lack diagnostic charac-
ters pertaining to inflorescences, flowers and fruits, all
of which call some of the circumscriptions into question.
According to Meyer’s (2000) work almost half of the
species of Malpighia occur in Cuba. Acevedo-Rodríguez
& Strong (2012) stated that “since Meyer’s concepts are
too contrasting from the traditional taxonomy of Mal-
pighia, we feel that his system needs further testing be-
fore it can be accepted”, and Anderson (2013) proposed
only “50 or more species” for the genus Malpighia.
The taxonomic uncertainty points to the need for
comprehensive revision of Malpighia in Cuba. With this
aim, field expeditions are being carried out in order to
find the wild populations of species of Malpighia, partic-
ularly of those that are known only from type specimens
and/or incomplete descriptions. To date, about 15 species
of Malpighia have been relocated, making possible the
description of inflorescences, flowers, fruits and pyrenes
of some of Meyer’s novelties (e.g. M. flavescens F. K.
Mey., M. phillyreifolia F. K. Mey.; González, unpubl.).
Study of Meyer’s (2000) treatment, field work and ex-
amination of herbarium specimens revealed a taxon with
1 Centro de Investigaciones y Servicios Ambientales y Tecnológicos de Holguín (CISAT), CITMA, Calle 18 sn, entre 1ª y Maceo,
Reparto “El Llano”, Holguín 80 100, Cuba; e-mail: pagg@cisat.cu
444 González Gutiérrez: Malpighia meyeriana from the NE coast of Cuba
characteristics not matching any described species of
Malpighia. This taxon is here described as a new species.
Malpighia meyeriana P. A. González, sp. nov. – Fig. 1, 2.
Holotype: Cuba, Provincia de Holguín, Municipio de
Gibara, cerca de la curva de la campana, entre la car-
retera y el manglar de Rhizophora mangle, en vegetación
secundaria con abundancia de Dichrostachys cinerea, 4
Nov 2014, P. A. González Gutiérrez HFC 88202 (HAJB G
000487; isotypes: B 10 0594594, Herbarium of Holguín
Botanical Garden). [HFC = Series of the Herbarium of
the Flora of Cuba.]
Morphological diagnosisLeaf blade obovate or ellip-
tic, 2 5 × 1 2cm, base acute, margin entire, bearing thin
hairs 1 1.5mm long, apex obtuse, rounded, sometimes
emarginate and commonly mucronulate. Inflorescence
sessile or borne on a stalk, 2-flowered. Fruit orange, turn-
ing red when ripe, globose, 1 1.5cm in diam.; pyrenes
6 7 × 3.5 4mm.
Morphological description Shrubs or small trees,
densely branched, 2 5m tall. Stipules 0.5 0.7mm long,
apex very acute; petiole 1 2mm long, densely covered
with hairs <1mm long; leaf blade adaxially shiny green,
abaxially paler green, obovate or elliptic, 2 5 × 1 2cm,
adaxially with scattered thin hairs <1mm long, abaxially
with abundant thin hairs <1mm long, on both surfaces thin
hairs falling with age, base acute, margin entire, bearing
thin hairs 1 1.5mm long, apex obtuse, rounded, some-
times emarginate and commonly mucronulate; midvein
prominent abaxially; secondary veins 5 11 pairs. Inflores-
cence (Fig. 2A) sessile or borne on a stalk 1 2mm long,
2-flowered, thick, densely hairy; peduncle 4 6mm long,
hairy; bracts c. 0.5 mm long, hairy; pedicels 9 11 mm
long, hairy; bracteoles 0.3 0.4 mm long, densely hairy.
Flower (Fig. 2B) c.1cm in diam.; calyx with 10 glands
(1 1.5mm long), free part of sepals c.1mm long, abaxial-
ly hairy, apex rounded; petals 5, dark pink; posterior petal
limb c.4.5 × 4.5 5mm, margin mostly irregularly erose,
claw thick, 2.5 3mm long; posterior lateral petals limb
c.3 × 3.5mm, margin irregularly erose basally and mostly
entire apically, claw 1 1.5mm long; anterior lateral pet-
als limb c.2 2.5 × 2 2.5mm, margin mostly entire, claw
1–1.5mm long; stamens 10; filaments c.2mm long, those
opposing posterior lateral petals conspicuously thicker
than others; anthers c.0.5mm long; ovary c.2mm in
diam., glabrous with few scattered hairs; styles 3, c.3mm
long, anterior style slightly thicker than posterior styles.
Fruit (Fig. 2C) orange, turning red when ripe, globose,
1 1.5cm in diam.; pyrenes (Fig. 2D) 3 per fruit, 6 7 ×
3.5 4mm, each with a prominent dorsal crest.
Phenology — The species has been collected in flower
in November and in fruit in September, October and No-
vember.
Distribution Malpighia meyeriana is a local endemic
of the coastal fringe of the province of Holguín in NE
Cuba. It has been collected in the municipalities of
Gibara and Mayarí, which are located about 70 km apart
(Fig. 3).
Ecology — The species has been collected in thickets
near mangroves of Rhizophora mangle L. (Rhizophora-
ceae) in Gibara and of Avicennia germinans (L.) Stearn
(Acanthaceae) in Mayarí. In Gibara it grows in second-
ary thickets, where the exotic and invasive Dichrostachys
cinerea (L.) Wight & Arn. (Fabaceae) is dominant and
two other species of Malpighia occur, M. flavescens and
M. linearifolia F. K. Mey. In Mayarí the species grows
associated with M. linearifolia.
Conservation status — In the last four years only two
mature plants of Malpighia meyeriana were seen in na-
ture at localities c.70km apart. Other coastal areas of
Gibara and Vuelta Larga were explored during the last
15 years, but no other populations of M. meyeriana were
found. The estimate of the area of occupancy of this spe-
cies is less than 10 km2. In Gibara M. meyeriana was
found growing in thickets dominated by exotic invasive
Dichrostachys cinerea. Thus, according to IUCN criteria
(IUCN 2012), M. meyeriana must be classified as Criti-
cally Endangered: CR B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); D.
EtymologyThe specific epithet honours Friedrich Karl
Meyer (1926 2012), who dedicated part of his life to the
study of the genus Malpighia.
Discussion of morphological characters — The most
outstanding character of the species of Malpighia occur-
ring in Cuba is the presence of sharp stinging T-shaped
hairs or bristles, “Spindelstechhaare” in the terminology
of Meyer (2000). In Cuba only three taxa are almost gla-
brous or have short and thin hairs, M. emarginata DC.,
M. glabra L. and M. verruculosa subsp. antillana (Vival-
di) F. K. Mey., which are the taxa most similar to the new
species described here.
Meyer saw a specimen of the new species (HFC
86489, JE) and identified it in February 2011 as Mal-
pighia emarginata, which is cultivated in Cuba; it can be
found in abandoned orchards or rarely growing spontane-
ously near towns. Malpighia emarginata is often curso-
rily identified by the short shoots bearing closely spaced
paired leaves as well as shoots with longer internodes.
Fig. 1 shows that this leaf arrangement is also found in
M. meyeriana, which may have led Meyer to assign the
cited specimen to M. emarginata (C.Anderson, pers.
comm.). Malpighia emarginata has leaves slightly larger
than those of M. meyeriana, and the leaf margin of M.
emarginata is glabrous or bears hairs shorter than in M.
meyeriana. Plants of M. emarginata usually have inflo-
rescences with more than 2 flowers, whereas M. meyeri-
ana has only 2-flowered inflorescences. The pyrenes of
445Willdenowia 45 – 2015
Fig. 1. Holotype of Malpighia meyeriana, deposited in the Herbarium of the National Botanical Garden of Cuba (HAJB).
446 González Gutiérrez: Malpighia meyeriana from the NE coast of Cuba
M. emarginata are larger than those of M. meyeriana (Fig.
2D).
Malpighia glabra diers from the new species by its
almost glabrous leaves, which have short and thin hairs
only when they are very young. The leaf blade apex
in M. glabra is mostly acute, but in M. meyeriana it is
mostly obtuse, rounded, sometimes emarginate and com-
monly mucronulate. The in-
florescence of M. glabra has
more flowers [(2 or)3-5(or
6)-flowered] than that of M.
meyeriana [2-flowered].
The separation of Mal-
pighia meyeriana and M.
verruculosa subsp. antil-
lana is more obvious, since
among the species of Mal-
pighia occurring in Cuba, M.
verruculosa subsp. antillana
is the only taxon in which the
fruit splits into three carpels.
In M. meyeriana the fruit is
globose, as in M. emarginata
and M. glabra.
Additional specimens seen C: P 
H: Municipio de Mayarí, Vuelta Larga, en un
parche de matorral que se encuentra en una zona de pas-
tos propiedad de Tico Pérez, 20 Oct 2010 (fruits), P. A.
González Gutiérrez HFC 86489 (B, HAJB, JE); Muni-
cipio de Gibara, Rancho Bravo (cultivated), 18 Sep 2011
(fruits), P. A. González Gutiérrez HFC 87223 (HAJB).
Fig. 2. Malpighia meyeriana – A: flowering branch; B: flower, posterior petal at top; C: fruiting branch; D: comparison of pyrenes
of M. emarginata (left) and M. meyeriana (right).
Fig. 3. Localities (*) where Malpighia meyeriana was collected on NE coast of Cuba.
447Willdenowia 45 – 2015
Acknowledgements
I am grateful to William R. Anderson and Christiane
Anderson for their support and for their comments on
Malpighia and other Malpighiaceae during the last eight
years. The International Association for Plant Taxonomy
(IAPT) in 2014 supported my field expeditions in Cuba
with the objective to study Cuban Malpighia and Byr-
sonima. I thank the Verein der Freunde des Botanischen
Gartens und Botanischen Museums Berlin-Dahlem e.V.
for its support during my extended visits at the Botanic
Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin during the last five
years. The comments and suggestions oered by Chris-
tiane Anderson and two other, anonymous reviewers as
well as by Nicholas Turland, editor, improved the manu-
script. I also express my gratitude to my wife Zaharaí and
my children Sandra and Carlitos, for their companion-
ship during my field trips and their everyday support.
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Article
Full-text available
Acevedo-Rodríguez, Pedro and Strong, Mark T. Catalogue of Seed Plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany, number 98, xxv + 1192 pages, 3 maps, 4 tables, 2012.—The catalogue enumerates all taxa of Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons, and Monocotyledons occurring in the West Indies archipelago excluding the islands off the coast of Venezuela (Netherlands Antilles, Venezuelan Antilles, Tobago, and Trinidad). For each accepted taxon, nomenclature (including synonyms described from the West Indies and their references to publication), distribution in the West Indies (including endemic, native, or exotic status), common names, and a numerical listing of literature records are given. Type specimen citations are provided for accepted names and synonyms of Cyperaceae, Sapindaceae, and some selected genera in several families including the Apocynaceae (Plumeria), Aquifoliaceae (Ilex), and Santalaceae (Dendrophthora). More than 30,000 names were treated comprising 208 families, 2,033 genera, and 12,279 taxa, which includes exotic and commonly cultivated plants. The total number of indigenous taxa was approximately 10,470 of which 71% (7,446 taxa) are endemic to the archipelago or part of it. Fifteen new names, 37 combinations, and 7 lectotypifications are validated. A searchable website of this catalogue, maintained and continuously updated at the Smithsonian Institution, is available at http://botany.si.edu/antilles/WestIndies/.
Article
Full-text available
The approximately 42 lineages of Malpighiaceae currently known in Mexico are identified and briefly described and discussed. All the Mexican lineages have their ultimate roots in South America, although in some cases the connections are inferred only through phylogeny and several Mexican genera probably originated in Mexico. All the lineages have effective adaptations for dispersal except the genus Galphimia, but distributions outside Mexico and a phylogenetic tree suggest that while many Malpighiaceae reached Mexico through "stepping-stone" dispersal, some lineages probably arrived as the result of episodes of long-distance dispersal from South America.
Article
The approximately 42 lineages of Malpighiaceae currently known in Mexico are identified and briefly described and discussed. All the Mexican lineages have their ultimate roots in South America, although in some cases the connections are inferred only through phylogeny and several Mexican genera probably originated in Mexico. All the lineages have effective adaptations for dispersal except the genus Galphimia, but distributions outside Mexico and a phylogenetic tree suggest that while many Malpighiaceae reached Mexico through ???stepping-stone??? dispersal, some lineages probably arrived as the result of episodes of long-distance dispersal from South America.
Revision der Gattung Malpighia L. (Malpighiaceae)
  • F K Meyer
Meyer F. K. 2000: Revision der Gattung Malpighia L. (Malpighiaceae).-Phanerog. Monogr. 23.
Dicotiledóneas: Malpighiaceae a Myrta ceae
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Roig J. T. & Acuña J. B. 1953: Familia 9. -Malpighia ceae. -Pp. 9 -28 in: Alain [Liogier A. H.] 1953, Flora de Cuba, 3. Dicotiledóneas: Malpighiaceae a Myrta ceae. -Contr. Ocas. Mus. Hist. Nat. Colegio "De La Salle" 13.
The systematics of Malpighia L. (Malpighiaceae)
  • J L Vivaldi
Vivaldi J. L. 1979: The systematics of Malpighia L. (Malpighiaceae).-Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.